10 Cretaceous Animals That Weren’t Dinosaurs


Prehistoric Rodents

Rugosodon eurasiaticus was about the size of the chipmunk, but was it as cute? legna69/iStock/Thinkstock
Rugosodon eurasiaticus was about the size of the chipmunk, but was it as cute? legna69/iStock/Thinkstock

About as big as a chipmunk, Rugosodon eurasiaticus was an extremely versatile rodent-type mammal that lived through the Cretaceous and died out around 35 million years ago. The oldest R. eurasiaticus fossil ever discovered dates back 160 million years ago to the Jurassic Period.

When scientists first reported the discovery of the fossil in 2013, they had determined that R. eurasiaticus paved the way for other mammals that chowed down on plants and lived in trees. These so-called multituberculates flourished during the Cretaceous. They could jump, dig tunnels and climb trees. These rodent-like mammals first appeared during the Jurassic Period but managed to survive for more than million years. Some were as small as a mouse, others the size of beavers [sources: Science, Yandell, AAAS].

Author's Note: 10 Cretaceous Animals That Weren't Dinosaurs

It was the so-called Chicxulub asteroid that ended the reign of the dinosaur, or so many scientists believe. However, some say the mass extinction could have occurred 300,000 years before or some 180,000 years after the Cretaceous Period. New evidence suggests that another asteroid might have struck India, causing the extinction. Other scientists say it could have been a series of volcanic eruptions.

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