Skip to comments.Mystery Mammal Discovered In Borneo's Forests
Posted on 12/06/2005 6:41:43 AM PST by blam
Mystery mammal discovered in Borneos forests
00:01 06 December 2005
NewScientist.com news service
The new beast, with its dark red fur and long tail, could be a new species of marten or civet, or belong to a new group entirely (Image: Stephan Wulffraat, WWF) Experts are mystified by the new creature, with some saying it looks like a civet, and others say that it resembles a lemur (Image: Wahyu Gumelar/Stephan Wulffraat, WWF)
The mammal, which is slightly larger than a domestic cat, has dark red fur and a long, bushy tail. It was snapped twice at night by a camera trap set up by researchers from the conservation group WWF.
Its general shape with a possibly pointed snout, small ears, and large powerful hind legs suggests it is a meat-eater. It has some similarities with martens or civets and could belong to these groups, or it may belong to an entirely new group, says WWF.
New species are always exciting, and new species of cuddly things are exciting, says Nick Isaac, a research fellow at the Zoological Society of London, UK.
But he warns it may be difficult to establish whether the new find genuinely represents a new species, or just a variation on a known species. My reservation is is it a range extension, or a slightly different colour morph of something we know about? he told New Scientist.
Hair or faeces We showed the photos of the animal to locals who know the wildlife of the area, but nobody had ever seen this creature before, says Stephan Wulffraat, a biologist coordinating WWFs research on the new mystery mammal. We also consulted several Bornean wildlife experts, s. Some thought it looked like a lemur, but most were convinced it was a carnivore.
He says the only way to know for certain whether the strange mammal is a new species is to capture one. The team is attempting to capture snare a live animal using cage traps.
Isaac says that catching an animal is the ideal way to establish its true identity. However, in recent years taxonomists have been able to classify some new species, for example beetles, by using their DNA. If you could get a hair from this thing or faeces then you could compare the DNA with close relatives, he suggests.
A fur trap next to the camera trap might be able to betray the creatures identity if it could snatch a hair from the root so its DNA-containing follicle could be used.
The use of camera traps has meant many new species are being discovered, says Isaac. Grids of cameras can be left on animal trails for weeks. And digital photography with good flashes means the technology has made it easier for modern scientists to make discoveries. The Victorians didnt have that luxury, he adds.
That tail is almost as long as Nessie's neck.
Amazing that our pollution-tainted world can produce more and more new species.
Wonder if we can interest anyone in species trading credits? You know, for every one that dies off if we find another one we are good to go?
I'd take this guy over the snail darter anyday.
I think it should be named the "Hildabeast".
A fur trap in conjunction with the camera BTTT
I believe that all known lemur species live on Madagascar, so it would be hard to explain a lemur being found on Borneo. On the other hand, Madagascar was first settled by people from Borneo...maybe someone made a trip back home and took some lemurs back as pets.
Now we know where "mystery meat" come from!
Hmm..does naming rights go to the person who took the photo or the one who captures/kills the creature.
Kinda makes the mouth water, donit?
Lol! Did you do that?
Al Gore found this new species years ago (just before he invented the internet)
> Did you do that?
Wish I had. The jackalope's been around for a while.
That is possible considering human nature to having pets combined with homesickness.
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