By Will Rosenthal
After 6 years of intense analyzing and information gathering,in February of this year, researchers have come upon a new science discovery that may change the way we look at the history of humans.
After using an enormous database of genetic data and fossils, scientists have created a small furry insect eating animal, about the size of a large mouse. After analyzing the hypothetical DNA of this creature, scientists have hypothesized that this creature may just be the earliest ancestor of all placental mammals, including pigs, lions, horses, bats, and, yes, humans. There is no Latin scientific name for this creature however, because the scientists are not sure that it ever really existed. They are instead calling it by the long name of: The hypothetical placental mammal ancestor. These scientists also theorized that this creature would have lived around 66 million years ago, and would have started to expand and diversify into other early mammals after the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Placental mammals are by far the largest group of mammals, only excluding marsupials and the three egg laying mammals, the two species of echidna, and the platypus. This is an extremely novel concept, suggesting that this early mammal could be the ancestor of most mammals on earth, which is estimated to be around 8.7 million years old.
DNA estimates show that placental mammals appeared around the Cretaceous period. However, no fossils of this group of mammals have ever been found dating to this time period, and there is evidence that placental mammals started to diversify not around the Cretaceous period, but several hundred thousand years after that, evidence that argues that this hypothetical mammal might not be our ancestor after all. Also, there is a potential for many mistakes when creating a creature such as this with fossils, as we cannot be sure of the mammal’s exact traits.
With the creation of this animal, scientists have also theorized that a certain group of placental mammals, such as aardvarks and elephants, did not originate from Africa after all, a concept which has been long widely accepted. Instead, these scientists indicate that these mammals might have originated in the Americas instead.
All in all? This hypothetical creature has far from settled the argument that has been going on for many years over the origin of us humans. This argument will likely be continued, and this will hopefully spur additional debate, research and discovery into the origin of man.