STATE COLLEGE, PA—Offering insight into our planet’s ecological past, a study released Tuesday by researchers at Penn State University found that Earth’s animals were once a single giant creature before breaking apart roughly 175 million years ago. “After reviewing extensive fossil records, we determined that a massive ‘super-animal’ once roamed the planet, but began to fracture at some point during the Mesozoic era into separate life forms,” said lead researcher Gary Albright, noting that if one looks at certain species closely, it’s possible to see how, for example, the giraffe’s neck fits together with the hippopotamus’s underbelly, or the dolphin’s tail forms a perfect contour with the stingray’s back. “We believe this process started when tiny fissures began to form within the single mega-animal, leading to creatures breaking off and drifting away as smaller birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and fish.” In a continuation of this process, Albright stated that over the next million years, internal rifting is projected to cleave the platypus into a species of duck and a fairly large rodent.

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