The fossil study is an extinct species of field mouse from Germany. The mouse is approximately 7 cm long. (University of Gӧttingen)
An international collaboration at the University of Manchester, has yielded the colour of a 3 million year old mouse who would have scurried about the fields of what is now Willershausen in Germany.
The incredibly well preserved fossil was discovered to have been predominantly covered in a reddish brown coating and a white underside. The researchers used x-ray spectroscopy and a number of other imaging techniques to finally reveal delicate chemical signatures of pigment.
This discovery is important for finally understanding smaller details of natural selection in prehistoric animals. For example, polar bears aren’t drastically dissimilar to their brown coated relatives further south. However the white colour of their fur coats meant the difference between a better chance of survival or not. This find is not dissimilar to the discovery of pigment in dinosaur feathers, particularly that of Sinornithosaurus Milenii.
The concept that helped determine the colouration, was determining that trace metals were incorporated to the fur identically to the way that they bond to the animal’s pigments.
This find has opened the doorway to a completely new way of looking at fossils, and may produce some exiting results in the future.
Bed bugs may have been around for over 100 million years
A recent study, which was conducted by a group of scientists (that included some from the University of Sheffield), has discovered that bedbugs might have a deeper past than previously thought. It was previously thought that bedbugs evolved around 50 million years ago due to the fact that they were assumed to have evolved alongside bats.
However this new study is claiming that they originated around 100 million years ago during the time of the dinosaurs. However the pests would probably not have annoyed dinosaurs as they prefer animals with a home e.g a bed or a lair. There is still debate over what the unfortunate victim of these pests were but further research will undoubtedly be conducted.
If you do want any palaeontological finds or theories discussed in next week’s post, message me in the “contact” section or leave a comment. Click “follow” at the bottom of the page to receive weekly email updates.