A Shrew On the Edge of Existence
June 2, 2010 1:13 PM Subscribe
posted by Hardcore Poser (9 comments total)
15 users marked this as a favorite
This species was around seventy-six million years ago, when dinosaurs roamed the earth and the continents were splitting. The impact of a colossal space rock wiped out the dinosaurs but did not finish them off, even though their habitat was close to 'ground zero'. They survived the super-hot "greenhouse Earth" of the Eocene, major changes in global ecosystems, and the Ice Age (take that, Scrat). They have grooved teeth which inject venom into their prey; very strong limbs which end in long sharp claws. They have only three native predators. However this 'living fossil'
called the Solenodon
could soon be wiped out by mongoose, people and wild dogs
Before humans arrived, around 120 species of land mammal occurred in the Caribbean region. Many have now gone extinct, some very recently, with possibly only 15 surviving today.
A Last Survivors
project led by the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust
(and funded by the UK's Darwin Initiative
) was launched in the Dominican Republic in October 2009:
Its goal is to conduct field research on these poorly known species to assess their status, identify their conservation needs, to develop monitoring tools and to plan their long-term conservation.
Field research continues, but some photos and video
of the Solenodon have been released along with some
(example: Their elongated snout is joined to the skull by a unique ball-and-socket joint, giving it considerable flexibility to catch hiding prey.)
The Hispaniolan solenodon is considered one of the top priority mammal species in the world for conservation by the EDGE
(Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered) of Existence conservation initiative.