Thursday, 5 November 2009

It's a tenrec! And guess the skull II

The answer, as J. Velez-Juarbe correctly guessed, to the question I posed in the previous post is the tailless tenrec, Tenrec ecaudatus.

Tailless tenrec
Tenrec ecaudatus
Tenrecidae; Afrosoricida; Mammalia; Chordata
Cambridge Zoology Museum
June 2008

Tenrecs are hedgehog-like mammals exclusive to Madagascar and some nearby islands. Their closest relatives, apart from the African otter shrews, are the also African golden moles of the Chrysochloridae. They were all formerly considered members of the Insectivora (also called Lipotyphla), but are now placed within the Afrotheria group, containing such odd bedfellows as elephants, sengis (formerly elephant shrews), sirenians (manatees and dugongs), hyraxes and aardvarks. All orders of Afrotheria supposedly originated in Africa, where the majority of the members still live.

So what's this then?


Zach said...

River dolphin!

J. Velez-Juarbe said...

Oh! I know (raises hand in the air frantically)! It is one of two species of the last member of a once numerous group known as Platanistoidea. That flange of bone that is directed anteriorly is a distinctive feature. I'm going to say Platanista gangetica.