Science Blast! Tree-Cats Once Lived!

Or, at least, a cat-like creature once lived in the trees:

An artist’s reconstruction of Anatoliadelphys maasae. Image credit: Peter Schouten.An artist’s reconstruction of Anatoliadelphys maasae.
Image credit: Peter Schouten.

Cat-Sized Marsupial Relative Lived in Turkey 43 Million Years Ago

Named Anatoliadelphys maasae, the new species is an unusual, cat-sized carnivorous metatherian (marsupials and their relatives).

It lived in what is now Turkey during the middle Eocene epoch, about 43 million years ago.

With an estimated body mass of 3-4 kg, about the size of a domestic cat, the prehistoric animal is one of the largest metatherians known from the northern hemisphere, together with two North American species: the extant Virginia opossum (2.4 kg) and the extinct Didelphodon vorax (2-6 kg).

A three-dimensionally preserved skull and a near complete skeleton of Anatoliadelphys maasae were discovered and collected in 2002 from the Uzunçarşıdere Formation in central Turkey.

They were analyzed by Dr. Murat Maga from the University of Washington and Dr. Robin Beck from the Universities of Salford and New South Wales.

The analysis indicates that Anatoliadelphys maasae was agile and was able to climb and grasp, perhaps similarly to the modern-day spotted quoll.

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