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sunsplash1Offline
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PostPosted: 06-10-2004 04:40    Post subject: Another odd Geko found Reply with quote

Quote:
WA gecko find puzzles scientists
Scientists in Western Australia's Pilbara have been left wondering about the origins of a newly discovered species of lizard.

The yet to be named black gecko is 12 centimetres long, has a duck-like head and goggly eyes.

The reptile was discovered this week near Harding Dam, east of Karratha, as part of a three-year study into the Pilbara's fauna.

Herpetologist Paul Doughty says he is perplexed as to how the gecko came to be living in the arid Pilbara region.

"The main relatives of this one are on the Pacific islands and it's got a couple of Australian relatives, like I said, in Cape York, so turning up here in the Pilbara is puzzling," he said.

The research team has also found three other lizards and a mammal which may also be declared new species.
Last Update: Wednesday, October 6, 2004. 7:37am (AEST)http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200410/s1213862.htm


And a charming lizard it is...

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CygnusRexOffline
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PostPosted: 14-12-2004 09:48    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I might change this threads title to 'Newly discovered and very slimy' Very Happy

Quote:
MUMBAI: Bombay Natural History Society's Varad Giri and his four-man team have identified a new caecilian (legless amphibian) and named it Indotyphlus maharashtraensis, based on a series of 12 specimens from the northern Western Ghats.

Dr David J. Gower and Dr Mark Wilkinson of the Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, London, have confirmed the findings.

In 2003, Giri was the first to come across a rare caecilian in the Western Ghats and named it Gegeneophis danieli. A research assistant at the Bombay Natural History Society, Giri has been intensely surveying the Western Ghats to locate fresh species.

The first female Indotyphlus maharashtraensis was collected near Dhanagarwada, in Satara district, by Giri and his team on June 19. The specimen was found on a plateau under a rock in an open patch of grass in semi-evergreen forest.

Before Giri, the last specimen was reported from Khandala in the 1960s and named Indotyphlus batterbsyi. More work can be done if additional funding was put in place, Giri said and added, "Caecilian research is not fashionable though it tells a lot about the ecology."


http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/2004/12/09/images/2004120900441801.jpg

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PostPosted: 16-12-2004 17:19    Post subject: Macaca munzala: New monkey Reply with quote

http://pharyngula.org/index/weblog/comments/macaca_munzala_the_arunachal_macaque/
Quote:
Macaca munzala, the Arunachal Macaque

A new species of macaque, Macaca munzala or the Arunachal macaque, has been discovered in northeastern India. This is an incredibly rare event—the last new macaque species was found 101 years ago, and it’s been 49 years since any new primate was discovered in Asia. “Discovered” may be not quite the right word; the inhabitants of this region of India are entirely familiar with it, and have been shooting it for its habit of raiding crops, and apparently it is a thriving species found in multiple populations. It had so far escaped the notice of scientists, at any rate, since it lives in an out-of-the-way part of the world and resides at high altitudes, above 2000 m.

http://www.ncf-india.org/extras/macaquepix.htmhttp://www.ncf-india.org/extras/macaquepress.htm
Quote:
NCF-led expedition discovers new species of primate!

Recent surveys undertaken by NCF along with its partners, the Wildlife Conservation Society (New York), the International Snow Leopard Trust (Seattle) and the National Institute of Advanced Studies (Bangalore) have resulted in the discovery of a primate, the Arunachal macaque Macaca munzala, that is new to science. A team comprising Dr. Anindya Sinha (NIAS/NCF/WCS), Dr. Aparajita Datta (NCF/WCS), Dr. M. D. Madhusudan (NCF/WCS) and Dr. Charudutt Mishra (NCF/ISLT) made this discovery a full 101 years after the last species of macaque, the Pagai macaque, was described in 1903. This exciting find is the latest in a series of biological discoveries that NCF has made in northeast India over the last 5 years. The expeditions have been conducted with funding from the Van Tienhoven Foundation (The Netherlands) and the Rufford Maurice Laing Foundation (UK), and cooperation from the Arunachal Pradesh Forest Department.

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TheQuixoteOffline
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PostPosted: 16-12-2004 17:19    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Scientists find new Indian monkey
By Alex Kirby
BBC News website environment correspondent

A species of monkey unknown to science has been photographed in India by an international team of researchers.

The monkey, a member of the macaque family, was sighted in the state of Arunachal Pradesh, which lies in the country's remote north-eastern region.

