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Posts Tagged "mammalogy"

Symbiartic

Now That’s a Wee Little Infographic

shrews_J_Christiansen_mini

  53 million years old, and it may be the smallest mammal that has ever lived. Batodonoides vanhouteni was a shrew-like mammal that scientific illustrator Jen Christiansen has deftly described in this illustration. In addition to being an illustrator, Christiansen is also Scientific American’s art editor of information graphics. Composing an illustration with only a few, [...]

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Symbiartic

I Want A Carl Buell Coffee Table Book

Carl_Buell_Mammoth_mini

A while back an illustrator I consider a friend and mentor sent me an amazing birthday gift: It’s a mammoth by Carl Buell. Buell, you’ll likely already know, is the greatest living painter of extinct mammalian fauna today. Because I’m a terrible indoor photographer, let’s look at it the way it was intended. I met [...]

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Symbiartic

Road Kill So Perty You Can Bring It Home To Ma

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Most people swerve around road kill in hopes of avoiding the gore, or worse, the dreaded thwump that indicates you added your treadmarks to the list of said road kill’s insults. But a few crazy people will screech to a halt to see what got hit. Two of these folks just happen to be researchers, [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

World Tapir Day, 2015

Just some of the many toy Malayan tapirs I own. The models at the top are old Britiains models. The knitted tapir below is by the wonderful Sasha Kopf, aka or Tapir Girl.

I’ve just learnt (thanks, Marko Bosscher) that today (April 27th) is World Tapir Day, an annual event in which the world unites in celebration of our plucky, trunk-nosed perissodactyl pals and in which we aim to enhance awareness of tapir conservation through the raising of funds and sale of tapir-themed merchandise. Check out the World [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

The Turcana and Other Valachians

A Turkana sheep encountered in the field at Pui, Transylvania. This sheep is not three-legged - it's just a quirk of composition. Photo by Darren Naish.

I’m about as interested in domestic animals as I am in non-domesticated ones. Sheep of various kinds have been discussed on Tet Zoo a few times, and right now I want to say a few brief things about a breed I recently saw on several occasions in Romania – the Turcana or Tsurcana, a highly [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

You Never Hear Much About Shrew-Opossums

Caenolestes fuliginosus, image by Joseph Wolf, in the public domain.

You never really hear much about shrew-opossums or rat-opossums, the small group of living, South American marsupials properly called caenolestids or caenolestoids. Small (c 20-30 cm long in total), long-tailed, mostly dark brown, and predominantly faunivorous and nocturnal, they inhabit the grasslands and forests of the western side of the Andes. They’re said to be [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Meet the Scaly-Tail Gliders

Lesser anomalure (Anomalurus pusillus), a small member of the group (c 45 cm long in total) from equatorial Africa. Painting by Joseph Smit, in public domain.

Among the weirdest and most fascinating of rodents are the scalytails/scaly-tails, scaly-tailed squirrels or anomalures, properly termed Anomaluridae. For those of you that don’t know, this is a small group of exclusively* African, mostly gliding herbivores that have a weird method of supporting their gliding membranes. Only three or four extant anomalure genera are recognised. Idiurus [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Spots, Stripes and Spreading Hooves in the Horses of the Ice Age

Life appearance of Pleistocene horses of at least some populations of western Europe: reconstructed based predominanlty on Ekain horses from Spain. Image by Darren Naish.

During the upper Palaeolithic (that is, between 40,000 and 10,000 years ago), prehistoric people in Europe and Asia (and elsewhere) depicted the animals they saw in thousands of piece of cave art. They drew, sculpted and painted rhinos, mammoths, giant deer and lions, but they also produced illustrations of less exotic beasts, like owls, mustelids [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Confrontational behaviour and bipedality in deer

Harangued moose turns to face human aggressors and make them regret their pursuit. Photo by Janis Powell.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: one of the most familiar and frequently encountered of mammal groups (at least, to those of us in Eurasia and parts of the Americas) – DEER – are weird and fascinating when you get to know them. The whole antler thing is bizarre, but the behavioural [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

South America’s very many remarkable deer

Fine specimen of South Andean huemul. Photo by Ricardo Hevia Kaluf, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Deer are strongly associated with Eurasia and North America and less so with the other regions of the world. In this brief article – part of which is an excerpt from my 2013 article on the conservation status of South American mammals (Naish 2013) – I’m going to say a few things about the deer [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Cricetomyines: the African pouched rats and mice

Beautiful rendition of Cricetomys gambianus by Willems van der Merwe, used with permission.

Sometimes, I pick up Volume II of Walker’s Mammals of the World, go to page 1400 or 1500 or thereabouts and look at all the obscure Old World rats and mice. You might have done the same thing. If you have, you might have been left with the same general feeling as me: of being [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Conservation concern for South America’s remarkable endemic dogs

Bush dog pair; photo by Attis, CC BY-SA 3.0

Last year the Grzimek’s Animal Life Encyclopedia volume titled Extinct Life appeared in print. I was asked to cover South American mammals, perhaps because they wanted me to write about borhyaenoids, toxodonts, litopterns, astrapotheres and so on (some of which have been covered on Tet Zoo in the past – I really need to get back [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

A brief history of muskrats

Nice picture of muskrat eating. Photo by Linda Tanner, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Earlier in the year I made a promise that I’d get through more rodents here at Tet Zoo. Rodents, you see, divide people like no other group of tetrapods. Some hate them, others love them, and while they’ve classically been regarded as bread-and-butter staples of discussions about tetrapod evolution and diversity, others bemoan their sameyness [...]

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