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Life sciences/Organismal biology/Animals/Vertebrates/Mammals/Marsupials

A tiny, furry-tailed creature was the earliest ancestor of the placental mammals—a group excluding marsupials and egg-laying mammals—and lived after the extinction of the dinosaurs, according to a study in the 8 February Science.

The origins and early evolution of placental mammals have long been a matter of debate.

A mysterious and deadly cancer that has been plaguing populations of Tasmanian devils for more than a decade must have abandoned its original host long ago, essentially becoming a parasite of the devils, researchers say.