Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New mouse species found in the Philippines

01.06.2004


Surprising find may be new genus



A team of American and Filipino biologists has discovered a new species –or perhaps a new genus – of mouse in the Philippines that took them quite by surprise.

The tiny mouse was captured on Mount Banahaw, a national park in the south-central portion of Luzon Island, only about 50 miles from Manila.


The bright-orange animal has a large head, heavily muscled jaws and powerful teeth that can open hard nuts. It weighs about 15 grams, and has a body length of 3 inches and a tail of four inches. The mammal’s whiskers are about eight times as wide as its head, and there is a second set of "whiskers" that arise from a patch at the back edge of each eye.

"Nearly all of the many unique small mammals on Luzon Island are descended from just two species that reached the Philippines from the Asian mainland about 10-15 million years ago," said Lawrence Heaney, Curator of mammals at The Field Museum in Chicago and co-leader of the team.

Heaney has been studying biological diversity in the Philippines for over 20 years, and describes the Philippines as having biological diversity equal to "the Galapagos Islands times 10, with one of the highest concentrations of unique mammals of any place in the world."

Eric Rickart, Curator of vertebrates in the Utah Museum of Natural History, said it was "not related to any of the other rodents" found in the northern Philippines.

The new species was found by a joint team from The Field Museum, the Philippine National Museum, Utah Museum of Natural History, and Laksambuhay Conservation in the Philippines. The team was scouting the mountain, considered a holy site by some Filipino sects, for unusual small mammal species.

According to Danilo Balete, a biologist in the Philippines and co-leader of the team, they captured the tiny mouse several yards above the forest floor on top of a tangle of large vines in an area of regenerating lowland forest. Logging had previously damaged the area, but Balete said, "The local farmers organization has insisted on replanting native trees and allowing the forest to regenerate as a means of protecting their watershed." The farmers depend on rice and vegetables that they grow for their livelihood.

Only about 3% of the original mature lowland rain forest in the Philippines remains today, and it had been feared that many species had been lost even before they were discovered. The Philippines is often listed as one of the highest global priorities for conservation.

"Finding this wonderful new species in lowland forests gives us greater hope for successful conservation of biological diversity in the Philippines, and is due to the hard work and energetic defense of the forest by the local farmers," Heaney said. "Given that second growth forest is widespread, this species may eventually prove to be pretty common."

Heaney and Rickart said the animal is not related to any of the other rodents known on the main Philippines island of Luzon and they are not clear yet as to what genus the mammal belongs. It may represent a new genus, the taxonomic level above species. The single specimen, which will become the type specimen of the new species, will be studied in Chicago, and then returned to the Philippine National Museum.

Philippine Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Elisea Gozun hailed what she described as an "excellent" find, which further proves the vast biological diversity of the country. "The diversified presence of our flora and fauna is beneficial to the country’s economic and social development," she said.

Greg Borzo | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.fieldmuseum.org/

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

DGIST develops 20 times faster biosensor

24.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Nanoimprinted hyperlens array: Paving the way for practical super-resolution imaging

24.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Atomic-level motion may drive bacteria's ability to evade immune system defenses

24.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>