ScienceDaily — They are separated by a vast ocean and by millions of years, but tiny prehistoric bones found on an Australian farm have been directly linked to a strange and secretive little animal that lives today in the southern rainforests of South America.
The fossilised ankle and ear bones are those of Australia's earliest known marsupial, Djarthia, a primitive mouse-like creature that lived 55 million years ago. It is a kind of Australian Eve, possibly the mother of all the continent's unusual pouched mammals, such as kangaroos, koalas, possums and wombats.
But a new study has confirmed that Djarthia is also a primitive relative of the small marsupial known as the Monito del Monte -- or "little mountain monkey" -- from the dense humid forests of Chile and Argentina.
Although scientists now generally agree that marsupials found their way to Australia from South America, the new finding suggests that the Monito del Monte may subsequently have made the return journey and is indeed a living fossil, the last of a lineage that can be traced back to Djarthia.Read the rest here.