Monday, August 02, 2010
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.