Sunday, May 08, 2005

New Mammal Discovered

Brian
Scientists have discovered a brand new species of fox on Borneo, marking a rare event in new animal discovery:
Last week WWF reported that 361 entirely new species - 260 insects, 50 plants, 30 freshwater fish, seven frogs, six lizards, five crabs, two snakes and a toad - have been discovered over the past decade, a rate of three a month. But the fox, which has come to light only after the report was written, is a far bigger find. Discoveries of mammals are extremely rare. Six were found in the 1990s in remote forests in Vietnam - a rhino, a rabbit, three deer and a primate - but they were the first since the discovery of the kouprey in the area in 1937.

But all of these are herbivores, making the finding of a carnivorous fox even more extraordinary. The animal - which was caught on an automatic infra-red camera, set up in the forest of the Kayam Menterong National Park - is foxy red all over, with no white markings, and a bushy tail. It has slightly extended back legs, suggesting that it may spend part of its time up trees.


Link. Unfortunately the new mammal wasn't this one:


But at least the discovery of a new mammal puts another nail in the coffin of Baron Georges Cuvier's "rash dictum": "There is little hope of discovering new species." He uttered that one in 1812, before the world knew of the pygmy chimpanzee, white rhinocerous, Kodiak bear, or mountain gorilla.

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