Science

Darwin’s “Strangest Animals”

A mysterious creature identified after 180 years.

When Charles Darwin dug up strange mammal fossils 180 years ago, he had no idea what he’d found. They resembled a camel with an elephant trunk, or a hippo with the head of a rhino.

An international team of researchers sought to study proteins from five specimens, and they report in Nature that they’ve finally traced the lineage of the mysterious creatures, which Darwin considered among the strangest he’d ever encountered.

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