Sociable placental mammals evolve faster than their solitary counterparts [Study]

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Mammals are known to be a group of vertebrate animals that are dedicated to nurturing their young by feeding them with milk from special mammary glands of the mother.

However, this evolutionary feature, as common as it may seem, is offset by the vast morphological variations between different species of mammals, including humans.

Now, a new study has confirmed that these physical variations or differences are based on recent findings that social mammals or placental mammals evolve faster than isolated mammals.

The researchers who contributed to this groundbreaking research project were able to arrive at their conclusions by analyzing the social mammal using 3D scans of hundreds of specimens in more than a dozen museums.

Social mammals

the elephants

(Photo: Photo by FREDRIK LERNERYD/AFP via Getty Images)

The new research has been published in the journal Science on October 27, which explored the “attenuated evolution” of living mammals during the Cenozoic era.

On the way to diversification, the researchers involved in the study recognized that mammals exhibit the greatest degree of morphological differences among vertebrate classes or spinal cord or backbone animals.

However, the specific biological and evolutionary mechanisms for how they reached this level of variation have been a persistent question in the scientific community, with debates revolving around the timing and rate of an evolutionary change event.

The research also pointed out that these changes occurred despite sizes, ranging from giant whales to tiny bumblebee bats.

In addition, the new paper also reiterated the importance of social, lifestyle, environment, and habitats for evolution, pointing out that Cenozoic diversification of placental mammals is an early driver of adaptive radiation. .

Researchers point to the following mammalian species that evolved the fastest, particularly elephants, whales, sirenians, and extinct ungulates.

Read also : Post-dinosaur world: prehistoric mammals use their muscles before their brains to survive

Placental Mammal Skull Scans

The research team assessed the evolution of the placental mammalian skull through 3D scans of 322 specimens located in more than 20 international museum collections.

They also authored a new model of how our mammalian cousins ​​evolved and showed mammalian diversification based on emergent patterns.

The study, which was led by Professor Anjali Goswami of the National Museum of History, said collecting data on the skulls of all major groups of placental mammals, including extinct and extant species, gained a new perspective regarding time and taxa to trace the root cause of rapid evolution, as cited by

Professor Goswami said their research will transform our understanding of radiation from placental mammals, a group that includes the Homo sapiens species, and how to navigate substantial radiation for mammalian species.

While the first mammals existed alongside dinosaurs before the asteroid impact 66 million years ago, the post-impact of asteroid Chicxulub is crucial to our evolution.

In November 2020, experts said early mammals also had a social life.

However, mammalian life in the age of the dinosaurs mostly resembled rat-like creatures, according to a Nature ecology and evolution study, cited by Scientific American.

Related article: This ancient reptile may have sparked the rise of mammals

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