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Latest Marsupial Stories

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2011-08-25 11:05:58

  A well-preserved fossil discovered in China provides new evidence that the split between placental mammals and marsupials may have occurred 35 million years earlier than previously believed, according to a new study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. The scientists, led by Carnegie Museum of Natural History paleontologist Zhe-Xi Luo, said the discovery fills an important gap in the fossil record, and helps to calibrate modern, DNA-based methods of dating evolution. The...

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2011-08-21 14:54:24

While sequencing the DNA of a member of the kangaroo family for the first time, an international team of researchers believe they have identified the gene responsible for the creature's hop, Judith Burns of BBC News reported on Friday. The project, which is detailed in the latest issue of the journal Genome Biology, centers around the tammar wallaby (Macropus eugenii), a smaller species of kangaroo located on islands off the south and west coasts of Australia. According to Burns, this...

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2011-07-06 12:55:00

Scientists said Wednesday that the fossil of a mega-wombat has been unearthed in northern Australia. The herbivorous diprotodon was the largest marsupial to ever roam the earth and lived between two million and 50,000 years ago. The diprotodon skeleton was dug up in remote Queensland last week and scientists believe it could shed valuable light on the species' demise. The ancient marsupial became extinct around the same time that indigenous tribes first appeared and debate has raged about...

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2010-12-10 10:25:48

Contrary to the recently established theory that marsupials have excellent color vision, research has shown that the wallaby is a rare exception. The research team, led by Dr Jan Hemmi from the ARC Centre of Excellence in Vision Science and The Australian National University, has shown that Tammar wallabies are much weaker in discriminating different colors because they are missing one type of visual pigment cell. "Dr Ebeling has demonstrated that wallabies do not have the complete set of...

2010-11-30 21:19:26

Long a staple of nature documentaries, the somewhat bizarre development of a grub-like pink marsupial embryo outside the mother's womb is curious in another way. Duke University researchers have found that the developmental program executed by the marsupial embryo runs in a different order than the program executed by virtually every other vertebrate animal. "The limbs are at a different place in the entire timeline," said Anna Keyte, a postdoctoral biology researcher at Duke who did this...

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2010-11-03 11:57:48

Surprising first ancestor of bizarre marsupial moles The mysterious origins of Australia's bizarre and secretive marsupial moles have been cast in a whole new and unexpected light with the first discovery in the fossil record of one of their ancestors. The find reveals a remarkable journey through time, place and lifestyle: living marsupial moles are blind, earless and live underground in the deserts of the Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia, yet their ancestors lived...

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2010-07-28 09:42:10

All current Australian marsupials can trace their ancestry back to South America, according to a new study by German researchers from the University of Munster's Institute of Experimental Pathology. "While marsupials like the Australian tammar wallaby and the South American opossum seem to be quite different, research by Maria Nilsson and colleagues at the University of Munster"¦ shows otherwise," a press release dated July 27 says. "Using sequences of a kind of 'jumping gene,' the...

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2010-02-25 06:45:00

The squirrels littering your lawn with acorns as they bound overhead will live to plague your yard longer than the ones that aerate it with their burrows, according to a University of Illinois study. Scientists know from previous studies that flying birds and bats live longer than earthbound animals of the same size. Milena Shattuck and Scott Williams, doctoral candidates in anthropology, decided to take a closer look at the relationship between habitat and lifespan in mammals, comparing...

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2009-12-23 06:05:00

A plague of kangaroos has caused thousands of dollars worth of damage after heavy rains swept through areas of Queensland forcing the marsupials to invade farmland that has been previously untouched by the majority of the kangaroo population. Queensland sheep farmer Stephen Tully told BBC that thousands of kangaroos are running rampant among his fields. The rains have brought the brown fields back to life and the lush grasses have lured the marsupials into the new fertile region. The grasses...

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2009-12-20 09:10:00

Skull fragments of prehistoric koalas from the Riversleigh rainforests of millions of year ago suggest they shared the modern koala's "lazy" lifestyle and ability to produce loud "bellowing" calls to attract mates and provide warnings about predators. However, the new findings published as the featured cover article in the current issue of The Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology suggest that the two species of koalas from the Miocene (24 to five million years ago) did not share the uniquely...


Latest Marsupial Reference Libraries

Andean White Eared Possum, Didelphis pernigra
2013-09-27 10:41:06

The Andean white-eared possum (Didelphis pernigra) is a species of marsupial that is native to South America. Its range extends from Bolivia to Venezuela through the Andes Mountains. It is thought to prefer a habitat in secondary forests and agricultural areas. There is not much known about the habits of the species, but it is thought to be in danger of crossbreeding in some areas of its range, although there are no major threats to the species as a whole. It occurs in many protected areas...

Common Brushtail Possum, Trichosurus vulpecula
2013-09-23 13:56:03

The common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula) is a species of marsupial that is classified within the Phalangeridae family. It can be found in Australia in a range that extends from northern, eastern, several eastern areas of Australia, Tasmania, and a number of islands like Barrow Island and Kangaroo Island. This species was introduced into New Zealand in 1840, where it has now become an abundant species. It prefers to reside in a variety of habitats including semiarid areas, forests,...

Plush Coated Ringtail Possum, Pseudochirops corinnae
2013-08-26 11:21:12

The plush-coated ringtail possum (Pseudochirops corinnae), also known as the golden ringtail possum, is a marsupial that can be found in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. It prefers a habitat within tropical and subtropical arid forests at elevations of up to 9,514 feet. This species is not well understood, but it has been found to be docile and approachable, and females are often seen with one young. It occurs in large numbers across it range, but it is rare to encounter. The major threat to...

Crest-tailed Mulgara, Dasycercus cristicauda
2013-08-23 11:37:56

The crest-tailed mulgara (Dasycercus cristicauda), also known as the ampurta, is a species of marsupial that is native to Australia, where it is thought to reside in a limited range between the Northern Territory and South Australia. It has been found to prefer a habitat within sandy areas that predominately hold Sandhill Canegrass. It is sometimes known as the crest-tailed marsupial mouse, due to its slight resemblance to a rat. Little is known about the habits of this species, but its...

Sulawesi Bear Cuscus, Ailurops ursinus
2013-08-21 14:19:04

The Sulawesi bear cuscus (Ailurops ursinus), also known as the Sulawesi bear phalanger, is marsupial that is classified within the Phalangeridae family. It can be found in Sulawesi, Indonesia, and neighboring islands. It prefers a habitat within tropical or subtropical arid or moist forests, at elevations of up to 1,968 feet above sea level. The Sulawesi bear cuscus is an arboreal animal, preferring to reside in the trees, and can typically be found in pairs. It is active during the day and...

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