inotternews.com

A news site about animals

World Snail Racing Championships 2014

Every year the sleepy English village of Congham in Norfolk plays host to the World Snail Racing Championships. The gastropod gala has been running for the last 25 years and sees competitors from all over the world coming to take part. There were 150 entrants in the competition this year, and the races themselves saw the snails placed on a white tablecloth where they had to travel from a central red ring to a larger one on the outside in the fastest possible time.

Riveting.

 

 

Happy Humpday (^_^)

Marmoset There’d be Genes Like These

A team of scientists from around the world led by Baylor College of Medicine in Waco, Texas, and Washington University in St. Louis. Missouri, has completed the genome sequence of the common marmoset, the first sequence of a New World Monkey, providing new information about the marmoset’s unique rapid reproductive system, physiology and growth, shedding new light on primate biology and evolution, and how they compare with humans.

Common marmoset. (Callithrix jacchus) Credit: Carmem A. Busko

The team published the work in the journal Nature Genetics. 

“We study primate genomes to get a better understanding of the biology of the species that are most closely related to humans,” said Dr. Jeffrey Rogers, associate professor in the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor and a lead author on the report. “The previous sequences of the great apes and macaques, which are very closely related to humans on the primate evolutionary tree, have provided remarkable new information about the evolutionary origins of the human genome and the processes involved.”

With the sequence of the marmoset, the team revealed for the first time the genome of a non-human primate in the New World monkeys, which represents a separate branch in the primate evolutionary tree that is more distant from humans than those whose genomes have been studied in detail before. The sequence allows researchers to broaden their ability to study the human genome and its history as revealed by comparison with other primates.

(Photo : REUTERS/Paul Hanna )

“Each new non-human primate genome adds to a deeper understanding of human biology,” said Dr. Richard Gibbs, director of the Human Genome Sequencing Center at Baylor and a principal investigator of the study.

The sequencing was conducted jointly by Baylor and Washington University and led by Dr. Kim Worley, professor in the Human Genome Sequencing Center, and Rogers at Baylor, and Drs. Richard K. Wilson, director, and Wesley Warren of The Genome Institute at Washington University, in collaboration with Dr. Suzette Tardif of The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio and the Southwest National Primate Research Center.

 

Happy Monkday :_)

 

https://www.bcm.edu/news/genome-sequencing/marmoset-sequence-primate-biology-evolution

http://phys.org/news/2014-07-marmoset-sequence-primate-biology-evolution.html

 

 

The Otters of Prospect Park

These three North American River Otter Pups, all male, were born in Brooklyn, NY, in February, and the triplets have just made their debut at Prospect Park Zoo, where they will help “educate people about the importance of keeping local waters and ecosystems in good health.”

The zoo breeds these otters as part of the Species Survival Program, and have created a naturalistic representation of their natural habitat on their Discovery Trail, where you can now go visit them.

Happy Ottersday :#)

 

http://gothamist.com/2014/07/18/river_otters.php

Hawaiian Monk Seals

I’m going to Hawaii tomorrow for a week.  The prospect of seeing a Hawaiian Monk Seal, the very rare seal only endemic to the Hawaiian Islands, is thrilling for me.  After watching this video, I feel like once I’m in Hawaii, I shall emulate them as well.

 

New African Mammal Discovered

A new mammal discovered in the remote desert of western Africa resembles a long-nosed mouse in appearance but is more closely related genetically to elephants, this according to a California scientist who helped identify the tiny creature.

“The new species of elephant shrew, given the scientific name Macroscelides micus, inhabits an ancient volcanic formation in Namibia, and sports red fur that helps it blend in with the color of its rocky surroundings,” said John Dumbacher, one of a team of biologists behind the discovery.

 

Genetic testing of the creature, which weighs up to an ounce and measures 7.5 inches in length- including its tail- revealed its DNA to be more akin to much larger pachyderms.

“It turns out this thing that looks and acts like shrews that evolved in Africa is more closely related to elephants,” said Dumbacher, a curator of birds and mammals at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

 

The findings, published in the Journal of Mammalogy, floored scientists, who said the only visible link between an African elephant and the diminutive shrew is its trunk-like nose. An elongated snout is a common feature of various shrew species, many of which look like long-nosed mice externally, though shrews are not classified as rodents.

 

Dumbacher likened the newly discovered mammal to a small antelope in its physique and sleeping habits and to a scaled-down anteater in hunting techniques and preferred prey. Like an antelope, the creature has long, spindly legs relative to its body size, and hunkers down next to bushes to sleep rather than burrowing. Like an anteater, it uses its extended nose to sweep the ground in search of ants and other insects. The desert-dwelling shrew is prone to giving birth to twins, which hit the ground running like the calves of some types of African antelope.

 

Biologists plan to return to Africa in the coming months to outfit the new mammals with miniscule radio collars to learn more about their habits, Dumbacher said.

 

Happy Bun(shrew)day (|^_^|)

 

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/27/us-usa-mammal-africa-idUSKBN0F203M20140627