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Saturday, December 21, 2013

New species of Tapirs were found in the Amazon

The new species of tapirs discovered in the Amazon. This finding is the most special discovery of animal taxonomy in the 21st century. Called special because it is the first tapir species discovered since 1865. This species is also a mammal of Perissodactyla group (consisting of tapirs, rhinoceroses, and horses) was the first discovered in the last 100 years as well as the largest mammal found the last 10 years.

The new species of tapir was given named Tapirus kabomani. This species was previously considered the same as Brazilian tapirs (Tapirus terrestris). Dwarf tapir expressed differently due to factors including its size. Brazilian tapir weight reached 320 kg while the dwarf tapir only 110 kg. Meanwhile, the legs of dwarf tapir are also shorter.
Scientists have uncovered a new tapir in Brazil. (Picture from: http://www.theguardian.com/)
Mario Cozzuol, a paleontologist who led the study said, that the actual differences between the Brazilian tapir and dwarf tapirs have been known by the Karitiana indigenous people in the Amazon. "However, scientists have never noticed. They do not give value to indigenous knowledge, and assume they are wrong," said Cozzuol as quoted in The Guardian, on Tuesday, December 17, 2013.

In the fact, Karitiana community is already familiar with the tapirs. T. kabomani regularly hunted by the community. Cozzuol first became aware of the novelty of the tapirs, when observing the skull 10 years ago. He then took a DNA sample taken from specimens of indigenous peoples and observe its morphology. Morphological and genetic analysis were then confirmed the novelty of this type.

Tapirs were exist on Earth since 50 million years ago during the Eocene and has not changed much, so often called as the living fossils. Tapir first appeared in North America and then migrated to Asia, South America, and Europe. In the past, there are more species of tapir that existed on Earth before extinction and and today, five species remain: four are found in Central and South America (the Brazilian tapir, mountain tapir, Baird's tapir, and the new Kabomani) while one species survives in Asia (the Malayan tapir).

The results of genetic analysis showed that the dwarf tapir apart from Brazilian tapirs around 300,000 years ago. Scientists estimate there are still new tapirs are still classed together with the Brazilian tapir. But, in the midst of a new species may be found, tapirs are facing severe challenges because its habitat is declining due to exploitation by humans. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | THE GUARDIAN]
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