Wild Things: Life as We Know It
Drought crises, Florida panthers, humpback whales and more...
- By T. A. Frail, Jesse Rhodes, Jessica Righthand, Brandon Springer and Sarah Zielinski
- Smithsonian magazine, December 2010
(Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust)
A mongoose-like creature in Madagascar is the first new member of the carnivore order to be discovered in 24 years. Durrell's vontsira (Salanoia durrelli) is a marsh dweller, with large paws for paddling and mighty teeth for crunching shellfish. "It's almost like a ferret becoming an otter," says John Fa, a scientist with the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, which reported the find. Alas, the creature may not be long for this world: much of its wetland habitat has been drained to grow rice.
"Investigations into the status of a new taxon of Salanoia (Mammalia: Carnivora: Eupleridae) from the marshes of Lac Alaotra, Madagascar," Joanna Durbin et al., Systematics and Biodiversity, September 15, 2010
"Recent decline in the global land evapotranspiration trend due to limited moisture supply," Martin Jung et al., Nature, October 10, 2010
"A quarter of a world away: female humpback whale moves 10,000 km between breeding areas," Peter T. Stevick et al., Biology Letters, October 13, 2010
"Ritualized fighting and biological armor: the impact mechanics of the mantis shrimp's telson," J. R. A. Taylor and S. N. Patek, Journal of Exerimental Biology, October 1, 2010
"Genetic Restoration of the Florida Panther," Warren E. Johnson et al., Science, September 24, 2010