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Direct Link To This Post Topic: New Species Thread
    Posted: 28-Mar-2008 at 12:49

Brazil finds prehistoric "Sea Warrior" crocodile


Wed Mar 26, 5:08 PM EDT

A fossil of a new marine crocodile species found in Brazil shows the reptiles survived the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago, researchers said on Wednesday.

Brazilian paleontologists said the discovery of the fossil of Guarinisuchus munizi, dubbed "Sea Warrior," also engendered a new theory on the migration of prehistoric crocodiles from Africa to South and then North America.

The 62-million-year-old fossil, described in the London-based Proceedings of Royal Society B research journal, is part of the Dyrosauridae group, which replaced mosasaurs, or serpentine marine lizards, as the dominant marine predators in the Paleocene epoch.

"Based on the discovery, we know that's what happened near the Brazilian coast. Now the question is whether the same happened worldwide. We believe it did," said Alexander Kellner of the National Museum in Rio de Janeiro.

Guarinisuchus is derived from the word "warrior" in Brazil's Tupi Indian language. Munizi is a tribute to Brazilian paleontologist Geraldo da Costa Barro Muniz.

With the skull, jaw and vertebrae, the fossil is the most complete of its group found in South America.

"One of the reasons we called it a warrior is because it survived the phenomenon that made dinosaurs extinct ... And they were the dominant predators even though this one was relatively small, at 3 meters in length. But we know the size isn't always important, just take the piranha fish," Kellner told Reuters.

The fossil was found in the coastal Mina Poty area in northeastern Brazil.

(Reporting by Andrei Khalip; editing by Angus MacSwan and Philip Barbara)

(c) Reuters 2008.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31-Mar-2008 at 03:10
-Knights may find this interesting Wink.
 

This clouded leopard which feasts on monkeys, deer and pigs has been discovered living deep in the Borneo rain forest.

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Leopard

New species: The Bornean clouded leopard

Enlarge%20the%20image

Long thought to be identical to the clouded leopards living on mainland South East Asia, genetic analysis has shown that the Bornean big cat is in fact a separate species.

Scientists have counted at least 40 key differences in the DNA of the two felines - making the two species of clouded leopard almost as different as a lion is to a tiger.

Some of the differences are clear to the naked eye, with the elliptical spots or 'clouds' which give it its name, being smaller and darker on the island variety.

The Bornean clouded leopard also has darker fur than its mainland cousin.

Dr Andrew Kitchener, of National Museums Scotland, said: "The moment we started comparing the skins of the mainland clouded leopard with the leopard found on Borneo, it was clear we were comparing two different species.

"It's incredible that no one has ever noticed these differences."

The research, which forms part of the WWF's Heart of Borneo conservation project, brings the number of new species to have emerged from the island's jungles in the last year to over 50.

Plants and animals new to science include two species of tree frog and 30 types of fish, including a catfish with an adhesive belly that allows it to stick to rocks.

The scientists say the remote, and for a long time, inaccessible, forests of the world's third largest island are one of the 'final frontiers for science - a Lost World that must be preserved from threats from the logging and rubber industries.

The Heart of Borneo, an 84,000 square mile, wild, mountainous region, covered with equatorial rain forest in the centre of the island, is the last great home of the Bornean clouded leopard.

The island's most fearsome predator, the clouded leopard has the longest canine teeth of any feline, with fully-grown cats boasting fangs that are up to two-inches long.

Only the long-extinct sabre-tooth tiger had longer canine teeth for its body size.

Tails as long as their bodies allow the secretive and solitary creatures to balance in trees, where they perch to pounce on their prey.

Monkeys, barking deer and bearded pigs can be killed with a single bite, with the leopard having no fear of seeking out prey that is bigger than itself.

Such adept hunting skills put the clouded leopard, which at 35 inches from head to start of tail is about the size of a small Labrador, right at the top of the island's food chain.

Stuart Chapman, of the Heart of Borneo programme, said: "Who said a leopard can never change its spots?

"For over a hundred years, we have been looking at this animal and never realised it is unique.

"The fact that Borneo's top predator is now considered a separate species further emphasises the importance of conserving the Heart of Borneo."

It is thought there are up to 11,000 of the new species of clouded leopard, Neofelis diardi on Borneo and a further 3,000 to 7,000 on the neighbouring island of Sumatra.

It is estimated the Bornean and Sumatran populations broke away from mainland populations around 1.4 million years ago.

