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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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ScienceShot: Meet the Saber-Toothed Squirrel
2 November 2011 2:03 pm
Scrat, the fictional saber-toothed squirrel from the Ice Age films, may not be so fictional after all. Researchers have discovered the fossil remains of a 94-million-year-old squirrel-like critter with a long, narrow snout and a pair of curved saber-fangs that it would have likely used to pierce its insect prey. The creature, pieced together from skull fragments unearthed in Argentina and dubbed Cronopio dentiacutus, was not ancestral to us or any living mammal. Instead, researchers report online today in Nature, it belonged to an extinct group called dryolestoids, a cadre of fuzzy mammals that scurried about in the shadow of long-necked dinosaurs, as in the artist's impression above. The new discovery extends the known record of the dryolestoid mammals in South America back 60 million years from what was previously known. There were no acorns around at the time though, so Cronopio—like Scrat—would have had to do without them.
See more ScienceShots.