Feeds

Proto-mammals survived ancient global warming in Antarctica

Flight from tropics saved egg-laying furless cat

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Fossil-probing boffins say they have found evidence that early mammal-like creatures survived a severe episode of global warming 252 million years ago by moving to Antarctica. Most other species then living were wiped out.

The new research comes from scientists at the Field Museum in Chicago and the University of Washington. According to a statement released by the Field Museum:

Scientists are still debating what caused the end-Permian extinction, but it was likely associated with massive volcanic activity in Siberia that could have triggered global warming... A new fossil species suggests that some land animals may have survived by living in cooler climates in Antarctica.

The new species in question is Kombuisia antarctica, a curious critter classed among the anomodonts, "mammal relatives" which are now all extinct but which were the main plant-eaters in the era prior to the big die-off.

"Kombuisia antarctica, about the size of a small house cat, was considerably different from today's mammals — it likely laid eggs, didn't nurse its young and didn't have fur, and it is uncertain whether it was warm blooded," says Kenneth Angielczyk, assistant curator of paleomammology at the Field Museum.

Angielczyk and his colleagues say that Antarctica hadn't yet moved fully down to its present position at the south pole at the time of the extinction, and as a result it was somewhat warmer and not covered in ice. However it was cooler than the rest of the supercontinent Pangaea, from which today's land masses broke off, allowing K antarctica to survive there when the rest of the world became uncomfortably hot.

The scientists discovered the creature among fossils collected thirty years ago and stored at the American Museum of Natural History since then. The boffins who analysed them when they were first obtained were primarily interested in Pangaea, rather than species survival through the extinction.

The new study is to be published in the journal Naturwissenschaften today. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.