Twice upon a Time

Jaw fossils point to multiple origins of the most mammalian of features

By Amy Maxmen, 15:58 PM April 15, 2008

Tom Rich has an eye for finding bits of skulls in unlikely places. In January, he and his team reported finding a slight groove in a half-inch–long jaw. Using a modified CT scanner, the researchers scrutinized the fossil they had unearthed in Australia a few years earlier. Reviewing the images of the jaw's structure, Rich and collaborators saw the groove and realized they held what remained of a duck-billed platypus out of place in the age of dinosaurs.

The jawbone's groove gave away its owne...

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