Tag archives for Mammals
Scientist have found fossils of an ancient crocodile in Tanzania called Pakasuchus kapilimai. It lived about 105 million years ago, and it was smaller than most crocs–about the size of a house cat. It also had characteristics that are more like a mammal than like a reptile. Modern crocs have a mouth full of pointy teeth, but this new find had molar-like teeth in the back of its jaw. Its nose was also more like a dog’s nose than like a typical crocodile.
Learn more about the Pakasuchus kapilimai crocodile on National Geographic News.
Get the facts on Nile crocodiles in the Creature Feature.
Picture courtesy Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation
Photograph courtesy Karin Jaeger (Medical University of Vienna, Austria)
A new study says that our hair is related to reptile claws. Hair is made from a protein called keratin. Findings suggests that modern birds, reptiles, and mammals–as well as dinosaurs–shared an early common reptilian ancestor that had claws built from keratin more than 300 million years ago. Keratin evolved into strands of hair only in mammals.
Read more on National Geographic News.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s report, one out of every four species of mammals is facing extinction. Many of the most threatened species are found in Asia, a continent with a growing human population.
“This is leading to habitat loss due to agricultural expansion; development of infrastructure such as roads, which fragment critical landscapes; and increasing areas for industrial crops such as oil palm and pulp for paper,” said Barney Long, a biologist at the World Wildlife Fund in Washington, D.C.
Worldwide, habitat loss affects about 40 percent of threatened mammal species, while human hunting affects 17 percent, Long said.
There is hope for mammals, but keeping them off the endangered list will take a lot of hard work. According to the report, 5 percent of threatened species have seen rebounds due to conservation efforts.