PASCAL GOETGHELUCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PASCAL GOETGHELUCK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Fossil mammal skull. Fossil objects, often dating back millions of years, are formed as rocks slowly form around objects buried in mud. This is the skull of an ancestor of the otter. The skull is the brown areas, still embedded in the host rock. Teeth are seen at upper right, showing the snout of the animal. The thin ridge of skull to the right of the snout is the zygoma, an area in front of the ear in many vertebrate skulls. The brain case is behind this area. Otters first evolved around 30 million years ago. Fossil from the Natural History Museum of Lyon, France.
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