Named the Arunachal macaque, the new monkey is a comparatively large brown primate with a relatively short tail.

The scientists say they are surprised to have found a hitherto unknown large mammal in such a populous country.

Wildlife treasure trove

The discovery was made during expeditions last year and this by Indian researchers from the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society, the Nature Conservation Foundation, the International Snow Leopard Trust, and the National Institute of Advanced Studies.

Quote:

Few would have thought that with over a billion people and retreating wild lands, a new large mammal species would ever be found in India, of all places
Dr M D Madhusudan, WCS


The last species of macaque to be discovered in the wild, the Indonesian Pagai macaque, was described in 1903.

The Arunachal macaque ( Macaca munzala ) is described in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Primatology.

Recent expeditions into Arunachal Pradesh by WCS's Indian partners have also reported the leaf deer, the black barking deer, and the Chinese goral (an animal related to the goat), all species that were previously unknown from India.

After one such expedition, the state government created a new protected area - the Tsangyang Gyatso Biosphere Reserve.

Dr M D Madhusudan of WCS said: "This new species comes from a biologically rich area that is perhaps India's last unknown frontier. The discovery of a new species of monkey is quite rare.

Familiar sight

"What is also remarkable about our discovery is that few would have thought that with over a billion people and retreating wild lands, a new large mammal species would ever be found in India, of all places.

"This region of Arunachal Pradesh, with its rugged mountains and extensive forest cover, is truly one of India's last wild places, one that merits protection at both regional and international levels."

WCS says: "Although the monkey is new to science, the animal is well known to the residents of the Himalayan districts of Tawang and West Kameng, where the species occurs.
"The monkey's species name, mun zala, means 'deep-forest monkey' in the vernacular of the Dirang Monpa people."

The new species is one of the highest-dwelling primates in the world, occurring between 1,600 and 3,500 metres (5,250-11,500 feet) above sea level.

It is not hunted for food or sport, but local people do kill monkeys in retaliation for crop-raiding. The team does not yet know whether the Arunachal macaque is endangered.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/sci/tech/4101001.stm
Published: 2004/12/16 11:02:38 GMT

© BBC MMIV
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CygnusRexOffline
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PostPosted: 23-12-2004 08:28    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Scientists Discover New Animal and Plant Species Hidden Deep in Borneo Jungles

Expedition of Indonesian Caves and Cliffs Reveal Record Levels of Biodiversity, but Logging and Fires Threaten to Destroy Unique Plant and Animal Life

East Kalimantan, Indonesia—December 20, 2004—A team of international scientists led by The Nature Conservancy today announced the discovery of at least two new fish species and a variety of previously unknown insect, snail and plant species living in the karst systems of Borneo.

During a five-week expedition through the karst systems – limestone caves, cliffs and sinkholes – the scientists also documented high levels of rare plant and animal species found only in Borneo. The expedition was the first biological study ever to document the plant and animal species that live in the karst systems of the East Kalimantan region of Borneo.

“The team’s discovery of such a wide variety of plants and animals, and particularly the high number of rare species found nowhere else on Earth, shows the critical need to protect this area from the growing threats of logging, mining and fire,” said Scott Stanley, the Conservancy’s Program Manager for East Kalimantan. “This area appears to have the largest number of endemic species of any ecosystem on Borneo.”

The expedition team surveyed four karst systems in the Sangkulirang Peninsula of East Kalimantan. Several of these karst areas have already been hit by devastating fires in recent years. Illegal logging and mining operations are quickly spreading through the area, destroying critical habitat and contributing to the spread of wildfires.

The areas surveyed by the expedition team currently have no protective status and are highly vulnerable to damaging human activities.

“In just five weeks, the expedition team discovered numerous new species previously unknown to science. Who knows what else is out there?” Stanley said. “If something is not done soon to protect these areas, dozens of species could disappear before anyone knew they ever existed.”

Along with the new discoveries, scientists documented 34 different bat species living in the surveyed area – more than in any other area of Kalimantan, including protected preserves. Several of the bat species had never before been found in Kalimantan.

Scientists also documented 124 species of birds in the karst areas, nearly one-third of all the non-migratory, non-wetland birds found in Borneo.

And at least five new insect species, including a “monster” cockroach, a “micro-crab,” and a giant troglobitic (cave specialist) millipede were also discovered.

