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It is the southernmost record of Gondwanatheria, a group of long-extinct early mammals that co-existed with dinosaurs.

Alexander Vargas, a researcher at the University of Chile, described the mammal as an evolutionary stepping stone between "egg-laying mammals, like the platypus ... and marsupial mammals."

Vargas said the beast was not a rodent but had evolved "rodent-like chewing teeth."

Gondwanatheria remains from the Cretaceous era are extremely rare, particularly in this part of southern South America, according to the Chilean Antarctic Institute.

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