Friday, July 22, 2016

Lots Of Mammals Call The Philippines Island Of Luzon Home


Long-Whiskered Tree Mouse is found exclusively on the island of Luzon in The Philippines.
Photo Credit: Larry Heaney, Field Museum

Luzon, an island of The Philippines, has the greatest number of distinct animals—mammals not found elsewhere on our planet, says an article, by Ben Garrod, in The Conversation. In “A Philippines island has the world’s greatest concentration of unique mammals – here’s why” (July 15, 2016), Garrod writes:
We’re taught that evolution is all about “survival of the fittest”. But that’s not always the case. In fact, sometimes evolution can be the result of a lucky animal finding “any port in a storm”. And the finding that Luzon, an island in the Philippines, has the greatest concentration of unique mammals in the world – even more than Madagascar – is the perfect example.
Islands are often examples of an evolutionary free for all, where a newly-introduced species may find itself in the perfect situation, whether that’s a new and different type of habitat and resources or even a complete lack of competitors and predators. Being introduced to an island ecosystem can turn a rather mediocre mainland species into a weird and wonderful new creation.
Examples of species found on one island and nowhere else (known as island endemics) can be found almost anywhere we look. The lemurs on Madagascar are found nowhere else on Earth, the Galapagos islands are home to flightless cormorants and aquatic iguanas and there are even quirky examples of island species from across the British Isles such as the Scilly shrew or the Orkney vole.
What this says is that our understanding of evolution is evolving, and what was the case before is no longer the case today. Our knowledge changes with our understanding and this is the case in how scientists explain how an island can have a concentration of species not found anywhere else in the known world. Evolution is a long process, but our understanding of its processes can take place much quicker.

For more, go to [TheConversation]