“Nearly all of the insects we collected are new to science,” said Louis DeHarveng, an entomologist and director of research of the French Academy of Science who participated in the survey. “Sangkulirang appears to have some of the most diverse cave species on Earth.”

Other notable discoveries made during the expedition were:

At least two new species of begonias
One new species of Monophyllaea (a one-leafed plant)
Two new species of snails
Several new fish species

The expedition of the Sangkulirang karst systems was conducted from July 31 to September 3, 2004. The Nature Conservancy sponsored and organized the trip with the financial support of the Sall Family Foundation. Among those participating in the expedition were scientists from Indonesia’s Institute of Sciences, the U.S. Park Service, the University of London, the French Academy of Science, and the Singapore Botanical Garden


Souce with pics
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PostPosted: 16-01-2005 18:18    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Two new lemur species found in Madagascar

Agence France-Presse

Antananrivo, January 14, 2005|05:01 IST

Researchers at a US zoo have discovered two new species of lemurs in Madagascar, the Indian Ocean island nation, that is the only place the highly endangered small primates live.

Scientists from the Henry Doorly Zoo in the US state of Nebraska said the new lemur species were found in forests on Madagascar's east and west coasts and that details of the discovery would be published in the December 2005 issue of the International Journal of Primatology.

"The discovery of any new species is noteworthy, the discovery of two new primate species is extraordinarily significant to science and conservation," zoo director Lee Simmons said in a statement seen here on Friday.

A team led by Edward Louis, a geneticist at the zoo, found one new species in the rain forest on Madagascar's east coast and named it Seal's Sportive Lemur (Lepilemur seali) in honor of Ulysses Seal III, a former official with the International Union of Conservation of Nature, the zoo said.

The team found the second species in the dry forest of Madagascar's west coast and named it the Mitsinjo Sportive Lemur (Lepilemur mitsinjonensis) after the region, the zoo said.

Louis has been collaborating on conservation genetics with Madagascan wildlife agencies, academics and preservation organizations since 1998 and he and his team have taken DNA samples from over 1,800 lemurs that were captured and then released back into the wild, it said.

Madagascar is home to more than 50 different types of lemur, a mostly tree-dwelling mammal, including the tiny pygmy mouse lemur discovered in 1985 and the unusual aye-aye which has huge ears, shaggy fur and a very thin middle finger on each hand.

New species are still being found — the golden bamboo lemur was discovered in 1986 and the critically endangered Tattersall's sifaka was identified only in 1988.

And in 1997, German researchers announced the discovery of a species (Allocebus trichotis) which had been thought to be extinct. It is one of the smallest of the lemurs, weighing only 80 grammes (less than three ounces).


Hindustan Times
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Mighty_EmperorOffline
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PostPosted: 04-02-2005 04:00    Post subject: Reply with quote

More monkeys:

Quote:
Going Ape Over An Amazon Treasure

Feb. 2, 2005



(CBS) 60 Minutes Wednesday ventures into a stunning wilderness called Madidi, in the Bolivian Amazon of South America.


---------------
Correspondent Christiane Amanpour reports on the remarkable discovery of a species of monkey that had never been seen before. Madidi is a place like no other on Earth, where the Andes meet the Amazon, and icy peaks plunge straight down to steamy jungles.

"Imagine a place which starts with that kind of landscape and goes all the way down to lush tropical forests," says British biologist Rob Wallace.

"Finding a new species is always a big deal. Finding a new species of mammal, which many people find more inspirational, is a big deal. And finding a new species of monkey is a huge deal."

This spectacular Bolivian wilderness is Wallace's outdoor laboratory. And after a decade of grueling travel and exploration for New York’s Wildlife Conservation Society, Wallace has discovered something most scientists can only dream of.

60 Minutes Wednesday asked Wallace to lead it to the monkeys, on a trip that quickly turned into a remarkable adventure. Just getting there became a vital part of the story.

Dropping through five different climate zones, the trip passed some of the most amazing animals on Earth, like the world’s biggest flying creature with a 10-foot wingspan.

"That was an Andean Condor. They're huge, much bigger than I can make with my hands, much bigger," says Wallace. "Sometimes, they fly past really low, and they're incredibly impressive."

The final destination was the largely unexplored national park called Madidi. For 100 miles, only wild rivers cut through Madidi’s jungles and gorges.

"It's just completely empty," says Amanpour. "I feel like we’re the only people on Earth here."

