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SCIENCE FILE | Science in Brief

Researchers Report First Mammal Ever Found in Amber

May 09, 1996|Times staff and wire reports

For the first time, researchers have found the remains of a mammal entombed in amber. Biologist Ross McPhee of the American Museum of Natural History reported in a recent issue of Nature that he had found the backbone and ribs of a tiny insect-eating animal, much like a shrew, in amber from the Dominican Republic. The remains are estimated to be 18 million to 29 million years old.

McPhee said the discovery will help explain how and when mammals--and other land animals--colonized the West Indies. The age and species suggest that a land bridge to the islands might have once existed.

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