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Science

New Zealand's First Land Mammal Discovered 154

Bob Beale writes to clue us to big news from New Zealand. The country has long been thought to have been devoid of land mammals until recent times. No mammal fossils had ever been found there; but now one has. From the article: "Small but remarkable fossils found in New Zealand will prompt a major rewrite of prehistory textbooks, showing for the first time that the so-called 'land of birds' was once home to mammals as well. The tiny fossilized bones — part of a jaw and hip — belonged to a unique, mouse-sized land animal unlike any other mammal known... The fact that even one land mammal had lived there, at least 16 million years ago, has put paid to the theory that New Zealand's rich bird fauna had evolved there because they had no competition from land mammals."

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