But it's not the scenery that makes Madidi so extraordinary. Although it’s only the size of New Jersey, Wallace believes that in terms of animal life, Madidi may be the richest place on Earth.

"It's a good place to see otters and tapir, cayman, which are South American crocodiles, and Capibara, which are the largest rodents in the world," says Wallace.

"Madidi is the most biological diverse park in the world. If we think of birds, we estimate that eventually there’ll be 1,100 species of birds actually in the park, and that’s more bird species than there are in the whole of North America, for example. So that makes Madidi very special."

As visitors push even farther into the wilderness, the river gets dangerously shallow. Wallace says the crew has to get out and push. Ladies are excused. The Bolivian park rangers try their best to sound out the hidden dangers, but they can’t avoid every obstacle.

After hours of weaving up the Tuichi River, the team finally gets to the wilderness trail that it's been looking for. Now begins the trek through miles of almost impenetrable jungle.

"There's a flat bit, then there's a hilly bit, then there's another flat bit," says Wallace.

"You make it sound so easy," says Amanpour. "It is water and mud and disgusting."

It's just the way the wild pigs like it, and a loud clicking sound is the first clue that they may be in the area.

"That's the clicking of the jaws. It's like a warning sign. So they know something is up; they are beginning to smell us," says Wallace. "The noises we hear, the sort of clacking of the jaws, come from breaking tough nuts, palm nuts, because they've got great big teeth. We’ve seen herds of 250, 300 animals."

Theoretically, Wallace says, you can get stampeded. And that's exactly what happened. "Everyone always says you have to look for a tree to climb, but so far we’ve always been OK," says Wallace.

Hours later, the group finally stumbles into Wallace’s research station, near where he found the monkey. They are just ahead of a tropical downpour that threatens to spoil the attempt to confirm his discovery.

After nearly four hours on the river, and a grueling four-and-a-half hour trek by foot, the group got up at the crack of dawn to start searching for the new monkey. The rain stopped them.

The deluge stopped by the afternoon, and they were able to start a search in a place where humans are the exotic species.

Have there been times when it's just been too hard?

"Yeah, there are risks. There are things in the forest you are not gonna see in Manhattan," says Wallace. "But there are things in Manhattan that you are not gonna see in the forest, either."

When do you learn to stop looking at your feet and actually look around?

"It takes a while because there are all sorts of hazards," says Wallace. "But after a while, you get used to it, and you can pay attention to what’s around you."

There is so much around, including anteaters high up in the trees. And on the canopy above, there are Capuchin monkeys racing across the branches, and a troupe of squirrel monkeys, also feasting on ants.

But all these monkeys are already known to science. The ones being sought are the ones the world has never seen before.

"These monkeys are characterized by having small territories, and they are territorial, so they call every morning, dueting as a pair to defend their territory," says Wallace. "So we’re hoping, if we play a cassette that we recorded from another group, that they’ll respond and we can figure out where they are. Because they’re really secretive."

But all anyone hears is the tape.

"We've got plenty of time," says Wallace. "We just have to keep looking for them."

Finally, the monkeys answer back. It was the first sighting of the new species and it wasn’t disappointing - a brilliant orange ball of fur.

"This is a monogamous pair, and they are dueting in response to our music, and that set off another pair," says Wallace.

Among the things that make this new monkey unique is that it mates for life, and the males carry around and shelter their young. They're very close and affectionate.

"They are beautiful monkeys. They’re a bit like a teddy bear," says Wallace. "The main characteristic is this golden crown color."

That color was Wallace’s first clue that he was looking at a new species, a conclusion now supported by a scientific peer review. The only thing missing is a name for the new monkey.

How important is the discovery?

"Any new discoveries have potential. And it's important that we know what animals are existing, what plants are existing in these places, so that we can make sure that they can be conserved for future generations," says Wallace. "To find a new species of monkey is a dream come true."

Since Wallace discovered the monkey, couldn't he have named it after himself?

"Not really. It's not really considered to be the done thing," says Wallace. "It's bad form. We could have chosen a name. It can be a Latin description of some feature of the animal."

And Wallace wants to do something that’s never been tried before. He’ll auction off the right to name this monkey to the highest bidder.

"If I can help generate some funding, some significant funding, to make sure that Madidi works, then as far as I'm concerned, that's an easy decision for me to make," he says.

What Madidi needs to make it work is a park management plan that will protect its future. And that will take money, money that Wallace hopes to raise in the auction.

