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Chinese Cretaceous fossil sheds new light on evolution of middle ear

Chinese Cretaceous fossil sheds new light on evolution of middle ear

Researchers have unearthed well-preserved middle ear bones from a new species of an extinct rodent in China. The mammal lived 145-66 million years ago in what is now northeastern China; may lead to a better understanding of the evolution of hearing. The study, published in the journal Nature, looked at fossils of the extinct rodent-like mammal Jeholbaatar kielanae at Jehol Biota of China.

These animals had a middle ear that is distinct from those of its relatives. The researchers including those from the Chinese Academy of Sciences said the evolution of the rodent’s bones and muscles may have been driven by specialisation for hearing.

They said the fossil clues provide solid evidence of the morphology and formation of the inner ear bones. According to the researchers, the bones reveal a unique configuration with more complete components than the previous creatures.

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