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-five 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

Mouse-sized Cretaceous marsupial.

Mouse-sized Cretaceous marsupial.

Picture Credit: Press Release

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.
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