So how much will it be worth to name the little monkey that’s been found in Madidi? Wallace and the Bolivian park authorities hope that the promise of scientific immortality will bring a high price.

"There are all sorts of economical and ecological reasons why protected areas are really important," says Wallace. "But I think most importantly, these places are inspirational."

--------------------
© MMV, CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved.


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ramonmercadoOffline
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PostPosted: 18-02-2005 13:24    Post subject: New Species Of Coral Discovered Off Southern California Reply with quote

New Species Of Coral Discovered Off Southern California
Santa Barbara, Calif.

-- A new species of black coral has been discovered off southern California, including around the Channel Islands, by Milton Love, University of California, Santa Barbara marine researcher, and Mary Yoklavich of NOAA Fisheries. The discovery came during dives by the researchers in "Delta," the submersible.

The new species, found at depths of approximately 300 to 725 feet, is reported this week in the online scientific journal Zootaxa (http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/content.html) by taxonomist Dennis Opresko of Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Love named the new species "Christmas Tree Coral" (dendochristos in Greek) since it grows to a height greater than two meters and resembles pink, white and red flocked Christmas trees.

The complete scientific Greek name for the new coral is Antipathes dendrochristos. The word for black coral is "Anti" for against, and "pathos," for disease, a reference to the fact that black coral amulets were once thought to provide protection against disease and evil spirits.

The Christmas tree coral was first noticed by the researchers during dives for surveys of rockfishes on deep rocky banks about 40 miles off the coast, west of Los Angeles.

Many of the deepwater reefs in southern California harbor remarkably healthy communities of corals, sponges, and other large invertebrates," said Love. "This may be the case because, historically, there has been relatively little trawling over reefs in our area. What we need to know is the role that these large invertebrates play as deep-water habitats for fishes and other marine life."

"What is really remarkable," said biologist Mary Yoklavich from NOAA Fisheries, "is that these spectacular large colonies have managed to go unnoticed while living in the backyard of the largest urban area on the West Coast."

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/02/050212200706.htm

###

This research was supported in part by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation; NOAA Fisheries SWFSC, Offices of Habitat Conservation and Protected Resources, National Undersea Program, and Marine Protected Area Science Institute; California Artificial Reef Enhancement Program; the National Museum of Natural History of the Smithsonian Institution; and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

NOTE: Photographs of the new species of coral may be viewed at: http://santacruz.nmfs.noaa.gov/ecology_branch/habitat_ecology/black_coral A six-minute digital video of the coral is available from Milton Love.
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PostPosted: 16-04-2005 01:42    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Scientists Find T.rex Relative in Georgia
The Associated Press

Paleontologists have identified a new dinosaur species, an early relative of Tyrannosaurus rex that probably roamed what is now the Southeastern United States about 77 million years ago.

The scientists made the identification from hundreds of fossilized fragments collected mostly in Montgomery County, Ala., and southwestern Georgia.

They named the new dinosaur Appalachiosaurus montgomeriensis, which means "the Appalachian lizard from Montgomery County." The 25-foot-long creature roamed the earth 10 million years before T. rex and was smaller and more primitive, with a narrower snout.

David R. Schwimmer of Columbus State University; Thomas Carr of Carthage College of Kenosha, Wis.; and Thomas Williamson of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science were credited with the discovery when the dinosaur's name was recognized by the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

"We've been finding teeth and odd bones from this animal for 20 years, and it's nice to finally have a name for it," Schwimmer said.

The researchers said Appalachiosaurus montgomeriensis was buried in mud at the bottom of a shallow sea about 77.8 million years ago, after currents carried it away from shore.


Online version here.


The Atlanta Journal Constitution's excellent headline for a similar story is "Bubba saurus roamed the South." Laughing
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PostPosted: 16-04-2005 02:38    Post subject: Reply with quote

Razz

Quote:


Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld immortalised as slime-mould bugs

Published on 15-Apr-2005


URL: http://www.edie.net/news/news_story.asp?id=9791

Some world leaders and international statesmen are born great. Some have greatness thrust upon them.

Others, however, will be remembered in association with making the flesh creep and the skin crawl.

US President George Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld certainly get that honour after having species of slime-mould beetle named after them.


The honour was bestowed upon them by two former Cornell University entomologists who had the job of naming 65 new species of slime-mould beetle new to science from the genus Agathidium.

However, the scientists deny that this was intended to disparage the politicians, but was meant to pay homage to them.

