Monday, December 12, 2005

Animal of the Week December 12, 2005 -- Cat monkey

This week's animal of the week has to be the new carnivore discovered in Borneo. With so little information available it's difficult to know what to say, it has no name, there are only two pictures of it caught by motion-triggered cameras, and for all we know may never be seen again. But how great is it that there are still things left to be discovered?

Southeast Asia is one of the hotspots of new discoveries; a more usual way to discover new species is dead in food markets, as with the Saola (a strange antelope like animal) in Vietnam and a primitive rodent related to procupines in Borneo.

This new thing, is likely to be a viverrid. Other viverrids include civets, genets, and bintourongs (AOTW 27/06/05). I also attach images of a fossa (left), a Madagascan viverrid that resembles the new one more by convergence than relation (I guess) and a linsang (right), which is spotted but lives in the same area as the new species. Fossas, Linsang, and other viverrids spend a lot of time up trees, so who knows, maybe as they cut them all down to replace them with a palm plantation they'll discover a load more new species just as they die out.


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