Sir David's Echidna Unextinctified

Echidna

Sir David's long-beaked echidna, one of four modern species of spiny anteaters that, along with the platypus, make up the order of monotremes, or egg-laying mammals, was thought extinct as of the middle of the twentieth century and known to science only through a single 1961 specimen (pictured at left). But now researchers from the Zoological Society of London say they may still be roaming the mountains of Papua:

On a recent visit to Papua's Cyclops Mountains, researchers uncovered burrows and tracks made by the Attenborough's long-beaked echidna.

. . . .

[I]t was widely assumed that the shoe box-sized species (Zaglossus attenboroughi) was extinct.

But while the Edge team were in the area, they spoke to local tribespeople who said that they had seen the creature as recently as 2005.

The scientists also discovered "nose pokes", holes in the ground made by the echidnas as they stuck their long noses into soil to feed.


Link - via Cryptomundo

UPDATE: Thanks go to commenter Don for pointing out that Times Online is reporting one juicy detail:

One of the villagers said that he had trapped one in a snare and eaten it in the jungle, being unaware of how rare and sought-after the echidna was. “It was delicious,” he said.

Is it just me, or does this sound suspiciously like an old urban legend, especially factoring in that quote about deliciousness? Either that or these indigenous people are just messing with the scientists.


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One of the villagers said that he had trapped one in a snare and eaten it in the jungle, being unaware of how rare and sought-after the echidna was. “It was delicious,” he said.
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