"We admire these leaders as fellow citizens who have the courage of their convictions and are willing to do the very difficult and unpopular work of living up to principles of freedom and democracy rather than accepting the expedient or popular," said Quentin Wheeler, a professor of entomology and plant biology at Cornell for 24 years, who named the new species with fellow scientist Kelly B. Miller.

Whether slime-mould beetles uphold such values is unclear. However, the politicians certainly weren't singled out for praise as other species were named after present and former wives of the entomologists, Darth Vader, Pocahontas, and the Greek Word for 'ugly', and the Latin word for 'strange'.

According to rules established by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, the first word of a new species is its genus, the second must end in 'i' if it's named after a person, and the final part includes the person or persons who first described the species. Thus, all the new species' names end with Miller and Wheeler.

For anyone who may want to track down one of the new slime-mould beetles: Agathidium Bushi is known from southern Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia; Agathidium Rumsfeldi is known from Oaxaca and Hidalgo in Mexico; and Agathidium Cheneyi is known from Chiapas, Mexico.

By David Hopkins

© Faversham House Group Ltd 2005

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PostPosted: 09-05-2005 19:23    Post subject: New species of fox found in Borneo Reply with quote

Story

Quote:

Scientists believe they have found a wholly new species of mammal deep in the heart of one of the richest, least studied and most endangered wildlife areas on earth.

The discovery of an apparently new kind of fox in the dense forests of central Borneo is an extremely rare event. Only a handful of new mammals have been discovered in the whole world over the past 70 years. It comes as hopes are rising that the forests - which are expected to be cut down within the next 15 years - may be saved at the last minute. The Indonesian government has recently halted logging in an important national park and has begun preparations with the governments of Malaysia and Brunei about establishing a 220,000 kmsq conservation area.

Borneo - the world's third largest island - has possibly the most diverse wildlife on the globe. By a conservative estimate, it is home to 15,000 species of plant; one 52 hectare plot alone has 1,175 different kinds of tree - a world record. Six thousand of them are found nowhere else, as are about 160 of its fish species, 30 of its birds and 25 of its mammals.

Last week WWF reported that 361 entirely new species - 260 insects, 50 plants, 30 freshwater fish, seven frogs, six lizards, five crabs, two snakes and a toad - have been discovered over the past decade, a rate of three a month. But the fox, which has come to light only after the report was written, is a far bigger find. Discoveries of mammals are extremely rare. Six were found in the 1990s in remote forests in Vietnam - a rhino, a rabbit, three deer and a primate - but they were the first since the discovery of the kouprey in the area in 1937.

But all of these are herbivores, making the finding of a carnivorous fox even more extraordinary. The animal - which was caught on an automatic infra-red camera, set up in the forest of the Kayam Menterong National Park - is foxy red all over, with no white markings, and a bushy tail. It has slightly extended back legs, suggesting that it may spend part of its time up trees.

Dr Stuart Chapman, of WWF Indonesia, says that the two pictures taken by the automatic camera had been shown to scientists and the Jakarta Natural History Museum, who believed it was a new species. Local hunters had also failed to recognise it. But no one can be certain until the finding is officially published, and possibly until an expedition is mounted to search for it.

Conservationists are increasingly anxious about the fate of Borneo, described by Charles Darwin as "one great, wild, untidy, luxuriant hothouse made by nature for herself". Illegal logging is devastating its forests; the World Bank predicts that all of them, outside protected areas, will have been cut down by 2020.

But three weeks ago the Indonesian government stopped logging in the key Betung Kerihun National Park, by closing a nearby border crossing which had been used to take the timber into Sarawak, the Malaysian part of Borneo. And it has so far stuck to its decision despite intense pressure from logging interests.
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PostPosted: 12-05-2005 04:49    Post subject: Kha-nyou Reply with quote

Source'Oddball rodent' in Laos takes scientists by surprise
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They live in the forests and limestone outcrops of Laos. With long whiskers, stubby legs and a long, furry tail, they are rodents but unlike any seen before by wildlife scientists.

They are definitely not rats or squirrels, only vaguely like a guinea pig or a chinchilla. And they often show up in Laotian outdoor markets being sold for food. There, visiting scientists came upon the animals and determined that they represented a rare find: an entire new family of wildlife.

The discovery was announced Wednesday by the Wildlife Conservation Society and described in a report in the journal Systematics and Biodiversity.

