Learning From “The Rise and Reign of the Mammals”

Although Dimetrodon looks vaguely “reptilian,” it was not a dinosaur, not a reptile at all. It was a synapsid, more closely related to us than it was to T. rex or Triceratops. | Todd Marshall / Copyright © — All rights reserved

What we see in the present is such a small slice of what life has been.

When we think mammals we tend to think “fur” and “milk” first and foremost, but the importance of our well‑developed sense of hearing is apparent as soon as you realize we all walk around with giant satellite dishes on our heads to gather sound — something no fish, reptile, bird or other vertebrate has.
Comparing fossils across hundreds of millions of years reveals the transformation of the jaw bones of mammal ancestors into the tiny ear ossicles of mammals. Illustrated by Sarah Shelley.

To understand ourselves, we need to understand our ancestors.



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