Tag Archive for: fossil rodents

Salt Lake Tribune

Jeff and Denise Roberts love to roam the hills south of Richfield, sleuthing for fossils and ancient artifacts. During one of those trips several years ago, the couple found fossilized jaw bones so small they can sit on a penny.
The significance of those puny jaws outweighs their size: Paleontologists say they shed light on an era in Utah 8 million years ago that has produced few fossils, unlike the huge dinosaur bones from earlier periods that have made the state a paleontology treasure trove.
The Roberts reported their find to state experts, who determined the fossils came from two heretofore unknown species of rodents related to modern deer and pocket mice. In their honor, the species related to the deer mouse was named Basirepomys robertsi , while the other species was named Metaliomys sevierensis for the formation in Sevier County where the fossils were found.



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A newly-published report describes the discovery of two new prehistoric rodents in Utah. The report also identifies two fossil rodents and a rabbit previously known from other states. All are from a site near Sevier in central Utah.

“In addition to identifying the new species, the findings are significant because until now, Utah has been a big hole in the Miocene map of western North America for fossil mammals,” said Don DeBlieux, report co-author and paleontologist with the Utah Geological Survey (UGS). “The uplift and erosion of the Colorado Plateau which makes Utah such a good place for finding dinosaur fossils means that younger rocks and fossils, such as those from the Miocene Epoch which lasted from 23 to five million years ago, have been washed way.”