Monday, August 02, 2010

Newest mammal is from Madagascar

Dr. Darren Naish reports on the world's newest mammal (or, at least, the most recent one to be described). From the marshes near Madagascar's Lake Alaotra comes a mongoose christened Salanoia durrelli Durbin et al., 2010. The animal was first spotted by researchers from the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust and named for conservationist Gerald Durrell. Naish adds a good discussion of how species are delineated: the new one is very close genetically, to the existing brown-tailed mongoose, but morphological and behavioral evidence is combined with that DNA difference to make the case for a new species.

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