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New species of mammal found 'lived in Madrid nine million years ago'
03 April 2020 @ 19:47

A CARNIVORE which lived in Madrid around nine million years ago has just been named following joint research between scientists in the capital, in Catalunya and in South Africa.

The Circamustela Peignei is described as a small meat-eating animal which was native to the central part of mainland Spain, or what is now Madrid, and was found in the region's Batallones archaeological dig on the hill of the same name in Torrejón de Velasco.

According to Spain's National Museum of Natural Sciences, fossilised teeth, jaw bones and skull parts enabled the team to identify the creature properly – until now, they had thought it was the remains of an animal described back in 1967 after fossils were found in Can Llobateres, in the Valle del Penedès area of Barcelona province.

But the 'new' carnivore found is said to be 'much more primitive'.

Detailed micro CT scans allowed the team to view the inside of its bones and other parts which were not immediately on view and could not otherwise have been examined without damaging the fossil.

“It's an as-yet unknown species of mustelid,” says Natural Sciences Museum researcher Jorge Morales.

The mustelidae family covers about 55 species of ferrets, otters, badgers, polecats, weasels, martens and the wolverine.

“This one is of a similar size to the beech marten or pine marten, but with slimmer and sharper teeth, their having adapted to a greater consumption of meat than other, similar mustelids that would have lived with it around nine million years ago,” Morales explains.

“These features have allowed us to infer that it was a carnivore with a more 'specialised' diet than modern-day martens, which have a more eclectic, varied diet,” said Alberto Valenciano, who is Spanish but works as a researcher at the Iziko Museum in Cape Town, South Africa.

“Our investigation is very significant, because it completes, and enhances, the knowledge we hitherto had about the diversity of carnivores living in the Batallones area.



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