New fossils of a completely new species have been found by Darin A. Croft, assistant professor of anatomy at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and a research associate at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The fossil appears to be a hoofed mammal that looks as though it’s a cross between a dog and a hare. They believe the animal may have roamed the Andes Mountains in southern Bolivia about 13 million years ago.
The new mammal was named Hemihegetotherium trilobus. It was named after its very distinctive three lobes on its back lover molar teach. The animal is from the notoungulates family which is a group of hoofed mammals of South America. They say the group came into being right after the dinosaurs were extinct which would mean the species had a span of more than 50 million years.
It is believed that the animals probably lived in a very open area. However, they think they could have burrowed themselves into holes such as rabbits. They say that the teeth suggest the animal probably fed on grass and other plants close to the ground. Croft said that the animals were very successful creatures as they existed from about 55 million years ago to only about 10,000 years ago.
This find could mean a lot of things depending on what else they uncover. Croft plans to go back to the Quebrada Honda site again next year to see if he can uncover new things about this mammal and possibly other species that might be buried there.
Source: Case Western Reserve University