Egg-Laying Mammal Rediscovered After 60 Years

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Egg-Laying Mammal Rediscovered After 60 Years

Post by Riddick » 11-15-2023 11:47 PM

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Attenborough's long-beaked echidna has been feared extinct for over 60 years, but researchers just provided video evidence that this bizarre egg-laying mammal is still alive in Indonesia's Cyclops Mountains, known to locals as Dafonsoro or Dobonsolo.

The international team of researchers was euphoric at the sight of the small, spiked, and fuzzy mammal wobbling awkwardly across their hard-earned, grainy, black-and-white footage.

"Attenborough's long-beaked echidna has the spines of a hedgehog, the snout of an anteater, and the feet of a mole. Because of its hybrid appearance, it shares its name with a creature of Greek mythology that is half human, half serpent," explains Oxford University biologist James Kempton, in reference to the name 'echidna'.

"It appears so unlike other mammals because it is a member of the monotremes – an egg-laying group that separated from the rest of the mammal tree-of-life about 200 million years ago."

Rumors from hunters and indirect signs of the rare monotreme kept hope of its existence alive, including snout 'pokings' identified by scientists in 2007. Thanks to Kempton and his team's dedication we now have the first scientific evidence in 62 years that these unique creatures are not gone forever. At least not quite yet.

Only a handful of egg-laying mammals remain on Earth, including one species of platypus and three other species of echidna. Monotremes survived the mass extinction that took out non-avian dinosaurs, but all of Earth's most ancient surviving mammals are declining in numbers now, aside Australia's short-beaked echidna.

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