Some Leopard facts:

With a body that measures just over a foot, the clouded leopard is the smallest of the 'big cats'.

It is also the best tree-climber, with flexible ankle joints and keen claws allowing it to run down tree trunks head first. It can run along the underside of branches and hang by the back feet alone - freeing up their front paws to snatch at prey.

Its two-inch canine teeth are the longest of any living feline and lead to comparisons with the long-extinct sabre-tooth tiger.

Its jaws can open wider than those of any other cat and the fangs are as big as a tiger's, even although tigers are ten times bigger.

They often ambush their prey from the treetops, landing on the taget's back before delivering one fatal bite.

The young, which are born with solid spots, rather than mottled 'clouds', are weaned at five months and become independent at nine months.

The creatures, which live up to 11 years in the wild and 17 in captivity, emit calls ranging from pet cat-like purrs, to roars, growls and hisses.

Although protected by law, the clouded leopard is still hunted for its beautiful pelt and the supposed healing powers of its bones and teeth.

 
 


Edited by Darius of Parsa - 31-Mar-2008 at 03:11
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Apr-2008 at 04:22
Check this out.
 

ScienceDaily (Mar. 28, 2008) The rate at which new species are formed in a group of closely related animals decreases as the total number of different species in that group goes up, according to new research.

 
The research team believes these findings suggest that new species appear less and less as the number of species in a region approaches the maximum number that it can support.

In order for new species to thrive, they need to evolve to occupy their own niche in the ecosystem, relying on certain foods and habitats for survival that are sufficiently different from those of other closely related species.

Competition between closely related species for food and habitat becomes more intense the more species there are, and researchers believe this could be the reason for the drop-off in the appearance of new species over time.

Dr. Albert Phillimore, from Imperial College London's NERC Centre for Population Biology, lead author on the paper, explains: "The number of niches in any given region is finite, and our research supports the idea that the rate of speciation slows down as the number of niches begins to run out.

"In essence, it seems like increased competition between species could place limits on the number of species that evolve."

The new study used detailed analysis of the family trees, or phylogenies, of 45 different bird families. By examining the rate at which new species have arisen in each of these trees over a period of millions of years, scientists saw that the rate of appearance of new species seemed to be much higher in the early stages of the family tree, compared to more recent lower rates.

For example, when the researchers examined the phylogeny of tit birds they found that some 10 million years ago, species formed rapidly but this rate has slowed over time to perhaps a quarter of the initial rate.

 


Edited by Darius of Parsa - 10-Apr-2008 at 04:23
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Apr-2008 at 09:22
Thanks Darius. I believe Leo posted something about the beautiful Bornean Clouded Leopard early last year. It is an interesting find actually, because it is so phenotypically dissimilar to 'regular' (mainland) Clouded Leopards, though, they can still interbreed to produce fertile young.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Apr-2008 at 16:03
any info about the caspian tiger?
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Apr-2008 at 05:06
Do you mean are there any updates on sightings of the Caspian, or facts about the biology and ethology of the Caspian Tiger?

I can't help out with the first any more than to say it hasn't been seen in several decades. However, if it is facts you desire, I'm sure someone like 'Panther' would be more than willing to help out (I would, but I am jetting off on holiday in the morning).

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Apr-2008 at 05:23

The Caspian/Persian Tiger was used in Roman gladiatorial games. The fight was not even, the tiger became blinded when it was released into the coliseum, the sudden burst of light decided the battle.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Apr-2008 at 05:39
The Anatolian Leopard featured greatly in gladiatorial combat as well. Cicero's letter correspondence with Caelius gives some insight about the rapid decline of these Leopards. Where once, especially in Pamphylia, they were abundant, Cicero writes "there is a remarkable scarcity of panthers", to his friend Caelius in Rome, who had requested panthers for games. This is no doubt the case with other big cats like the Caspian Tiger - overuse in gladiatorial games.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Apr-2008 at 05:48

And many of the beasts died before they ever set their foot in the arena. The majority of the animal care takers did not know how much to feed the animal, what to feed it, how to keep it in captivity etc.



