June 16, 2011

day forty-five - attenborough's long-beaked echidna

that's right. attenborough invented an animal.

© jem barratt

not really, but he sure got his name in one. (huh?)

there are so many interesting things to learn about this guy. go here to learn proper, but in the meantime here are some highlights: myrmecophagous, reddish-brown, terrestrial, montane.

but really. they are known from only one specimen and were thought to be extinct until signs of the echidna were found by EDGE (a conservation initiative aiming to get evolutionarily distinct threatened species on our maps so we can save them already). that's some AMAZING survival!

more quick facts:
- one of only five surviving monotreme species
- spiky tongues
- considered a delicacy
- sad-looking (in my picture at least)

their dire circumstance reminds me of adelaide's own pygmy blue tongue lizard, which were thought to be extinct for 40 years until one was discovered in the stomach of a dead snake. COMEBACK KID!

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