The newly identified Eocasea martini didn’t inspire the adult beverage that shares its name, but the small barrel-bodied creature may have set the stage for later, much larger animals to become plant-eaters.
A roughly 300 million-year-old fossil of E. martini found in Kansas suggests that the early proto-mammal munched on meat. But species similar in body structure that came after E. martini were vegetarians, which could mean that the later plant-lovers evolved from the smaller, earlier meat-eaters of the group, researchers report April 15 in PLOS ONE.
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.