ThinkingShift species watch
Some good news to bring you about the precious species we cohabit the planet with!
First up, Australian researchers have mapped the kangaroo genome. Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Kangaroo Genomics (KanGO) have been using the tammar wallaby as a model kangaroo for their project. Now, I’m sure you’d agree that kangaroos are cute looking and quintessentially Australian but why bother mapping kangaroo genome? Shouldn’t we be more worried about the current financial hissy fit? Well, scientists are saying that mapping the kangaroo genome will help us to better understand how the genome of mammals – including humans – is organised, how it functions, and how it evolved. So the kangaroo genome map could help to explore how mammals develop and ultimately reveal the secrets of the human genome. Go Skippy! Source: Science Daily.
Furbies are real! A group of small, furry furby-looking primates has been discovered (or rediscovered) in Indonesia after having not been spotted for 85 years. They are known as pygmy tarsiers, are about the size of a mouse and weigh less than two ounces or 57 grams. Scientists were busy trapping rats in the highlands of Sulawesi when they accidentally trapped some of these cute creatures. Two males and a female now sport radio collars so scientists can track their movements in the mossy, mountainous terrain of the area. Logging in the 1970s threatened the pygmy tarsier population. Hopefully, the cuties will now be protected. Source: National Geographic.
Two new species of “flying lemurs” have been found. Well, actually one species is now considered to be three distinct species. Known as colugos, flying lemurs are the closest living relatives to primates. Two colugo species, the Sunda colugo (Galeopterus variegatus) and the Philippine colugo (Cynocephalus volans) were thought to exist but scientists analysed the genetic material of Sunda colugos living on the Malay Peninsula and concluded that the genetic differences between the two species adds up to distinct species. So five million years ago, a split occurred and rising sea levels prevented travel between colugos living on the Malay Peninsula and those living on islands. So now we have the Sunda colugos living on the Malay Peninsula and species living on Borneo and Java. And there are distinctions in fur colour, patterns and size. Source: msnbc
Common species of bats are fighting back in the UK. Species such as Soprano and Bandit Pipistrelles, Brown Long-eared bats and the Natterer’s bat have been spotted at habitats recorded by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS). Many bat populations have been in decline because of habitat destruction and threats to bats’ food supply. The NTS have 129 properties across the UK, which are offered as bat havens and it seems the conservation project is working with over 1,000 recent bat sightings. Source: BBC News.
A virtual planet of the apes has been discovered! More than 100,000 rare gorillas have been discovered in Congo. Living in swamp forest in northern Republic of Congo (on the outskirts of Lac Tele) the discovery doubles the number of the endangered primates thought to be clinging to life. A census conducted during the 1980s revealed only 100,000 gorillas were left on this planet. Their numbers had been plummetting due to hunting, poaching and exposure to human diseases such as Ebola. The discovery of this mother lode of gorillas is such great news. Let’s just hope the poachers and hunters lose their GPS. Source: CNN
And speaking of hunters. A German aristocrat (aka idiot, tosser) has been arrested in Namibia for slaughtering endangered zebra. Christian Prinz zu Hohenlohe-Langenburg, 28 years, who obviously has not read a single thing in his life about the cruelty of hunting is alleged to have killed zebra at a private game reserve owned by his father, 70 km from the capital, Windhoek. This idiot apparently knocked off several hundred of the beautiful creatures – for skins or food it’s not known. Under Namibian law, hunters may only kill eight mountain zebra a year, provided they have a permit. But this dude wasn’t satisfied with eight. 193 carcasses have so far been dug up, having been buried by this goose across the farm. Throw the book at him! Source: Daily News.