An extinct hobbit appeared in Wyoming in the wake of the dinosaurs


At the beginning of their quest to reach Lonely Mountain at JRR Tolkien’s the hobbit (1937), Bilbo Baggins and his companions cross paths with a formidable shape-shifting warrior named Bjorn.

The wizard Gandalf says of the man: “Sometimes it is a huge black bear, and sometimes it is a big man, with dark hair and a huge arm and a big beard.”

Either way, Bjorn is a giant among his peers. And now paleontologists have immortalized the shaggy ax-wielding bully with the discovery of an extinct mammal that emerged in Paleocene period (65 to 23 million years ago), shortly after the death of dinosaurs. They call this hairy and swollen creature Bjornos Honey.

“I’ve always been a huge fan of Tolkien, and there is a long tradition of naming the oldest Paleocene mammals after Tolkien’s characters,” Madeleine Atberry, a University of Colorado Boulder researcher and lead author of a new study on Darling and his relatives, Live Science said in an email.

“I chose Darling Because of its large size and the appearance of its “bulging” teeth compared to other mammals of this period. “

Belong to: 6 smallest mammals in the world

You might expect the ancient mammal Beorn to be a huge bear-like beast with sharp teeth and claws – but the reality is a lot like Bilbo Baggins partyA little unexpected.

Darling is a condylarth – part of an order of prehistoric four-legged mammals that looked a bit like dogs, but were actually the ancestors of hoofed mammals like horses and rhinos, according to the new study, published Aug. 17 في ال Journal of Systematic Paleontology.

corn بورنوس It was not a unicorn. Fossils of the creature’s lower jaw indicate that it was no larger than a modern domestic cat.

This is actually huge compared to the group of arthritic animals the size of mice that roamed North America in the early Paleocene, the researchers say. This relative size, more DarlingAtbury said his extraordinarily large molars and swollen cheeks made him worthy of his name, like Tolkien.

Like other bites, the team wrote, Buernus likely used its large, flat teeth to grind plants, but it may also have eaten insects or another source of meat on occasion.

But Beornus was just one of many small mammals that seemed to thrive after the fall dinosaurs.

In the same study, which included a number of jaw fossils discovered from the Great Dividing Basin in southern Wyoming, researchers also identified two other types of arthritis not yet known to science: Conacodon Hitininery And Miniconus jeanninae.

The three newly described species were closely related, but had distinct differences in the shape and size of their teeth.

Atbury said these vaccines could help rewrite the history of the first mammals to inhabit North America after the dinosaurs went extinct. Previous studies of wildlife for the first 320,000 years after that mass extinction It indicates that mammals were still recovering and that individual families such as stomata were diversifying very slowly.

“However, the earliest Paleocene fauna of the Great Divide Basin in Wyoming is a different story,” Atteberry said. “It has more diversity than we would expect for this period, indicating that we can’t really generalize mammalian restoration after the extinction of the dinosaurs.”

In other words, Bjorn and his friends may have been part of a thriving small mammal scene in the early Paleocene. These three species are part of a group of about 420 mammal fossils found in the Great Divide Basin alone, the researchers said, and it is likely that other species from the same epoch appeared there.

Perhaps these future fossil discoveries will find a place in the Tolkien Club, too.

More than two dozen extinct mammals have been named after Tolkien’s lore to date, including the weasel-like insects. Bobogonia Bombadilly (named after eccentric woodland dweller Tom Bombadil) and the ancestor of dogs Parovagus killer whale (Named after the wild man who popularized Tolkien’s work.)

Related content:

10 Extinct Giants That Once Roamed North America

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In pictures: ‘Field guide’ shows bizarre and fascinating prehistoric mammals

This article was originally published by Live Science. Read it The original article is here.


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