Scientists discover fossils of a hedgehog the size of a thumb

By Jennifer Pilgrim,

Scientists have discovered a 52 million-year-old fossil of a hedgehog roughly 2 inches long in British Columbia.

Dubbed Silvacola acares, which means "tiny forest dweller," the size of the hedgehog was so insignificant that researchers ended up leaving it partially encased in fossil to avoid breaking any part of its body.

Researchers did a micro-CT scan on his skull to determine what type of animal he was, and realized quickly that they had discovered a new species and possibly a new genus, reports the Los Angeles Times.

Silvacola acares appears to have lived within the early Eocene area, which is one of the warmest periods of time since the time of dinosaurs. British Columbia would have been covered with a unique rain forest, and the average temperature would have been about 50-60 Fahrenheit.

Although not much more is known about that time period, more discoveries of animals within that time period are happening each year, reports the Escapist.

"These new mammals fill out our picture of this environment," David Greenwood, one of the authors of the new study detailing the recent fossil discovery, told UPI Science News. He and other researchers are excited about other treasures that may still be unearthed in Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park, where the little guy was originally found.

The study was published in Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.



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