Evolution may favor religious diversity, but the tail does not wag the fish.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Beaver Tail-Otter Like

Looks like a beaver, swims like a platypus? [World- The Age]

The extinct species appears to have been an amalgam of animals. It had a broad, scaly tail, flat like a beaver's. Its sharp teeth seemed ideal for eating fish, like an otter's. Its likely lifestyle — burrowing in tunnels on shore and dog-paddling in water— reminds scientists of the modern platypus.

Fossils unearthed in Liaoning province, China push back the time period for when the earliest mammals may have begun to roam the earth. The latest find has no immediate connections to any modern day mammals, but seems to have had a beaver like tail for swimming in the water, teeth capable of eating fish, and believed to have a burrowing lifestyle similar to the platypus.

What to make of this 50 centimeter long creature? So far it has been named Castorocauda lutrasimilis, which in "Dances with Wolves" Latin means "beaver tail and similarity to the otter."

If anyone finds an artistic rendition of this creature, please pass it along.