Edited by Darius of Parsa - 16-Apr-2008 at 05:49
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Apr-2008 at 05:51
Very true - the journey to Rome (or wherever) was long and arduous, and then as you said, not knowing about food. Also, in an attempt to make the cats as vicious and hungry as possible they would starve them, and I imagine many would be famished, and even die from the starvation before even setting foot in front of the crowds.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03-Aug-2008 at 16:20

World's smallest snake is as thin as spaghetti

Handout photo of Leptotyphlops carlae resting on US quarter

By Will Dunham, Reuters
Sun Aug 3, 9:07 AM EDT

Scientists have identified the world's smallest snake -- a reptile about 4 inches long and as thin as spaghetti that was found lurking under a rock on the Caribbean island of Barbados.

The new species, named Leptotyphlops carlae, is smaller than any of the other 3,100 previously known snake species, according to Pennsylvania State University biologist Blair Hedges, who also had helped find the world's smallest frog and lizard.

It is one of about 300 different species of threadsnake and is a dark brownish gray with two yellow stripes, Hedges said. It was determined to be a newly identified species due to genetic differences from other snakes and its unique color pattern and scales, he said.

The snake, which is not venomous, eats termites and termite larvae but little is known about its behavior, including whether it is nocturnal, Hedges said. It was found in 2006 in a forest on the eastern side of Barbados.

"It was under a rock. We got two of them," Hedges said in a phone interview. "It's about as wide as a spaghetti noodle."

The snake is about 0.2 inches (5 mm) shorter than another species from the Caribbean island of Martinique.

"When you get down that small, every millimeter counts," said Hedges, whose findings were published in the scientific journal Zootaxa on Sunday.

The biggest and smallest types of animals often are found living on islands where species over time can fill ecological niches in habitats without competition from other creatures not living in the isolated locations.

The world's longest snake is the reticulated python, which grows to 33 feet long and lives in Southeast Asia.

Snakes have lived since the time of the dinosaurs. The oldest known fossil snakes date from around 100 million years ago. The first snakes -- thought to have evolved from lizards -- actually had very small limbs.

Hedges thinks the new one may be at or near the minimum possible size for snakes. It lays a single slender egg that takes up a major part of the mother snake's body, he said.

(Editing by Julie Steenhuysen and Mohammad Zargham)

(c) Reuters 2008. All rights reserved.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30-Sep-2008 at 02:58
PARAMARIBO, Suriname - A toad with fluorescent purple markings and 12 kinds of dung beetles were among two dozen new species discovered in the remote plateaus of eastern Suriname, scientists said Monday.PARAMARIBO, Suriname - A toad with fluorescent purple markings and 12 kinds of dung beetles were among two dozen new species discovered in the remote plateaus of eastern Suriname, scientists said Monday.

The expedition was sponsored by two mining companies hoping to excavate the area for bauxite, the raw material used to make aluminum, and it was unknown how the findings would affect their plans.

Scientists discovered the species during a 2005 expedition led by the U.S.-based nonprofit Conservation International in rainforests and swamps about 80 miles (128 kilometers) southeast of Paramaribo, the capital of the South American country, organization spokesman Tom Cohen said.

The expedition was sponsored by two mining companies hoping to excavate the area for bauxite, the raw material used to make aluminum, and it was unknown how the findings would affect their plans.

Scientists discovered the species during a 2005 expedition led by the U.S.-based nonprofit Conservation International in rainforests and swamps about 80 miles (128 kilometers) southeast of Paramaribo, the capital of the South American country, organization spokesman Tom Cohen said.


PARAMARIBO, Suriname - A toad with fluorescent purple markings and 12 kinds of dung beetles were among two dozen new species discovered in the remote plateaus of eastern Suriname, scientists said Monday.

The expedition was sponsored by two mining companies hoping to excavate the area for bauxite, the raw material used to make aluminum, and it was unknown how the findings would affect their plans.

Scientists discovered the species during a 2005 expedition led by the U.S.-based nonprofit Conservation International in rainforests and swamps about 80 miles (128 kilometers) southeast of Paramaribo, the capital of the South American country, organization spokesman Tom Cohen said.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28-Dec-2008 at 11:47
I thought I'd reignite this thread with a recent discovery:

New species of dragonfly unveiled in Vietnam
11:41' 25/12/2008 (GMT+7)

VietNamNet Bridge – This species of dragonfly has been discovered on Phu Quoc Island in the southern province of Kien Giang by experts of Wildlife at Risk (WAR) and the Phu Quoc National Park. They identified just three individuals of this dragonfly species.

 

The new species of dragonfly on Phu Quoc Island (photo: WAR).

 

WAR announced the discovery today, December 25, saying that the new species of dragonfly was just discovered late this year.

