Tetrapod Zoology

Archives for August, 2010

There’s no denying that Physeter macrocephalus – the Sperm whale or Great sperm whale – is a very special, very weird mammal, and (as yet) I haven’t done it justice at Tet Zoo. That will be rectified in time, honest (I’ve been keen for years to write about the suction-feeding, and about the battering ram…

Once more, we return to those wonderful, phenomenally successful, charismatic beasts…. the toads. As you’ll know if you’ve read the previous articles in the toads series, it seems that most basal divergences within crown-Bufonidae happened in South America. So far as we can tell right now, crown-toads are ancestrally South American, and all of their…

While on holiday in Wales recently, we visited Cardiff Castle. Located within the grounds is the Victorian House, extensively transformed between the late 1860s and 1930s by William Burgess under John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute. I was quite surprised to find carved platypuses, armadillos, wombats and pangolins on some of the bookcases.

In the previous Matamata article I discussed the very scary skull and hyoid anatomy of this singular South American turtle. The ‘ugly’ look of the Matamata is well known, but hopefully you now know that the Matamata should also be famous for its large size, for its massively thick, long neck, for its pivotal historical…

Photos purported to show ‘mystery animals’ are always great fun. One of the most perplexing and curious of the lot was taken on a box Brownie camera near Goroke, western Victoria, Australia, in 1964. I’m referring, of course, to Rilla Martin’s photo of a strange, striped, running mammal. This photo has generally become known as…

I’m away right now, and haven’t had time to prepare new stuff. So, here’s something from the archives again: by which I mean, something written in 2006. It’s still pretty interesting (in my humble opinion), but I would definitely do some things differently were I to re-write it today [gliding sifaka below from Demes et…

Lest we forget, one of my aims for 2009-2010 is TO GET THROUGH ALL THE TOADS OF THE WORLD. I don’t mean every single species (because there… like, over 540 of them), but all the ‘genera’ at least. If you need any of the background to this grand/crazy scheme, be sure to check out the…

A challenge for you (albeit another easy one): what species, and what activity, do these photos represent? I’ll give you a few clues…

After I’d finished writing about the new Madagascan mongoose, I thought it only right to add material to the end of the article about some of the other new discoveries made in the world of mammalogy. But, as happens on so many occasions, this made the article over-long and in the end I decided to…

A new modern mammal for Madagascar

The fact that new, modern-day mammal species are discovered on a fairly regular basis should most definitely not be a surprise to the average Tet Zoo reader. These are not all ‘cryptic species’ distinguishable only on the basis of DNA: many are morphologically distinctive, honest-to-goodness new animals discovered either in the field or in museum…