Mammals started flying when birds did | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

SUPPORT SCIENCE NEWS

Science News is a nonprofit.

Help us keep you informed.


News

Mammals started flying when birds did

By
7:05pm, December 18, 2006

The first gliding mammal winged through forests at least 70 million years earlier than scientists had previously presumed, a new fossil shows. The specimen dates from about 150 million years ago, during the time when birds were developing flight.

"This changes our view about the early evolution of mammals," says Jin Meng of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Scientists had proposed that mammals from that period "lived in the shadow of dinosaurs and were relatively primitive," Meng says. He and his colleagues report the finding in the Dec. 14 Nature.

Farmers found the new fossil in Inner Mongolia last year. The creature weighed roughly a pound and was similar in

This article is only available to Science News subscribers. Already a subscriber? Log in now. Or subscribe today for full access.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content