The fossil of a mammal that lays eggs in Utah challenges the theory of when the continents were divided



An article published in the journal Nature, this month explains how a fossilized skull 130 million years ago is shaking scientists' understanding of how and when the continents separated from the earth.

The skull was of a small mammal covered with skins covered with skins that coexisted with the dinosaurs called Cifelliodon wakarmoosuch.

James Kirkland is the Utah state paleontologist. He was part of the crew that unearthed Cifelliodon's skull from the ground near Utah's Arches National Park in 2005. Kirkland says he was excited because this was the first mammal they had found in these rocks.

But Kirkland does not specialize in mammals, so he gave it to another paleontologist, who studied the fossil for more than a decade. That led to a new theory about when Pangea, the original land mbad on earth, broke up.

"Basically," he said, "it shows us that Pangea had not split in half at the end of the Jurbadic as we had thought, but there were still connections to the initial Cretaceous millions of years later."

They know this because this primitive mammal was badociated with fossils found in Europe, North Africa, and parts of the southern hemisphere.

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