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NATION IN BRIEF : WASHINGTON, D.C. : Fossil Skull Appears to Be Missing Link

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

A fossil skull that gathered dust on museum shelves for more than 80 years appears to provide a long-sought missing link in the evolution of mammals, scientists reported. The tiny skull was found encrusted in rock near the Big Wichita River in Texas in 1908 and was classified as that of an animal belonging to a group of reptile-like creatures known as pelycosaurs. Two Canadian researchers decided to chip it free of its rock encasement. A paleontologist at the Smithsonian Institution said the creature appears to be a missing link between advanced mammal-like reptiles and the earlier pelycosaurs.


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