Their vision and color perception is comparable to those of diurnal reptiles and birds – groups which never left the daytime.
“It’s very difficult to relate behavior changes in mammals that lived so long ago to ecological conditions at the time, so we can’t say that the dinosaurs dying out caused mammals to start being active in the daytime,” added co-author Professor Kate Jones.
“However, we see a clear correlation in our findings.”
Ancestral reconstruction is the extrapolation back in time from measured characteristics of individuals, or species, to their common ancestors.
For example, if a mammal had long fingers and its sibling also has long fingers it is likely that a parent had long fingers.
The research was published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.