Canadian fossils reveal the mini-mammals

tapirResearchers have uncovered a tiny 5cm long hedgehog that roamed what is now Canada 52 million years ago.

The creature, Silvacola acares, lived roughly 13 million years after an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs and left the mammals as the dominant land animals.

About the length of a person’s thumb, it ate insects, plants and maybe seeds, the researchers said.

‘We were surprised by its tiny size, and frankly it threw me for a while and made it difficult to identify,’ said University of Colorado paleontologist Jaelyn Eberle, one of the researchers in the study published in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Its scientific name means ‘tiny forest dweller.’

Today’s hedgehogs, and especially the ones that are kept as pets, are considerably larger.

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