In an astonishing research, scientists have discovered a special type of mammal that lived with the dinosaurs. The most surprising this is that the descendants of those Dinosaur-era mammals are still living on earth. The name of those mammal groups are Solenodons, and they are considered as one of the weirdest, rarest as well as the oldest mammals living on the planet.
When the scientists sequenced the DNA of the Solenodons, they found out that the mammals lived almost 73.6 years ago and this takes them to the era of Dinosaurs. The new study revealed that the Solenodons lived alongside the dinosaurs and also survived them. Although the Dinosaurs became extinct, the Solenodons survived and they continued to live till now. Previous studies suggested that the Solenodons are one of the oldest living mammals on Earth but no one could exactly estimate the year of their initiation. But, the study of the genome sequence of Solenodons has indicated that the rare and weird mammals had once walked with the dinosaurs.
Lead author of the study, Dr. Taras K. Oleksyk from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez said, “We have confirmed the early speciation date for Solenodons, weighing on the ongoing debate on whether the solenodons have indeed survived the demise of dinosaurs after the asteroid impact in the Caribbean.” At present, the Solenodons are found on two Caribbean islands, namely Cuba and Hispaniola but they are rarely seen owing to their subterranean lifestyle during the daylight hours. Unlike other mammals, Solenodons, are venomous and their saliva can kill a mouse within minutes.
Scientists were really happy after they found out that the Solenodons, that are still alive, roamed alongside the dinosaurs. But, unfortunately, the Solenodons are soon going to extinct, as their isolated island lifestyle is being heavily affected by human interventions like deforestation, climate change and introduced invasive species. Scientists thought that Cuban Solenodon has become extinct until they found one of them alive in 2003. Also, there is only one specimen of the Hispaniolan Solenodon living at present. The research team wrote, “It may now be imperative to study conservation genomics of Solenodons, whose extinction would extirpate an entire evolutionary lineage whose antiquity goes back to the age of dinosaurs.” The latest study was published in the journal GigaScience.