American Student Finds Rare Marsupial Jawbone

An American student working with the North Dakota Geological Survey has found a very rare and exceptionally well preserved fossilised jawbone of a Late Cretaceous mammal.  The Cretaceous of North American may have sported mega fauna such as Tyrannosaurus rex and Triceratops but there was also a rich and diverse mammalian fauna.  The fossil has been identified as a jawbone (complete with six tiny teeth), of a marsupial mammal named Glasbius twitchelli.  The fossil is approximately sixty-six million years old and it represents the most complete lower jawbone found for this species.

The Tiny Jawbone Compared to a U.S. One Cent Piece

fossil jawbone.

Tiny jawbone fossil compared to one cent piece. The recently discovered fossil represents the most complete lower jawbone found to date for G. twitchelli.

Picture credit: Press Release

Fossil Jawbone

For student Sean Ternes, it was a remarkable discovery.  He had just been explaining to members of the public on a outreach programme how to find fossils when, during a break he tried a little fossil prospecting of his own and found the jawbone.  From its well preserved state, team members from Everything Dinosaur concluded that the fossil had not long since been eroded out of the surrounding rock.  This is the first time that the ancient marsupial Glasbius twitchelli has been recorded in North Dakota.

Everything Dinosaur stocks a wide range of museum-quality scale models of prehistoric mammals. To view the selection of prehistoric mammal replicas available at Everything Dinosaur: Models of Prehistoric Mammals.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur congratulated the student for their highly significant fossil discovery and stated:

“This is the most complete jawbone found to date for this important species.  A tiny fossil such as this helps to provide palaeontologists with a better understanding of the mammalian fauna that lived during the very last days of the dinosaurs.”

Share This!Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Facebook0Share on Google+0