This newly discovered species has been hiding for 3 million years

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Scientists have discovered two new types of moles that may have been hiding in the mountains of eastern Turkey for up to three million years.

These new subterranean mammals are named Talpa hakkariensis and Talpa davidiana tatvanensis.

They were found in the Hakkari region and the Bitlis area of southeastern Turkey, respectively.

Unique Discoveries

These new moles are unique in their appearance and DNA.

Talpa hakkariensis is a brand-new species, while Talpa davidiana tatvanensis is a newly identified subspecies of Talpa davidiana, first discovered in 1884.

The researchers used DNA analysis to confirm that these moles are different from other known species.

On the surface, these moles look similar to other mole species, as living underground can constrain the evolution of their shape and size.

However, the detailed genetic and morphological analyses revealed their distinctiveness.

Surviving Extreme Conditions

Both types of moles live in mountainous regions with extreme weather conditions.

In winter, they endure over six feet of snow, and in summer, temperatures soar above 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

These moles have adapted to survive these harsh conditions, thriving underground where they feed on invertebrates.

Their ability to survive such extreme temperatures showcases their remarkable adaptability.

Rare Mammal Discoveries

Finding new mammal species is rare.

Currently, only around 6,500 mammal species are known worldwide, compared to approximately 400,000 known species of beetles.

This rarity makes the discovery of these moles particularly exciting for scientists.

It underscores how much more there is to learn about Earth’s biodiversity and the hidden species that may still be undiscovered.

Importance of Biodiversity

This study reveals the importance of understanding and preserving biodiversity.

With the discovery of these new moles, scientists have now identified 18 different types of Eurasian moles, each with unique genetic and physical traits.

The research involved studying specimens collected during the 19th century and comparing them with modern DNA samples to confirm their uniqueness.

The detailed examination of the size and shape of various bodily structures helped in distinguishing these new species.

Conservation Implications

David Bilton, a biologist from the University of Plymouth and co-author of the study, emphasized the significance of these findings.

He stated that knowing about these species is crucial for conservation efforts.

As scientists continue to explore these regions, they expect to find even more undiscovered species.

Bilton highlighted that understanding what species exist is the first step in protecting them.

This discovery is a reminder of the hidden pockets of biodiversity that exist around the world and the importance of protecting these unique species and their habitats for future generations.

Through this study, scientists have established a hidden pocket of biodiversity, gaining more knowledge about the species living within it.

This knowledge will be critical for conservation experts and society as a whole when considering how best to manage and protect this part of the planet.


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