Damien1972 writes: In what will likely be considered one of the biggest zoological finds of the 21st century, scientists today announced the discovery a new species of tapir in Brazil and Colombia. The new mammal, hidden from science but known to local indigenous tribes, is actually one of the biggest animals on the continent. Described in the Journal of Mammology, the scientists have named the new tapir Tapirus kabomani after the name for "tapir" in the local Paumari language: "Arabo kabomani."
terrancem writes: Scientists have discovered a previously unknown species of carnivore in the cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador. The olinguito, which resembles a tree-climbing teddy bear with a cat's tail, is a member of a little-known, elusive group of mammals—olingos—that are related to raccoons, coatis, and kinkajous. It is the first mammal carnivore uncovered in the Western Hemisphere since the 1970s.
terrancem writes: New technology makes it possible to automatically identify species by their vocalizations. The software and hardware system, detailed in the current issue of the journal PeerJ, has been used at sites in Puerto Rico and Costa Rica to identify frogs, insects, birds, and monkeys. Many of the animals identified by the system are typically difficult to spot in their natural environment, but audio recordings of their calls reveal not only their presence but also their activity patterns.
Damien1972 writes: Nectar-feeding bats shift the shape of their tongue to slurp up sugar from flowers upon which they feed, finds a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Using histological techniques, high-speed videography, and anatomical studies, biologist Cally Harper found that the bat Glossophaga soricina relies on hair-like structures known as papillae on its tongue to extract nectar from flowers. The structures, which become erect when muscle contraction fills them with blood, increase the surface area and width of its tongue tip to create a hydraulic process that causes nectar to flow along the tongue into the bat's mouth. The mechanism is "surprisingly clever" and could inspire medical device design, according to the researchers.
terrancem writes: The Seattle-based Amazon.com has applied for its brand to be a generic top-level domain name (.amazon), but South American governments argue this would prevent the use of this internet address for environmental protection, the promotion of indigenous rights and other public interest uses. Along with dozens of other disputed claims to names including ".patagonia" and ".shangrila", the issue cuts to the heart of debates about the purpose and governance of the internet.
Damien1972 writes: Popularization of the world's strangest coffee may be imperiling a a suite of small mammals in Indonesia, according to a new study in Small Carnivore Conservation. The coffee, known as kopi luwak (kopi for coffee and luwak for the civet), is made from whole coffee beans that have passed through the gut of the animal. The coffee is apparently noted for its distinct taste, though some have argued it is little more than novelty. Now, this burgeoning kopi luwak industry is creating "civet farms," whereby civets are captured from the wild and kept in cages to eat and crap out coffee beans.
Damien1972 writes: Scientists have uncovered a rare, brilliantly-striped bat in South Sudan that has yielded new secrets after close study. Working in Bangangai Game Reserve during July of last year, biologist DeeAnn Redeer and conservationist Adrian Garsdie with Fauna & Flora International (FFI) came across an unusual bat, which has been dubbed by various media outlets as the "badger bat" and the "panda bat." The species is so distinct, it has been placed in its own genus.
terrancem writes: A new study purporting to uncover DNA evidence for Bigfoot has been published today in DeNovo Scientific Journal. While Bigfoot-enthusiasts have long argued that the cryptic monster is an unidentified ape species, the new study says their genetic evidence shows the Sasquatch is in fact a hybrid of modern human females mating with an unidentified primate species 13,000 years ago. The only problem: the journal in which the study is published—DeNovo Scientific Journal—appears to have been created recently with the sole purpose to publish this study.
Damien1972 writes: Humans are not alone in experiencing a mid-life crisis — great apes suffer the same, according to new research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A new study of over 500 great apes found that well-being patterns in primates are similar to those experience by humans. This doesn't mean that middle age apes seek out the sportiest trees or hit-on younger apes inappropriately, but rather that their well-being starts high in youth, dips in middle age, and rises again in old age.
terrancem writes: A newly discovered light-producing cockroach, Lucihormetica luckae, may have already been driven to extinction by a volcanic eruption in Ecuador. The species, only formally described by scientists this year, hasn't been spotted since the Tungurahua Volcano erupted in July 2010. The new species was notable because it represented the only known case of mimicry by bioluminescence in a land animal. Like a venomless king snake beating its tail to copy the unmistakable warning of a rattlesnake, Lucihormetica luckae's bioluminescent patterns are nearly identical to the poisonous click beetle, with which it shares (or shared) its habitat.
terrancem writes: The Kihansi Spray Toad went extinct in the wild in 2005 when its habitat in Tanzania was destroyed by a dam. However conservationists at the Bronx Zoo managed to maintain a captive population which is now large enough to allow a bold experiment to move forward: reintroducing the toad into its old habitat. To make the once tropical gorge moist again, engineers have designed an artificial misting system that should allow toads to survive in the wild. The effort marks what may be the first time conservationists have ever re-established an "extinct" species in a human-engineered ecosystem.