I was asked to help with a project of a former postdoc at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History, which was exciting for many reasons. First, it was my first foray into paleontology, not that I provided ANY assistance to Dr. Yuri Kimura on that front, but was interesting for me to get more familiar! Second, I did the divergence dating analysis, replacing the conventional dates with the new fossil evidence, and got to work with Dr. Molly McDonough again, which is always fun! Finally, this is a really interesting way to provide better fossil calibration points for other studies of Murine rodents, since the fossil record includes almost entirely teeth, and not complete skulls. Yuri identified qualitative characters across the tree of murine rodents that better places lineages, and corresponds to dated strata, so we can provide a small, but accurate interval for placing lineages. Thanks to all authors for a fast turn around on a really important subject matter for many fields of evolutionary biology!
Missy is a geneticist, and field biologist who enjoys both observing mammals in their natural environment and combining that with DNA detective work.