Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

What’s a Mountain Cow?

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This streaming video shows you a little bit about the mountain cow .. the tapir. In this case, the Baird’s Tapir, Tapirus bairdii, the state animal of Belize, a country in Central America. This animal, which is endangered, is not a cow at all, but is related to horses and rhinoceros [1:47].

There is one mistake on this video. When a person discovers a new species they cannot name it after themselves — that’s a rule.


  1. #1 Bob O'H
    May 30, 2008

    Whilst you can’t name a species after yourself, you do get your name after the species name (unless you’re the one known only as L.). So, in his book on Trilobites, Richard Fortey explains

    Thus, an unusually attractive Ordovician trilobite from Spitsbergen (named after my wife, naturally), is correctly known as Parapilekia jacquelinae Fortey, 1980.

  2. #2 Sheryl Todd
    May 30, 2008

    Belize is actually in Central America rather than South America. Tapirs live in both places – Baird’s tapir in Central America and the lowland and mountain tapir both in South America. It’s nice to see another post on tapirs. When more people learn about them and care about them it will help in their conservation. They are endangered.


  3. #3 Chris' Wills
    May 30, 2008

    Nice to see Belize recognised :o). Many maps published by South and Central American countries pretend it doesn’t exist by not showing it or pretending it is a province of its neighbour Guatemala. This not withstanding the treaty between Guatemala and Great Britain in 1859 about Belize.

    Perhaps all those who retire there will help protect its wildlife.

    We can but hope as it is on the list of countries I wish to visit as its natural beauty and wildlife is reported to be amazing.

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