Morganucodon is a prehistoric mammal which lived approximately 215 million years ago during the Late Triassic Period. It was first discovered in the late 1930s and was named in 1941 by F.R. Parrington. The name of this mammal means “Glamorgan tooth.” Its name refers to the part of Wales in which it was found, not “Morgan’s tooth” as some other sources list it.
If you try to judge this early mammal by Morganucodon pictures, then you may come to the conclusion that this was a very strange animal indeed. It looks very much like a shrew with its long snout and long tail. However, it’s not a shrew. It is in fact, one of the transitional animals between mammal-like reptiles and mammals themselves.
Morganucodon was about 4 inches long and weighed about as much as an AA battery – or about an ounce. While it is covered in hair like a mammal, it has a lower-jaw that seems very much like that of a reptile. It also had very short legs and may have had sensory whiskers on its face like a cat does. It also had large eyes, which indicates that it was probably nocturnal – a good survival strategy for any small creature living during this time in history. Most likely it hunted insects at night.
One of the most interesting facts about Morganucodon, however, is the controversy over how it reproduced. Some paleontologists believe that while it was a warm-blooded animal, it laid eggs instead of giving birth to its children live. Which wouldn’t be too unusual for early mammals. Many of them did lay eggs and didn’t start having live births until much later.