Nov 18, 2008

Almost Extinct Mogwai

This tiny primate doesn't qualify as ugly, but enough of you sent me articles on it that I'm compelled to share it. Besides, after yesterday's spider post, we all could use a little cleansing of the brain pan.

Good news has come out of Indonesia. The pygmy tarsier, which has been thought to be extinct for 80 years now, has made a rare appearance.

Photo source:

(This creature's name must be Gizmo. I wonder how many other Mogwais they found in the forest that day...)

The Texas A&M researcher, Sharon Gursky-Doyen, who headed up the team that discovered this tarsier actually got bit by one of the males when she was tethering a collar around its neck so that it might be tracked.

Someone needs to alert Ms. Gursky-Doyen that a bite is the least of her worries. She can't allow the thing to get wet, and under no circumstances is it allowed to be fed after midnight.

Um, that might be one of the cutest things I've ever seen. I'm ashamed for having posted on it here.

Thanks for the articles, Jenny, Mikko, and Jessica.


Jessica Olin said...

Yay, the universe is converging again. The same picture posted on CuteOverload and UglyOverload.

morgan said...

Here's something that always bothered me: when does it stop being 'after midnight?' Maybe the common sense answer is once the sun rises, but the logical answer is never. The old guy never really made that clear, and it seems like it would be a pretty important piece of information.

But hey, that's really awesome that they found it! Like, fantastically awesome. There's a ton of controversy as to how Tarsiers fit into the primate evolutionary tree... it seems that they're closer to us and monkeys (haplorhines) than lorises and lemurs (strepsirrhines), but it's not clear how long ago the split was, or why Tarsiers have retained so many of the primimitive strepsirrhine characteristics/behaviors. I hope they got a little bit of blood from the little fellow.

More interesting tidbits, in case anyone's still reading: though they're nocturnal and arboreal, it's thought that their ancestors were diurnal and terrestrial. There's lots of evidence in their bone structure, but also in the fact that they've lost their tapetum lucidum, the layer behind the retina that makes cat and dog eyes glow in the dark and helps them to see at night. Instead, Tarsiers have gained the ability to see at night by evolving the largest eye-to-body ratio of any mammal on earth, to hilarious effect:

Anonymous said...

Interestingly, the Cute Overload post on this wondered if it was too ugly to post there, too...

RedCircleLine said...

it's ugly! Why does no one see how terrifyingly creepy these things are??!?!? am i the only person that was TERRIFIED of "Gremlins" as a kid? perhaps too cute for "ugly overload", but considering the entry above is of a *spider* that looks like *fecal matter*, this is clearly not a high standard to meet.