Somehow, Australia managed to get yet another adorable creature. Actually, 2 of them!
Up until last week, it was assumed that there was only one species of the great glider - a possum-sized marsupial. But, as the
Sydney Morning Herald reports, "there are actually three species of greater glider, not one," explaining that the marsupials are "squeezing into tree hollows during the day and at night soaring up to 100 metres through the air on the hunt for its favourite eucalyptus leaves." And yes, Australia did indeed just get cuter.
Professor Andrew Krockenberger of James Cook University, one of the authors of the study that found the new species, says: "Australia's biodiversity just got a lot richer. It's not every day that new mammals are confirmed, let alone two new mammals." Not much is known about the species yet, of course, other than them being insanely cute, but what's new?
The three species of the greater gliders vary in size, with "[t]he southern species, which inhabits the eastern eucalypt forests of Victoria and NSW, is the heavyweight of the family." "The northern glider is about the size of the little ringtail possum and lives in the eucalypt forests between Mackay and Cairns in Queensland," and "[t]he central glider, which is sized between the northern and southern species, inhabits a range across southern Queensland and up to Mackay."
At first, it was assumed that the three gliders were of the same species, but, as Denise McGregor, a James Cook University PhD candidate, says: "Now we have proof from the DNA, it changes the whole way we think about them." It's not all wonderful news though, since, now that the already in danger species of the greater glider has been divided into three, concerns are raised about their conservation.
Still, despite the concerns, we are always happy to hear about new animals being discovered, and we trust the amazing scientific community in Australia to do everything that they can to help these creatures. I mean, Australians have already saved the devil, some gliders sound a bit easier to handle.
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