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Tragedy for dinosaurs, opportunity for mammals, us

February 7, 2013 • National News


This 2012 artist’s rendering provided by the American Museum of Natural History shows a hypothetical placental mammal ancestor, a small, insect-eating animal. A study released Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 details the family tree of mammals that have lengthy gestations before birth. It goes back to this shrewish critter slightly bigger than a mouse with a nasty set of teeth. And it first popped in the world a little more than 65 million years ago – just after the cosmic crash which is theorized to have caused the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs. (AP Photo/American Museum of Natural History, Carl Buell)

WASHINGTON (AP) — New research pinpoints how the torch passed from one dominant creature on Earth to another, from the brutish dinosaur to the crafty mammal.

Two studies published Thursday in the journal Science better explain the Earth-shaking consequences of a catastrophic cosmic collision 66 million years ago when a comet or asteroid smashed into the Gulf of Mexico.

The crash seemed to end the reign of the dinosaurs. And it gave way to the age of mammals that probably started with a cute squirrel-like critter and eventually led to us, the researchers report.

“I think it’s fair to say, without the dinosaurs having gone extinct, we would not be here,” said Paul Login to read more

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