Scientists have recovered a skull, and have named it Vintana sertichi. It has similar traits to that of a mammal family known as Gondwanatheria. This comes from rock formations, in Madagascar between 72 million and 66 million years ago. The skull is 5 inches long, and hence the scientists predict that the mammal must have weighed around 20 pounds.
“People often think of mammals as living mammals and that everything in the fossil record must be a precursor to living mammals, but this is not the case. With that body size and all you have is the head, you can imagine it in a number of different ecologies. We’re getting more and more specimens from the middle part of the Jurassic, which is getting closer to the dawn,” says Anne Weil, a paleontologist at Oklahoma State University in Tulsa who specializes in the early evolution of mammals.
Brian Davis, a paleontologist who studies the early evolution mammals at the University of Louisville in Kentucky says it’s a very complete skull, and thus is a pretty big deal in itself, as its been really hard to relate them to a specific group of mammals. It is indeed a very hard prediction say other paleontologists around the world. It is extra-ordinary.