The Jamaican Iguana has a dramatic boom-and-bust history. Described as abundant by renowned 17th century Irish aristocrat-cum-naturalist Sir Hans Sloane, only 250 years later it would be all but gone. Endemic to Jamaica, it was declared extinct in 1948, having not been seen alive for eight years. The introduction of the small Indian mongoose was […]
Stumbling Upon an “Extinct” Rodent on the Edge
A rat may not sound like an animal worth caring about. But, the San Quentin kangaroo rat (Dipodomys gravipes) is not your ordinary rodent. Kangaroo rats get around by jumping on their two hind legs like miniature, pouch-less kangaroos. One of the 22 species of kangaroo rat, the San Quentin kangaroo rat exists only in […]
The Cuban Solenodon: Is it a goat; is it a bird… no it’s a dinosaur rat!
If I told you that I knew an animal that smelled like a goat, chirped like a bird, kills with its saliva and runs on its tip-toes, you wouldn’t believe me- right? So there’s not a lot of point in my writing this, given that you believe my subject to be completely imaginary. Okay, now […]
From saddle cover to media sensation: the story of the yellow-tailed woolly monkey
During his famous 5 year-long expedition to Latin America (1799-1804), Alexander von Humboldt collected, together with his naturalist partner, Aimé Bonpland, around 60,000 plant specimens and an unknown number of animal specimens that we can safely assume to be in the thousands. Some of these specimens were being shown and described to the scientific world […]