How little, furry mammals that scurried under dinosaurs’ feet came to rule the world

Shortly after dinosaurs got their start during the Triassic period, little furry mammals began scurrying underfoot, using their powerful teeth to chomp down on plants, insects and even — eventually — dinosaurs. But how did these warm-blooded creatures arise? How did they survive the giant asteroid that slammed into Earth and wiped out the nonavian dinosaurs 66 million years ago? And how are mammals doing today, given the challenges on the horizon?

In the book, “The Rise and Reign of the Mammals: A New History, from the Shadow of the Dinosaurs to Us (opens in new tab),” released on Tuesday (June 7) by Mariner Books, paleontologist Steve Brusatte answers these questions and more. Few are better poised to tell this tale than Brusatte, chair of paleontology and evolution at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, whose first book, The New York Times bestseller “The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World (opens in new tab)” (Mariner Books, 2018), connected readers with the diversity of scientists and their myriad discoveries about the dinosaur age. 

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