News From the Field
New Species of Ancient Rodents Hint at What Could Be World's Oldest Grasslands
July 24, 2012
Researchers have described two ancient species of South American rodents, including the oldest chinchilla--a discovery that substantiates what might be the earliest grasslands in the world. The two new species lived about 32.5 million years ago in what are now the Chilean Andes. Studies of the teeth of the ancient chinchilla support evidence indicating that the animals inhabited an open and dry environment 15 million years before grasslands emerged elsewhere in the world.
University of California, Santa Barbara
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