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New species of flying squirrel discovered in North America

10-06-2017 05:00 AM | Lathika Saju | My Indian Dream


New species of flying squirrel discovered in North America | My Indian Dream

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A new species of flying squirrel have been discovered in North America by scientists who say that the species have been hiding in plain sight for hundreds of years

There are only 44 known species of flying squirrels in the world and the discovery of a new species sounds really good. Scientists have discovered a new species of flying squirrel in the Pacific Coast region of North America.

 

Known as Humboldt's flying squirrel, or Glaucomys oregonensis, researchers said it was thought that these were the already known northern flying squirrel.

Jim Kenagy, a professor at the University of Washington in the US said that he and his team realized that it was a new species only after they looked at the nuclear genome, in addition to mitochondrial DNA, for the first time. He added that it was a surprising discovery.

The Humboldt's flying squirrel is known as a "cryptic" species - a species that was previously thought to be another, known species because of the two look similar.

The new species of flying squirrels all small, nocturnally-active, gliding squirrels that live in woodland habitats. Unlike bats or birds that fly, these squirrels glide from tree to tree by extending furred membranes of skin that stretch from the wrist of the forearm to the ankle on the hind leg.

The flying squirrel has remarkable gliding abilities and can make sharp midair turns by using their tail as a rudder and moving their limbs to manipulate the shape and tautness of their gliding membranes.



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