A new study led by CU-Boulder describes the fossils of a tiny hedgehog previously unknown to science living in a British Columbia rainforest some 50
A new study led by CU-Boulder describes the fossils of a tiny hedgehog previously unknown to science living in a British Columbia rainforest some 50 million years ago near the height of a global warming stretch during the early Eocene Epoch. The researchers also found fossils of an ancient relative of modern tapirs known as Heptodon, which resembles a small rhino with no horn and a short trunk. ( Artwork by Julius Csotonyi, University of Colorado)

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Researchers from the University of Colorado have discovered the fossil of a 2-inch-long hedgehog from 52 million years ago.

The university announced the discovery Tuesday, saying it happened recently in British Columbia during a trip by a Boulder-led team. The university says it's perhaps the tiniest hedgehog species ever.

The hedgehog's scientific name is silvacola acares. CU associate professor Jaelyn Eberle says that means "tiny forest dweller." She says the hedgehog likely fed on insects, plants and seeds, but it's unclear if it had quills like the contemporary hedgehog.

The university says the discovery happened in north-central British Columbia at a place called Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park. Eberle says it was likely a rainforest environment 52 million years ago.