Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Newly Discovered Species

There it is!

Somali elephant shrews were thought to be extinct until someone caught a glimpse of this little fellow. It is the first sighting of a Somali elephant shrew in 50 years! This adorable creature is actually related to elephants and aardvarks. While they typically eat ants, researchers were able to attract this shrew using oatmeal, peanut butter, and marmite…yum!

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71 New Species Described in 2019

Scientists at the California Academy of Sciences described 71 new species of plants or animals in 2019. According to the Academy, these included 17 fish, 15 geckos, 8 flowering plants, 6 sea slugs, 5 arachnids, 4 eels, 3 ants, 3 skinks, 2 skates, 2 wasps, 2 mosses, 2 corals, 2 lizards, and a partridge in a pear tree. Okay, just kidding about that last one. Dr. Shannon Bennett, Chief of […]

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Gynandromorphs

Talking about having a split personality. A recent story from Live Science reported on a half male/half female chimera cardinal that was discovered in Pennsylvania (pictured below). Not only are the bird’s feathers split (red feathers are found among male and tan among female cardinals), typically the brain is also split. This type of a split sexuality is termed gynandromorph. According to the article, this  anomaly has been observed in birds, […]

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Back by popular demand: the Venezuelan poodle moth

It is hard to believe that I have been sharing my passion for comparative physiology and its application to human and animal health with you for over 7 years now! In reminiscing over the last 7 years, I thought it would be fun to look back at the most popular posts. So, here goes… The most popular blog post since 2010 featured the adorable Venezuelan poodle moth… ____ Posted August […]

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New species of giant rat discovered in Solomon Islands

A new species of giant tree rats (Uromys vika) has been confirmed in the Solomon Islands! These rats can reach over 2 pounds and an impressive 1.5 feet in length. They can even break through coconuts with their teeth. I would not want to cross paths with one of these critters. Sources: Video: YouTube TH Lavery, H Judge. A new species of giant rat (Muridae, Uromys) from Vangunu, Solomon Islands. […]

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What is that purple blob?

By now you have probably seen the video showing the discovery of a strange purple blob during an exploration off the coast of California. As a scientist what do you do when you find something new? You bring it back to the lab of course. Although it may take years to identify what it is, the researchers have speculated it might be some new species of soft-bodied mollusk. Check out […]

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