Illustration of the small, rat-like creatures that lived 145 million years ago in the shadow of the dinosaurs | Mark Witton, University of Portsmouth
Animals

The Remains of Humanity’s Earliest Mammal Ancestors Have Been Found in England

An undergraduate student conduction routine fieldwork discovered mammal remains belonging to the lineage that led to humanity.

Published On 11/09/2017
4:05 PM EST
O O n a summer’s morning in 2015, University of Portsmouth undergraduate student Grant Smith began a typical research day. He traveled to a known fossil hotspot — the Purbeck Group Mammal Bed on the coast of Durlston Bay in east Dorset, UK — to gather samples. After the day’s work, he returned to the university with his haul.
The Dorset fossil teeth under an electron microscope | University of Portsmouth
Coast and horizon showing where the Dorset mammal teeth were found | University of Portsmouth
Researchers (from left to right) Steven Sweetman, Grant Smith, and David Martill | University of Portsmouth
Durlston Bay, with the site marked where the Dorset mammal teeth were found | University of Portsmouth