Missing Link in the Fur Seal Evolution Found

February 14, 2015 11:14 PM

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The fossil was found in Southern California, in the early 1980s, from a 15 to 17 million-year-old rock formation. The researchers had wrongly identified it as a part of walrus species. However, it was Robert Boessenecker who discovered that the sample was actually from a tiny early fur seal. The creature has been described as very tiny. Boessenecker commented “The mystery remains of why there has only been one of these fur seals ever found given that there have been extensive fossil excavations of similarly aged rocks in California.”

Boessenecker explained that the teeth of this newly identified fur seal fossil make it the key transitional piece. They belong to the middle ground between the teeth of today’s sea lions and the complex “bear-like” teeth that were seen in the earliest pinnipeds, scientific name of the group of seals...

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