The new species in this previously unknown family is called kha-nyou (pronounced ga-nyou) by local people.

Scientists found that differences in the skull and bone structure and in the animal's DNA revealed this to be a member of a distinct family that diverged from others of the rodent order millions of years ago.

"To find something so distinct in this day and age is just extraordinary," said Robert Timmins of the Wildlife Conservation Society, one of the discoverers. "For all we know, this could be the last remaining mammal family left to be discovered."

Naturalists had trouble recalling when a new family of mammals was last identified. It may have been when, in the 1970s, a new family of bats was found in Thailand. The most active period of finding and classifying new species and families was in the 19th century, when explorers and settlers moved into remote interiors of the continents.

Timmins said in an interview that he first came on the animals laid out on market tables. Local farmers and hunters trapped or snared the animals, slaughtered them and rushed them to market. As far as he knew, Timmins said, no Western scientists have ever seen a kha-nyou alive.

The encounter occurred in the late 1990s, about the same time that another scientist, Mark Robinson, independently collected several of the carcasses as specimens. The adults have bodies about a foot long, or 30 centimeters with a tail that is not as bushy as a squirrel's. They knew immediately that this was, as Timmins said, "an oddball rodent."
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PostPosted: 13-05-2005 08:26    Post subject: Strange new rodent discovered as Asian snack Reply with quote

18:36 12 May 2005
NewScientist.com news service
John Pickrell

A weird species of rodent, totally new to science, has been discovered on sale in a southeast Asian food market. The rock rat - or kha-nyou as it is known in Laos - is unlike any rodent seen before by scientists.

“It was for sale on a table next to some vegetables,” says conservation biologist Robert Timmins, “And I knew immediately it was something I had never seen before.” People in the Khammouan region of Laos know of the species, and prepare it by roasting it on a skewer, says Timmins, of the Wildlife Conservation Society, based in New York City, US.

Timmins and his team have subsequently trapped the animal with the help of local people, but have never seen it alive either in the wild or in the market. Relatively little is yet known of how it lives or the full extent of its habitats.

The creature looks something like a cross between a large dark rat and a squirrel, but is actually more closely related to guinea pigs and chinchillas. The long-whiskered rodent has a thick, furry tail, large paws, stubby limbs and is around 40 centimetres from nose to tail. Initial evidence suggests it gives birth to a single young at a time. The discovery was reported in the journal Systematics and Biodiversity.

What makes Laonastes aenigmamus so unusual is that it is not closely related to any other rodents. The researchers behind the find have had to create a whole new family, the Laonastidae, to accommodate it.

Rare delicacy
Although new rodents are discovered by scientists at the rate of about one a year, new mammal families are much rarer, Timmins told New Scientist. The last new mammal family was created in 1974 with the discovery of the bumblebee bat. “To find something so distinct in this day and age is just extraordinary,” he says.

The species may be the primitive ancestor to a large group of mostly African and South American rodents known as the Hystricognathi. This group includes mole rats, guinea pigs, capybaras, porcupines and chinchillas. Laonastes may have diverged from these species tens of millions of years ago, Timmins says. Today its closest living relatives are found in Africa.

“The discovery is particularly interesting because it may throw new light on theories about the evolution and past distribution of Old and New World rodents,” says rodent expert and study co-author Paulina Jenkins of the Natural History Museum in London, UK.

The researchers have too little information on the population size and distribution of Laonastes to currently confirm whether or not it is an endangered species, says Jenkins. However, evidence suggests its habitat is confined to rocky limestone outcrops in and around the protected Khammouan National Biodiversity Conservation Area, and is therefore not likely to be very widespread.

Journal reference: Systematics and Biodiversity (DOI: 10.1017/S1477200004001549)
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PostPosted: 19-05-2005 21:09    Post subject: Reply with quote

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New monkey species found

Thursday, May 19, 2005 Posted: 2:02 PM EDT (1802 GMT)


WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Two separate teams of researchers working hundreds of miles apart have discovered a new species of monkey in Tanzania.

The highland mangabey is the first new species of monkey identified in 20 years and conservationists immediately said the find showed how important it was to preserve African forests.

The highland mangabey is a medium-sized monkey, about 3 feet (90 cm) tall with a long tail, long brown fur, a black face, hands and feet.

Adults make a distinctive, loud, low-pitched "honk-bark" call. They live in mountainside trees at elevations of up to 8,000 feet (2,400 meters).

