"Saber-toothed squirrel" from the dinosaur days

 Cnn Dam Assets 111102032029-Extinct-Mammal-Story-Top This intimidating squirrel-like beastie with the impressive choppers lived 94 million years ago. Scientists from the University of Louisville recently discovered fossilized remains of the animal, named Cronopio dentiacutus, in Argentina. Apparently, it was about the size of a mouse. From CNN:

(Paleontologist Guillermo Rougier believes Cronopio dentiacutus) was an insectivore, which is common for small animals today. Their teeth seem to be specialized for cutting and crushing; the large canines of Cronopio dentiacutus could puncture through small insects. To give you some perspective on the size of these canines, imagine if one of your front teeth came down below your chin, Rougier said.

"Tiny 'saber-toothed squirrel' found" (CNN)

"Highly specialized mammalian skulls from the Late Cretaceous of South America" (Nature)


  1. Looks more like a ferret-warthog had relations with a raccoon-rat…and this wonderful creature resulted.

    But I’m getting my time frame mixed up slightly…

  2. We have these same animals on our property! 
    But they’re cuter with puffy little cheeks and don’t have the large fangs.

  3.  They strike me as an ancient version of the Grasshopper Mouse… though they are utterly unrelated.

    Grasshopper Mice are predatory field mice whose diet is almost entirely meat and insects.  They even howl like tiny wolves to mark their territory :)

    1. Is choppers the English term?

      As opposed to Serbo-Croatian? I’ve never heard anything but choppers in the US.

  4. Will they scurry up to you and take bits of beef jerky from your hand?  (May have to “borrow” Percival Dunwoody’s time machine to test this out.)

  5. Yes, but was ‘Cronopio dentiacutus’ surrounded by the fossilized remains of a large cache of acorns, and what appears to be a field of faultlines running for miles in every direction, with Scrat as the epicenter?  Kinda sad to think he finally ran out of luck.

  6. That’s the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on! That squirrel’s got a vicious streak a mile wide! It’s a killer!

  7. I like how this sort of validates the classic cartoon theory of evolution, where any contemporary animal could be made prehistoric–and comedically menacing–by having ‘saber-tooth’, ‘suarus’, or ‘cave’ added to its name. I’m imagining a small tableau in a dusty corner of some long-in-the-tooth (pun intended) state Museum of Natural History depicting the improbable confrontation of the gigantic (by squirrel standards…) and terrible squirrelasuarus, the sleek and deadly saber-toothed squirrel and the brutish knuckle-dragging cave squirrel.

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