Researchers discovered some interesting fossils in the Petrified Forest Park in 2019. The remnants of what seemed to be a fossilized jab bone sparked the curiosity of the scientists, and additional research revealed that the bones could be tied to a new species of cynodont.
The discovery is quite important as the species is more than 220 million years old, with cydodonts being some of the precursors of modern mammals. New data offers a look at the kind of environment preferred by mammals.
Preference for humid climates
According to the researchers, the species, classified under the name of Kataigidodon venetus, preferred humid climates. The species lived in the same environment as dinosauromorphs, and some data infers that it might have been the favorite prey of some of the early dinosaurs, including a species named Coelophysis.
Cynodonontia fossils are extremely rare in the US, as only one other fossil of this has been found, and that discovery took place in 1990 in the state of Texas. Both Texas and Arizona would have been located close to the equator during the time of Pangaea.
Only two fossilized lower jaws were discovered in 2019, which means that it is quite hard to know how the creature looked like, but other aspects can be calculated. Its body had was quite small, with a length of 3.5 inches without the tail. The jaws themselves measure to have a size of 0.5-inches.
By taking into account, the size of the creatures and the shape and position of its teeth, researchers concluded that it must have consumed a lot of insects. Fossils like this offer an interesting glimpse at the past of our planet and the evolution process behind many of the living beings that can be encountered in the present.
Further research will take place, and a paper was published in a scientific journal.