01 June 2007

New critters from the Amazon

In the course of the last decade, Dutch primatologist Dr Marc van Roosmalen has identified several new species of monkeys living in Amazonia. Recently he added a new peccary to the list. And now he has a whole string of new animals, including several new monkeys, more new peccaries, new deer, a new tapir, a new dolphin and a new giant anteater. Dr van Roosmalen has his own website here, but I haven't had a chance to look at it yet. Rather, I've been looking at Darren Naish's summaries posted at Tetrapod Zoology.

Multiple new species of large, living mammal (part I) gives background information, and tells about the new dwarf tapir.
Multiple new species of large, living mammal (part II) tells about the new deer, peccaries, dolphin, manatee, small carnivores and large rodents.
Multiple new species of large, living mammal (part III) tells about several new monkeys.
And Multiple new species of large, living mammal (part IV) tells about a new arboreal giant anteater and a new big cat.

For me, of course, the cat is the most interesting part of the whole thing. Quoting from Dr Naish's part IV:
It is informally dubbed the White-throated black jaguar, but is known to local people as the onça-canguçú. The proposed common name is perhaps misleading given that the animal we are talking about is apparently a valid new species belonging to the genus Panthera, and not a member of the species we call the Jaguar P. onca. It is entirely black expect for an irregularly shaped, white bib-like marking on the throat, is reportedly larger than the jaguar, and (in contrast to melanistic jaguars) rosettes cannot be seen in its coat. Marc has collected eyewitness accounts of the onça-canguçú, and from a community of caboclo people living near the Uira-Curupá River he learnt of a case where a 9-year-old girl was killed by a pair of these cats. On another occasion, two people at Nova Olinda claimed to capture a cub (again, black and with a white throat patch) that had remained on a bank while its parents were occupied swimming across a river. The cub later died but its skull was retained.
Looking forward to reading more about this....

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