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Author: Jennifer Forman Orth

Invading your brain since 2002.

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Nature Blog Network

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Call me cynical, but am I the only one who is wondering if maybe this supposedly new mammal species in Borneo is actually a non-native introduction? I have yet to see this angle addressed in any of the articles out there, yet there is this interesting quote:

"The photos look most like a lemur," he told the BBC News website. "But there certainly shouldn't be lemurs in Borneo."
- Nick Isaac, Institute of Zoology in London

There certainly shouldn't be Burmese pythons slithering around Florida either, yet it happens. IANALE (I Am Not a Lemur Expert), but I know that people do keep them as pets, and people do let their pets escape occasionally.

P.S. - I'll be quick to post an update if it turns out I am wrong.

Update: This AP article refers to the creature as a "ferret-badger" and has an artist's rendering. I'm still skeptical.

Update 2: Interesting argument over at Cryptomundo that the critter in question is actually the rediscovery of a civet thought to be extinct. With that thought, this topic continues its slide back into the endangered species realm and away from the invasive one. But I am happy to have joined in on the speculation, if only because it has brought the ISW its unofficial new mammal expert, dbpitt (see comments below). Thanks db!


That doesn't look much like a lemur. It does, however, show a slight resemblance to a cuati, which is a carnivore. In my opinion, this is not an invasive. But the animal being nonnative could explain why such a large animal is just now being discovered. The mongoose, fox, and ferral dog and cat are all invasive large carnivorous mammals, so we know such an animal invading is possible.

By Blogger dbpitt, at 12/06/2005 01:32:00 PM  

IANALE either, but the photo I saw definitely looks like a lemur. OO~~~~~ (lemur emoticon)

By Blogger Sissy Willis, at 12/06/2005 02:58:00 PM  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger dbpitt, at 12/07/2005 11:05:00 AM  

Lemurs are primtes. No primates walk primarily on four legs on the ground. Thats not a primate, its a carnivore. In my opinion, it is probably from the family viverridae.

By Blogger dbpitt, at 12/07/2005 11:20:00 AM  

A friend who lives in Sarawak who explores the jungle frequently tells me the area where the animal was found is very remote and hardly explored. But I personally am happy be it turn out to be a new animal or dis-extincted species. But only a live or dead specimen will give concrete answers.

By Blogger budak, at 12/10/2005 10:41:00 AM  

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