That exciting beaver news must have excited EVERYONE EVERYWHERE because today it’s on the BBC, the Washington Post and National Geographic. Sadly, this means it has completely squeezed all other beaver stories out of the news, because no self-respecting paper can run TWO beaver stories on the same day, (heaven forbid).
That’s okay though because the Smithsonian one has nice details that are worth sharing.
Though small, the mammal is an exciting find, the researchers said. It belongs to a group of rodentlike mammals called multituberculates, named for the numerous cusps, or tubercles, found on their teeth. Multituberculates lived alongside dinosaurs, but managed to survive the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous period. They lived for another 30 million years before they, too, went extinct, the researchers said.
So THAT”S what multituberculates means, many cusps! I don’t think any other source explained that fact, This is the part I especially loved.
Researchers named the newfound species Kimbetopsalis simmonsae, in honor of the area in which they found it, Kimbeto Wash, New Mexico. The Greek word “psalis” means “cutting shears,” a reference to the creature’s magnificent teeth, and the species name, “simmonsae,” is a nod to Nancy Simmons, a researcher at the American Museum of Natural History renowned for her work on multituberculates.
Magnificent Sheers! That sure sounds like a beaver to me. I had to go look up Nancy Simmons and her famous work on the cuspadors. She’s home grown and graduated from UCB. Here’s what else I found:
Faculty and researcher at the American Museum of Natural history, Dr. Simmons specializes in the morphology and evolutionary biology of bats (Chiroptera). She works with both living and fossil species, and is interested in patterns of speciesdiversification, biogeography, the evolution of dietary habits, higher-level bat relationships, early Tertiary fossil bats, and the evolution of flight and echolocation. A morphologist by training, she works with data gained from museum specimens and high-resolution CT scans, combining these with DNA sequence data generated by collaborators to build and test phylogenetic and evolutionary hypotheses. In addition to her work on bats, Dr. Simmons is part of team working on further development of tools for managing large-scale morphological projects (e.g., build the Tree of Life).
Another example of what bats and beavers have in common! Corky would be so proud.
Imagine getting a species of beaver named after you…I admit, I’m kind of jealous. Do you think they’ll ever be a city dwelling beaver named after us?