first_imgGenetic data has pointed toward a unique group of dwarf galagos living in Africa for a long time, but the physical similarity between the primates in the Galago family has confounded scientists.Using these genetic clues as a guide, a team of researchers examined the skulls and teeth of galagos and analyzed their calls.They concluded that five species previously placed in other genera should be placed in a sixth genus of the family Galagidae. They chose the name ‘Paragalago’ for the new genus. Galagos have a reputation among scientists for being one of the more mysterious primates, in large part because they’re so tough to study. Endearingly known as bush babies, they stick mostly to forest treetops, and some weigh in at less than 100 grams (3.5 ounces). They’re also creatures of the night, when their bugged-out eyes and swiveling ears lend them an advantage in tracking down their insect prey.But a recent deep dive examining the genetic relationships of galagos, as well as their physical traits and the calls they make, has uncovered the need for a new, distinct genus of the tiny primates, and with it more evidence of how little we know about animals that live in forests under threat in eastern and southern Africa.Different galago species haven’t evolved vastly distinctive physical features, probably because they rely more on other cues like sounds to pick out members of their own species rather than looks, said Luca Pozzi, an evolutionary primatologist and coauthor of a study published online on Feb. 8 by the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society.That’s made it difficult to pick out which groups share a common ancestor solely based on appearances, and it has led scientists to lump the smallest galagos into a group known as the dwarf galagos under the genus Galagoides.Map showing approximate geographic ranges of the two independent dwarf galago groups, Galagoides (red) and the eastern dwarf galagos (blue), now called Paragalago. Map courtesy of Masters et al. 2017“We couldn’t really tell them apart that much,” Pozzi said in an interview. But when they looked at the animals’ DNA on a molecular level, “we finally saw there was something weird going on.”Those genetic differences, which appeared as differences in the DNA of the mitochondria – or the bit of a cell that provides it with energy – meant that a handful of the galagos didn’t share a common ancestor with other species in the Galagoides genus.“The genetics were actually the first evidence that these guys might actually be something different,” he added.Pozzi’s colleague and coauthor of the current study, Judith Masters of the University of South Africa, led an effort to sift through hundreds of specimens at museums in the U.S. and Europe using these genetic clues as a guide. The team made a series of measurements, keeping an eye out for any physical differences to tip them off that some of the dwarf galagos belonged on a different twig on the tree of life.Like forensic scientists, they identified subtle differences, such as the shape of the skull and the arrangement of teeth, that backed up what the molecular genetic data was telling them.Further proof came from analysis of the sounds that galagos make to identify mates and alert each other of danger. These “buzzy alarms,” “mobbing yaps,” and “advertisement calls” tended to be similar among the species in the newly proposed genus and distinct from those in the original genus.That data in hand, Masters, Pozzi, and their team argue in their paper that five species of dwarf galagos belong in a new genus, which they called Paragalago. The official process to create a new genus, and thus change the scientific names of these five galagos, requires a submission to the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature, which is underway. But Pozzi said that primatologists will likely start using the new classification now that they’ve published their research.“We now know that the western part and the eastern part are different beasts,” he said. “Literally, they’re two different animals.”A Kenya coast galago (Paragalago cocos). Photo courtesy of Luca PozziThe East African Rift separates the western or “true” dwarf galagos from an eastern population comprising these five species, which inhabit a patchwork of mountain and coastal forest along the southeastern coast of Africa in Tanzania, Kenya, Mozambique and Malawi.“Those forests are in extremely bad shape” as a result of deforestation and fragmentation, Pozzi said. Based on counts from previous surveys, “we have at least two species that are not doing that well.”Galagos are not alone in the threats they face. A recent study found that 60 percent of primates face the specter of extinction.The rondo dwarf galago (Paragalago rondoensis) is currently listed as Critically Endangered by the IUCN. In 2016, the International Primatological Society unveiled its list of the 25 most endangered primates, replacing the rondo with the mountain dwarf galago (Paragalago orinus). That’s because we still have a lot to learn about it, Pozzi said.“We know that they’re staying at the top of the mountain and that’s pretty much it,” he added.In fact, scientists have found the Eastern Arc Mountains in Kenya and Tanzania, where the mountain dwarf galago lives, to be a sanctuary for all kinds of unusual and unknown life.“Every time that they go [into] these forests,” he said, “they find things that are unique,” including birds, amphibians and other mammals.For Pozzi, that points to a critical – and urgent – need to figure out what’s living in these forests and how to protect them before the habitat disappears.“Understanding the biodiversity we have out there is kind of the first step to doing good conservation,” he said.Audio Player Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Audio recording of a Zanzibar galago (Paragalago zanzibaricus) courtesy of Luca Pozzi.Correction: February 20, 2017An earlier version of this article misstated Luca Pozzi’s profession. He is an evolutionary primatologist, not an ecologist.CITATIONS:Masters, J. C., Génin, F., Couette, S., Groves, C. P., Nash, S. D., Delpero, M., & Pozzi, L. (2017). A new genus for the eastern dwarf galagos (Primates: Galagidae). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 1–13., A., Bearder, S., Honess, P. & Butynski, T.M. (2008).  Galagoides rondoensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T40652A10350268. Accessed on 19 February 2017.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Amphibians, Animals, Biodiversity, Birds, Conservation, Deforestation, Endangered Species, Environment, Forests, Habitat Degradation, Habitat Destruction, Mammals, Mountains, Primates, Rainforests, Wildlife Article published by John Cannoncenter_img Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredlast_img

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