Scientists find first evidence of social behavior in mammals – tech2.org

Scientists find first evidence of social behavior in mammals


How long have mammals been social animals? According to a new study, at least since the Late Cretaceous part of the Dinosaur era, which holds back the earliest evidence of behavior for nearly 10 million years.

Study of fossils of small rodents Philicomis primaevus (Meaning “young, friendly mouse”) About 75.5 million years ago, paleontologists have discovered evidence of animals living in and out of groups.

We are not just talking about adults bringing their young – the site of Egg Mountain in western Montana shows adults and small animals choosing a turret and nest together, perhaps some of the first social activity of its kind in history .

“It’s really powerful, I think, to see how deeply rooted social interaction is in mammals,” says paleontologist Luke Weaver of the University of Washington.

“Because humans are such social beings, we tend to think that sociality is somehow unique to us, or at least to our close evolutionary relatives, but now we can see that social behavior goes back into the mammalian family tree is.”

“Multituberculates are one of the oldest mammal groups, and they have been extinct for 35 million years, yet in the Late Cretaceous they were apparently interacting with groups you would see in modern-day ground squirrels.”

Multicolored Skin Burke MuseumLifetime reconstruction F. Primevalus. (Misaki Auchida)

It was thought that such deliberate social behavior of humans evolved after the extinction of dinosaurs 66 million years ago, and mainly in the placentalia class of mammals.

Not so, according to these fossils – the type of rock they were found in, how well they were preserved, and the characteristics: F. Primevalus Sharing with buried animals of modern times shows everyone that these ancient creatures were happy together.

Researchers have found no evidence of bite marks on the fossils, so it is unlikely that the hunters held these animals together, and the fossils would not have been complete if they had been transported by a river current. .

Burrance 2A block of fossils from Egg Mountain was analyzed. (Luke Weaver)

“Fossils are these game changers,” says paleontologist Gregory Wilson Mentilla. “As paleontologists working to recreate the biology of mammals from this time period, we usually keep staring at individual teeth and maybe a jaw is rolled into a river, but here we have several , Are complete skulls and skeletons preserved in the exact place where the animals lived.

“We can now reliably see how mammals actually interacted with dinosaurs and other animals that lived at this time.”

Ancient squirrel hanging out togetherArtistic reconstruction of a social group of F. Primevalus In a bur (Misaki Auchida)

Today, such (allowing global epidemics) socialize about half of placentalia or placental mammals, and the behavior is also seen in some kangaroos such as kangaroos.

Humans move together for all sorts of reasons beyond the business of breeding and bringing up children, but in evolutionary terms behavior can help avoid predators, share resources and keep warm.

Now it seems that behavior started much earlier than we thought. Most groups in the world continue to grapple with the restrictions on meeting, reminding us that we are social beings – something that the research team is well aware of.

“It was crazy to complete this paper properly because the orders to stay in the house were going into effect – here we are all doing our best to socially distance and separate, and I’m writing about how dinosaurs Coming back socially when dinosaurs were still roaming the Earth! ”Says Weaver.

The research has been published in Nature Ecology and Development.

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