Thursday, December 26, 2013

Not new to the natives

While it is fairly common to find new species of frogs, finding a new mammal is a comparatively rare event. Which is why the discovery of a new variety of tapir – at 4' (1.2 m) in length and 243 lb. (110 kg) in weight – has made headlines. The animal (Tapirus kaboman) lives in the Amazon rain forest and was identified by an international team of scientists led by Brazilian zoologist Mario Cozzuol. The "new" tapir is smaller than the other species, a distinction noted by American president Theodore Roosevelt when he killed one in 1912 and sent it back to the U.S. for study. Nor is the tapir (LINK TO A SLIGHTLY RISQUÉ VIDEO HERE) unknown to the human residents of the rain forest. As Cozzuol points out, Local peoples have long recognized our new species, suggesting a key role for traditional knowledge in understanding the biodiversity of the region.”

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