After a decade of documenting and observing shrews on the Indonesian island of Celebes, the scientists published their findings. They selected 14 new species. This is the largest new discovery of mammals reported in a single scientific paper since 1931.
Scientists from Louisiana State University have discovered and described 14 new endemic species of mammals belonging to the genus Toothache (Crocidure), shrew families (Soricidae). Using genetic and morphological data collected from 1,368 individuals, the team was able to identify 21 species of shrew on Celebes Island, including the new species.
Based on the available data, the species diversity of Celebes shrews is three times higher than on any other island in the region. This indicates that previous estimates, which were mostly based on museum samples, were far from the truth.
“It’s an exciting discovery, but one that has been frustrating at times,” said Jake Esselstein, a zoologist at Louisiana State University. Usually, we discover one new species at a time and that’s a huge emotion. But in this case it was confusing because in the first few years we couldn’t tell how many of these species were out there.
Diversity of species on the island of Celebes
Shrews are found almost all over the world, with the exception of Australia and Antarctica. Some of them are poisonous and hunt, for example, scorpions and snakes. Belonging to the family of shrews, the dentate lives in Africa and Eurasia, and the Indonesian island is the easternmost point of its occurrence. Celebes is an island with a diverse plant composition. This makes it an endemic species.
New species discovered by scientists include: Crocidura microelongataAnd C. quasielongataAnd C. Pseudomembranous inflammationAnd C. australis, C. pallida C. BalletAnd average C.And C. smallAnd C. tenebrosaAnd C. brevicaudaAnd C. caudicrassaAnd C. normalAnd Normal And C. Usual.
According to the researchers, improving the quality of cataloging species around the world requires a “tremendous social effort”, and tropical and remote regions such as Celebes are particularly difficult to study.
From mapping animal evolution to understanding animal community development, understanding the differences between species and knowing the number of species is essential to the rigor of other scientific research. “Taxonomy is the basis of a lot of biological research and conservation,” Esselstein said. “When we don’t know how many species there are and where they live, our ability to understand and protect life is very limited,” she added.
It is very important to document and name this variety. She noted that if we can discover many new species in relatively well-known groups such as mammals, imagine what diversity is undocumented in the less obvious organisms.
Main image source: Lauren Nassef
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