Vacunacionadultos

Australian scientists discover two new marsupial species of greater gliders

If you take a walk through the forests of Australia’s east coast, you might come across the greater glider — a possum-sized marsupial with big ears and a long furry tail, that glides from tree to tree.



a cat sitting on top of a small animal: The greater glider (Petauroides volans) at night in Queensland, Australia


© Auscape International Pty Ltd/Alamy
The greater glider (Petauroides volans) at night in Queensland, Australia

Until last week, the glider was classified as a single species, but a new study found that it was actually three different ones, marking the discovery of two new marsupial species.

“Australia’s biodiversity just got a lot richer,” said Professor Andrew Krockenberger of James Cook University, who was part of the research team. “It’s not every day that new mammals are confirmed, let alone two new mammals.”

Scientists have long suspected the glider might be several species, though there was never sufficient proof, he added in a news release from the university. There were hints such as differences

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These Winged Dinosaurs Hurtled Through the Trees like Haywire Hang Gliders

During a blip in time in the late Jurassic, a dinosaur that weighed no more than a chinchilla flung itself from tree to tree, spread its wings and tried to soar. In theory, it sounds beautiful — an early attempt at flight before birds figured out the blueprint.

In practice, it was chaotic.

The dinosaur, Yi qi, only barely managed to glide, stretching out and shimmying its skin-flap, downy-feathered wings in a valiant attempt at flying. “It was rocketing from tree to tree, desperately trying not to slam into something,” said Alex Dececchi, a paleontologist at Mount Marty University in South Dakota. “It wouldn’t be something pleasant.”

Unsurprisingly, Yi qi is not an ancestor of modern birds. It went extinct after just a few million years, presumably doomed by its sheer lack of competency in the air. In a study published Thursday in the journal iScience, Dr. Dececchi and other

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