Scientists have recently made an intriguing discovery in the world of pangolins. They have identified a ninth pangolin species, provisionally named "Manis mysteria," adding to the existing eight known species.
Key Information about Manis Mysteria:
Newly Discovered Pangolin: Manis mysteria is a newly uncovered member of the pangolin family.
Discovery Origin: This newfound pangolin species came to light through a thorough examination of scales confiscated in China's Yunnan province in the years 2015 and 2019.
Ancient Lineage: It is estimated that this species diverged from its Philippine and Malayan relatives approximately five million years ago.
Introduction to Pangolins:
Distinctive Mammals: Pangolins are mammals renowned for their unique appearance and protective scales.
"Scaly Anteaters": They often earn the nickname "scaly anteaters" due to their characteristic scales and their primary diet, which mainly consists of ants and termites.
Habitat: Pangolins are primarily found in select regions of Africa and Asia. They are known for their elusive behavior and hold the unfortunate distinction of being the world's most trafficked mammals.
Armor-like Scales: Pangolins are easily identifiable by their body-covering scales, resembling armor. These scales are composed of keratin, the same protein present in human hair and nails. They are the sole mammals known to possess this feature.
Defensive Curl: When confronted by threats, pangolins have a unique defense mechanism. They can curl their bodies into a tight ball, with their scales forming a protective shield.
Dietary Habits: These creatures primarily dine on ants and termites, employing their long tongues, which are longer than their bodies, for efficient capture.
No Teeth: Pangolins lack teeth for chewing, instead utilizing gravel and keratinous spines within their stomachs for this purpose.
Nocturnal Solitude: Pangolins are most active during the night and tend to be solitary animals.
Threat to Pangolins:
Conservation Status: All pangolin species find themselves on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
Endangered Status: Specifically, the Indian pangolin, also known as the thick-tailed pangolin, is classified as "Endangered" according to the IUCN Red List.