Prof. Zhe-Xi Luo & grad student David Grossnickle discover earliest winged mammals with international team

an illustration of the winged mammals by April I. Neander

Professor Zhe-Xi Luo (Organismal Biology and Anatomy) and graduate student David Grossnickle (Comittee on Evolutionary Biology) are authors on two papers published in the journal Nature on the earliest winged mammals. 160 million-year-old fossils discovered in China by an international team suggest that the ancient "flying squirrels" existed much earlier than was previously believed.

According to Science Life, "The new discoveries suggest that the volant, or flying, way of life evolved among mammalian ancestors 100 million years earlier than the first modern mammal fliers."

Read the full papers: "New gliding mammaliaforms from the Jurassic" and "New evidence for mammaliaform ear evolution and feeding adaptation in a Jurassic ecosystem."

The discovery has also been covered by the New York Times, National Geographic, and Popular Science.

Update 8/22: The Washington Post has also covered the story.

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