This Magazine

Progressive politics, ideas & culture


If the blood loss doesn’t kill you, the poison will

This Magazine Staff

Creationists, please avert your eyes. News from the University of Alberta’s school of paleontology today that some of the earliest mammals had a lethally poisonous bite.
From today’s Edmonton Journal, the fossil in question belonged to “Bisonalveus browni, a furry, insect-eating creature about the size of a mouse that lived in North America some 60 million years ago, during what is known as the Paleocene Epoch.” The specimen was collected in 1991 but was part of a larger fossil lodged in a big hunk of shale. A graduate student noticed a ridge in a tooth, uncovered in 2004, and brought it to the attention of a supervisor, thinking it might be a cavity.
The scientific paper appears in this week’s Nature but for full text you’ll need a subscription.
This significant scientific discovery (for Canadian scientists) appears nowhere in today’s Globe and Mail. I should add too, that if dinosaurs don’t float your boat, Nature has full text online of an item entitled, “Jennifer Aniston hits a nerve”

Show Comments