Fewer than 1,000 of the animals live in the highland forest, the researchers report in Friday's issue of the journal Science. Hunters had described the animals but no scientist had identified them.


"If this small population is to be protected in perpetuity, the Udzungwa Mountains National Park needs to be extended to include the Ndundulu Forest," Trevor Jones of Tanzania's Udzungwa Mountains National Park and colleagues there and at the University of Georgia, Conservation International and Wildlife Conservation Society, wrote in their report.

"This exciting discovery demonstrates once again how little we know about our closest living relatives, the nonhuman primates," said Russell Mittermeier, chairman of the Primate Specialist Group of IUCN-The World Conservation Union's Species Survival Commission.

"A large, striking monkey in a country of considerable wildlife research over the last century has been hidden right under our noses."

The monkey, scientifically named Lophocebus kipunji, will likely be classified as a critically endangered species.

"Clearly this remarkable discovery shows that there are still wild places where humans are not the dominant species," said John Robinson, director of international conservation programs for the WCS.

"This new species of monkey should serve as a living symbol that there is hope in protecting not only wild places like Tanzania's Southern Highlands, but the wonder and mystery they contain," Robinson said in a statement.

Earlier this month U.S. bird experts announced the discovery of an ivory-billed woodpecker, a species feared extinct for decades, in a remote Arkansas bayou.

Copyright 2005 Reuters.




http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/science/05/19/new.monkey.reut/index.html
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PostPosted: 19-05-2005 21:26    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Onion, as usual, has a hilarious take:

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MANAUS, BRAZIL—An international team of scientists conducting research in the Amazon River Basin announced the discovery of a formerly unknown primate species inhabiting a remote jungle area roughly 300 miles from Manaus Monday. According to scientists in Manaus, the new species, Ateles saporis, is "an amazing biological find" and "incredibly delectable." "We couldn't be more thrilled!" German researcher Dr. Jerome Keller told reporters Tuesday. "Very few scientists are lucky enough to discover a new species, let alone a mammal with a palatability on par with a tender, juicy steak."

"This is a seriously tasty creature," Keller added.

Although the creature resembles a large kitten, as a member of the Ateles genus, it is more closely related to wooly and spider monkeys. Ateles saporis, informally known as the delicacy ape, is a tree-dwelling herbivore that can measure up to a meter from head to tail. The adult delicacy ape weighs between 35 and 40 pounds and tastes wonderful with a currant glaze.

Keller said the new species boasts a gular sac, a distinctive trait that separates it from other species in the Ateles genus.

"The gular sac is a throat pouch that can be inflated, allowing the animal to make loud calls that resonate through the treetops," Keller said. "More importantly, the pouch can be stuffed with nuts or dried fruits prior to roasting."

Biologist Jeanette Bransky, who served as the research team's chief archivist, presented a series of slides showing delicacy apes cavorting in trees, caring for their young, and sitting thinly sliced on a platter next to roasted red potatoes.

"After careful study, we have determined that Ateles saporis is a very insulated species," Bransky said. "All of their food needs are met in the treetops. They're docile, affectionate creatures with a non-competitive social structure. They often sit grooming each other for hours on end, which explains why their meat is so marbled and tender."
New, Delicious Species Discovered

This marks the first primate species discovered since the nearly inedible Arunachal macaque was found in India last year.

"In our studies of the delicacy ape, we have noted several traits, such as play activities, that are almost human," Bransky said. "However, the similarities do not run much deeper than that. Take the loin, for example. Unlike a human's, it's so savory and delicate that it can be eaten just like sashimi."

"Raw or cooked, this species is one of the greatest discoveries of the 21st century," added Bransky, licking her lips.

The team plans to research the species for another two months and then publish its findings in both the International Journal Of Primatology and Bon Appétit.

"We still need to complete an accurate population-density study," Keller said. "We assume that their habitat is limited to the Amazon and that their total number is very small. We need to gather data quickly, as the species is almost certainly facing extinction. I mean, it's that good."

Keller said the discovery of the delicacy ape underscores the importance of protecting delicate ecosystems from mass deforestation.

"The Amazon River Basin boasts the greatest biodiversity in the world, with countless potentially tasty species waiting to be discovered," Keller said. "As for the delicacy ape, I only hope there's something we can do to preserve it. Maybe we can get them to breed in captivity. Generations to come should have the opportunity to enjoy the taste of this majestic creature."
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