 

They named this species Rhinagrion mima (Karsch, 1891). This species of dragonfly lives along streams in virgin forests. Only three individuals of Rhinagrion mima were seen along a stream in a Dipterocarpus forest in the northern area of Phu Quoc Island.

 

More surveys will be made to finalise Phu Quoc Island’s list of rare floral and faunal species.


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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Jan-2009 at 05:11
I felt it to be appropriate to sticky this topic - it is relevant and informative.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Jan-2009 at 12:23
pink iguana
Conolophus subcristatus, rosada

i became aware of this today. my first reactions was that of surprise on where they found it. Not in some deep south American jungle but rather it is another Galapagos species! I would assume those islands were well covered and researched by now...


That the pink iguanas are a unique species is interesting given their rarity, but even more surprising from the analysis of their mitochondrial DNA is how far their lineage can be traced back, said Gentile.

The researchers trace the divergence of the rosada species from other land iguanas back some five million years, to a period when some of the islands had yet to form.

As the volcano the iguanas live near is relatively young at only 350,000 years old, it means the reptiles must have existed elsewhere on the islands before, said Gentile. It also marks one of the oldest divergences ever recorded on the islands, he said.

The iguanas grow longer than a metre and up to 12 kilograms in weight. In addition to their distinct colouring, the rosada species also has flat dorsal head scales and strong differences in the pattern of its head-bobbing or nodding, a behaviour important to courtship and staking territory.

Because the pink iguana "carries a substantial evolutionary legacy," Gentile and his co-authors recommended the establishment of a conservation program to evaluate the risk of extinction to the species.

The findings were published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2009/01/05/pink-iguana.html





Rosada (above) has different colouring from most subcristatus (below)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7811875.stm

more goggled finds

www.smh.com.au/



http://news.qq.com/a/20090106/000787.htm





Edited by Leonidas - 06-Jan-2009 at 13:00
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Jan-2009 at 12:30
Hm - why the pink colour? I wonder if a significant genetic mutation to the enzyme tirosinase, which produces melanin, caused this species' divergence. This would explain their pink colouration and genetic difference from other kinds. Isolation driven divergence is a big factor also - no where is this better displayed than at the famed Galapagos.

And yes Leo, it is strange that they'd never come across it before. The archipelago has been surveyed, studied, explored.etc for a couple of centuries now...intensively!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Jan-2009 at 12:41
i like reptiles, esp lizard and iguanas are an all time favorite so i was quitye plaesed about that discovery, but the pink thing jogged my memory...

 Another pink not so nice creature, its awful, was discovered in that new species hot spot, the Greater Mekong region.



Able to shoot cyanide, this millipede is tough enough to wear pink.

First documented in 2007, the shocking pink dragon millipede--yes, that's its real name--is among more than a thousand new species found in the Greater Mekong region in the last ten years, WWF announced on December 15, 2008.

Far from a fashion statement, the animal's bright color probably warns predators of the millipede's toxicity.
—Photograph courtesy Greater Mekong Programme/WWF International
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/12/photogalleries/greater-mekong-new-species-photos/photo2.html

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Jan-2009 at 12:46
Wow that thing is certainly flamboyant. Produces and shoots cyanide? That's nasty. I wonder if it has any natural predators.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Jan-2009 at 12:54
Originally posted by Knights

Hm - why the pink colour? I wonder if a significant genetic mutation to the enzyme tirosinase, which produces melanin, caused this species' divergence. This would explain their pink colouration and genetic difference from other kinds. Isolation driven divergence is a big factor also - no where is this better displayed than at the famed Galapagos.

And yes Leo, it is strange that they'd never come across it before. The archipelago has been surveyed, studied, explored.etc for a couple of centuries now...intensively!
its an old split which makes it a little funny for the scientists now, and i thought the yellow form was on every island anyway (before man) so how and why this is different is something that has to be figured. Old legacy adaptions perhaps, changing environmental factors would also make the questions harder to answer. This thing would of been found elsewhere not just on this one young volcano.


That means the line that led to subcristatus and pallidus must have diverged from that leading to rosada long ago, with the split between subcristatus and pallidus coming much later.
my BBC link above
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06-Jan-2009 at 12:58
I'd be interested to hear if they discover rosada on any other islands in the Galapagos. Environmental (physical and chemical) factors would have complemented its isolation to encourage adaptive radiation, if they are found exclusively on the one volcano (granted, they may have existed on other islands in the past).
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