New Fossil Shows where Marsupials Began

A fossil discovered in China helps pinpoint exactly when mammals split into a group that raised its young in pouches, and another group that raised them externally.

The fossil, called Sinodelphys szalayi, is from 125 million years ago. The small creature, only 6" long and about an ounce in weight, lived at the same time as the dinosaurs did.

The creature had hands and feet well suited to climbing, and it probably used trees as a safe location to hide from predators.

Marsupials include mammals such as kangaroos, koalas and bandicoots. These animals give birth to their young, and the young then climb into the pouch to continue their growth before being able to go out into the world on their own.

Photos of the Sinodelphys szalayi

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