Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

The flying lemur a close relative

19.06.2002


Our pedigree has been revised. Our closest relatives--gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, gibbon apes, and baboons--have been joined by an animal whose appearance hardly resembles that of humans: the Dermoptera or the flying lemur.



Flying lemurs live in Southeast Asia. The largest species can be 75 cm tall. This animal can glide between trees thanks to skin stretched between the front and back legs.

This discovery was made by a research team headed by Professor Ulfur Arnason at Lund University in Sweden. It is presented in the latest issue of the American scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


“Flying lemurs have the same ancestors as the Anthropoidea, that is, apes from the New and Old Worlds, including human beings. We are more closely related to flying lemurs that we are to half-apes,” says Professor Arnason.

In the classical division of the higher mammals (Eutheria) there are 18 orders in this class. This is based on observations of the structure of the organisms. But today scientists also examine how various species are related to each other biochemically, by analyzing and comparing their genes. In this case researchers are working with molecules of mitochondrial DNA, which has been sequenced in its entirety. Arnason and his associates have now added 11 new complete mitochondrial DNA molecules to the mammalian evolutionary tree. In total the analysis is based on comparisons of 60 species of mammals.

“What this and earlier studies have shown,” continues Professor Arnason, “is that the classic orders are not as self-evident as we previously thought. In 1994 David Irwin and I discovered that whales and even-toed hoofed animals were not separate species; instead whales evolved from a special branch of even-toed hoofed animals. This branch is represented by the hippopotamus. Thus there is a closer relation between whales and hippopotamuses than between whales and any other now extant even-toed hoofed animals.

“In the present paper we also show that the classical order of insect-eaters (Lipotyphla or Insectivora) consists of not one but three orders: hedgehogs, tanrecs, and shrews/moles. Suddenly there are 20 orders instead of 18. But we have also shown that one of these orders, namely Dermoptera or flying lemurs, belongs in the order of primates as the closest relative of Anthropoideas. This means that those 20 orders have now been reduced to 19."

Göran Frankel | alfa

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells
22.08.2017 | National University Health System

nachricht Biochemical 'fingerprints' reveal diabetes progression
22.08.2017 | Umea University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

22.08.2017 | Health and Medicine

Meter-sized single-crystal graphene growth becomes possible

22.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

Repairing damaged hearts with self-healing heart cells

22.08.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>