12 August, 2005

Friday obscure mammal blogging

Jesus, this blog has been dark lately. But rather than go kill myself out of despair, I'm going to lighten the mood with some cute animal pictures.

Observe this weirdo, the colugo. She's native to Malaysia (or thereabouts - they cover a broad range in that whole Oceania region) and is otherwise known as the flying lemur.* Colugos are arboreal and have a membranous flap of skin that allows them to glide astonishing distances between trees. Upwards of 50 meters! For some reason, this isn't considered "flight".

Taxonomically they're difficult to place. According to some mitochondrial evidence, they're actually close to higher primates, making them near relatives to humans just after the apes. However, this evidence is disputed, and other studies show that colugos should be an outgroup to primates. Meanwhile, morphological studies suggest they're related to bats. Aggravating, isn't it?

* Contrary to the name, colugos are not lemurs at all. Actual lemurs only exist in Madagascar, even though everyone in India insists on translating langur (a kind of lanky monkey there) as "lemur".


I don't understand how morphological work could trump mitochondrial genetic evidence, all else being equal. 

Posted by Saurav

I guess I'd want comparisons of other elements of the genome. But it would be great adding them to phylogenetic shadowing!

and also


So cute. 

Posted by Saheli

You think that's cute?!?!? 

Posted by Saurav

It's adorable! What's not to think cute?!

Of course I also think turtles, snakes, tarantulas, koi, preying mantises, octopi, and even kiwis are cute. But this is cute in an entirely standard furry animals with big eyes way.  

Posted by Saheli

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