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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: network54.com)

Artist’s impression of T. sringeriensis (credit:network54.com). 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

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