3-million-year-old animal species discovered in eastern Turkey

It gives a whole new meaning to “going under”.

Just when you thought you’d seen it all, scientists in eastern Turkey have identified new creatures that may have lived there for three million years.

Two new species of mole, Talpa hakkariensis and Talpa davidiana tatvanensis, live in the mountains of eastern Turkey in Bitlis.

Scientists say the new moles can survive in temperatures as high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer and less than six feet of snow in the winter. The discovery is particularly exciting because it is rare to find new species of mammals.

The study, published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society in July was conducted by researchers from Ondokuz Mayıs University in Turkey, Indiana University and the University of Plymouth, England.

“It’s very rare these days to find new species of mammals,” said lead author David Bilton, professor of aquatic biology at the University of Plymouth. “Only about 6,500 species of mammals have been identified worldwide, and by comparison about 400,000 species of beetles are known, of which there are an estimated 1 to 2 million on Earth.”

A mole in the dirt.
The moles may have lived in the Turkish mountains for 3 million years.
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Mole emerging from a molehill.
Scientists said it’s rare to find new species of mammals.
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

mountains in Turkey.
Hakkari, where the Talpa hakkariensis was found
Getty Images/iStockphoto

“On the surface, the new moles we identified in this study appear to resemble other species, as living underground imposes significant limitations on body size and shape evolution – there are really only a limited number of options.” for moles,” Bilton noted.

After discovering the moles, researchers used “state-of-the-art DNA technology” to compare their DNA to that of other moles and found that the Turkish creatures are biologically distinct.

The study’s authors say the new moles are “subterranean invertebrate mammals” found throughout Europe and western Asia. They said the discovery shows that mammalian diversity can be misunderstood.

“Our study shows how, under such circumstances, we can underestimate the true nature of biodiversity,” Bilton said, “even in groups like mammals, where most people would assume we know all the species we share the planet with.” “

Caroline Bleakley

Caroline Bleakley is a USTimeToday U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Caroline Bleakley joined USTimeToday in 2022 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with Caroline Bleakley by emailing carolinebleakley@ustimetoday.com.

Related Articles

Back to top button