Rethinking the earliest mammals

In a recent Earth-Pages post, Steve Drury, of the Open University, reports on latest developments in the ever-expanding tail of the giant Miocene Sciuridae of the Western Ghats  of Karnataka. I cannot attempt to do justice to the surprising and revolutionary implications of these discoveries, not only for the squirrels themselves but for the primitive hamsters that appear to have been their pray. More, much more, can be expected from the laterite

Artist's impression of the Sringeri carnivorous squirrel (credit:

Artist’s impression of T. sringeriensis ( From Drury, op.cit.

deposits now being unearthed, with major scatological and eschatological implications.  My only concern is that these deposits may be insufficiently collateralised, and therefore liable to subsidence and enforced repossession before exploitation is complete. As for the hamsters themselves, the present author (me; not Stephen Drury who has not authorised and is not likely to authorise this account) suspects that although they may be distantly related to Felis domesticus cheshirensis, they do indeed belong to an early intelligently designed form of Cricetinae. If so,  they would have been particularly nutritious because of their cheek-pouch contents, thus providing a balanced diet of carbohydrate and protein, in accord with current dietary guidelines, in a single meal.

Embargoed until 00:00:o5, 01/04/2014 BST

About Paul Braterman

Science writer, former chemistry professor; committee member British Centre for Science Education; board member and science adviser Scottish Secular Society; former member editorial board, Origins of Life, and associate, NASA Astrobiology Insitute; first popsci book, From Stars to Stalagmites 2012

Posted on April 1, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. (Embargo expired; text restored) April Fool!


  2. Christopher Clifford

    Professor, thanks for the witty description with photo! This particular nefarious species of ground squirrel often visits our bird feeder with disastrous results for its intended beneficiaries. I’ve read that squirrel is good eating, I may provide testimonial to this myself in the next few weeks if their depradations do not cease forthwith!


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