Mark Norell may not be wowed by this specimen, which he
compares to "a flat rat on a New York street." But even this
seasoned paleontologist agrees that the fossil's details are exceptional.
Perhaps most striking is the aura-like fringe of fur surrounding the skeleton.
Small mammals are as ancient as dinosaurs. In fact, until the demise of
traditional (non-avian) dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous, most mammals
remained small, hunting insects, scavenging nests, and living in the shadow of dominant