Philippine Island Has World’s Greatest Number Of Unique Mammal Species

Posted: Jul 18 2016, 11:29am CDT | by , in News | Latest Science News


Philippine Island Has World’s Greatest Number of Unique Mammal Species
(L) Colored pencil illustration of cloud rats, some of the mammals found only on Luzon. Credit: Velizar Simeonovski, The Field Museum. / (R) A tree-dwelling mouse, which has whiskers that reach all the way to its ankles, is one of the 28 new species unique to Luzon discovered by Larry Heaney and his team in the course of this study. Credit: Larry Heaney, The Field Museum
  • The Philippine Island of Luzon is a Big Mammalian Hub

Scientists say that the Philippine island of Luzon is a big mammalian hub. Some of the most diverse of mammals live on the island.

The Philippine island of Luzon is a cornucopia of mammalian species. Some of them are pretty unique too. A Filipino-American team went in search of the species and they found them to be concentrated on the island of Luzon. Covering a time period of a decade and a half, the research effort bore fruit in the end. 

56 species of non-flying mammals live on the island. 52 of these species cannot be found anywhere else. 28 of these species were actually discovered during the time span of the project. 19 species have been labeled. Nine are still in the process of being labeled.

The whole project got off the ground in the year 2000. It was based on a quest by the scientists to find out why the animals were unique to the island alone. It was a surplus surprise when the team managed to discover several new species in the process of looking for the animals. 

Luzon is the biggest island of the Philippines. It covers an area that is 40,000 square miles in its dimensions. That makes it slightly larger than the state of Indiana.

Since Luzon never was linked to any land mass, the species found on it are truly one of a kind. This is the same as is the case of Hawaii. However, Luzon is a much bigger island than the small pieces of land surrounded by water that form the Hawaiian Islands.

This large area served as an ideal junction for a variety of species to dwell and flourish. It is on such islands that most researchers find evolution working in a fast-forward manner. 

These animals on the island of Luzon were separated from the rest of the world and bred without any insecurity or danger of predators. They also had no competition so life was a bed of roses for most of them.

Thus they quickly diversified into new species thanks to a little prodding from the magic hand of evolution. Luzon also has a large number of mountains. The animals got used to this setup too. The biodiversity is extremely rich on Luzon and it is a biologist’s dream come true.

The island has 57 species of bats alone. The only present-day concern is that large portions of Luzon are being subjected to the devastating effects of deforestation. This spells trouble for these rare and unique species.  

The findings of this research got published in the scientific journal Frontiers of Biogeography.

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<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/20" rel="author">Sumayah Aamir</a>
Sumayah Aamir (Google+) has deep experience in analyzing the latest trends.




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