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Nature & Environment

New species of tapir discovered

By T.K. Randall
December 19, 2013 · Comment icon 9 comments



There are now five known species of tapir. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Matej Ba'ha
Scientists have identified a new species of endangered dwarf tapir living in the Amazon rainforest.
Despite extensive studies and expeditions the vast expanses of the Amazon rainforest continue to throw up surprises. The latest is a new species of tapir, a large quadrupedal mammal that would seem impossible to have remained hidden for so long, especially given its size.

These animals are believed to have been hunted by the tribal peoples of the Amazon for thousands of years, but up until now scientists had believed that what they were hunting was the Brazilian tapir, an already well known species.
It wasn't until paleontologist Mario Cozzuol first came across some unusual tapir skulls ten years ago that researchers started to search for evidence of a distinct species native to the region. Eventually they discovered that the hunters had been pursuing a genuine new species of tapir, one that was smaller than its Brazilian cousins and had darker hair.

Tapirs are a species that have remained relatively unchanged in more than 50 million years, but sadly due to habitat destruction and hunting their numbers are fading fast and all five known species could be at risk of disappearing entirely over the next few decades.

Source: Discover Magazine | Comments (9)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by YukiEsmaElite0 9 years ago
We could train tapirs like dogs and keep them as pets. They wouldn't go extinct then. They aren't violent are they?
Comment icon #2 Posted by paperdyer 9 years ago
We can form the ATC, the tapir version of the AKC. Sounds like a great money-maker. Sell the tapirs to the rich and PETA as "this years's hot must have item".
Comment icon #3 Posted by RedSquirrel 9 years ago
I do hope there is a chance for the tapir, all kinds. I think they are amazing. Now, for something we hope you really like, try " " *Caution, silly and adult language*
Comment icon #4 Posted by Xynoplas 9 years ago
Don't get your knickers in a knot here, mates. Every once in a while, we have been seeing new species "discovered" in remote areas. The truth is that these are not usually new discoveries at all. Your basic zoology or ecology undergrad has got to write his thesis on something. They go someplace remote and they start studying animal species until they find some variation that they might be able to identify as a distinct species. Great, they write their paper, they get their PhD, and go on to teach science in a junior college somewhere. In most cases, these "new species" have been running around... [More]
Comment icon #5 Posted by Xynoplas 9 years ago
http://doubtfulnews.com/2013/12/new-tapir-found-in-south-america-largest-new-animal-named-so-far-this-century/ Now, Bigfoot and cryptozoology sites are heralding this new animal as a triumph. Iím going to call out their baseless argument. The finding of this tapir is not cryptozoology and like the olinguito, does NOT provide them with any more hope for cryptids to be found. Why? Well, letís compare. Bigfoot vs tapir. We already know there are tapirs. This is just a variation Ė an important one but not an animal that people are going to make mystery shows about.
Comment icon #6 Posted by The New Richard Nixon 9 years ago
Don't get your knickers in a knot here, mates. Every once in a while, we have been seeing new species "discovered" in remote areas. The truth is that these are not usually new discoveries at all. Your basic zoology or ecology undergrad has got to write his thesis on something. They go someplace remote and they start studying animal species until they find some variation that they might be able to identify as a distinct species. Great, they write their paper, they get their PhD, and go on to teach science in a junior college somewhere. In most cases, these "new species" have been running around... [More]
Comment icon #7 Posted by Xynoplas 9 years ago
You need a sample size of at least 30 to make this statistically significant.
Comment icon #8 Posted by The New Richard Nixon 9 years ago
You need a sample size of at least 30 to make this statistically significant. I know, but for arguments sake
Comment icon #9 Posted by Artaxerxes 9 years ago
Tapirs closest living relatives are horses and rhinoceroses. They evolved from a common ancestor with horses. They are members of the Perissodactyla or odd toed ungulates. They are hind gut fermenters.


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