Next up from the Great Adaptations division, #1 seed Pygmy Hippo vs #4 seed Tasmanian Devil! #2018MMM
This battle brought to you by @c_n_anderson, I'm just sharing the story tonight! #2018MM
The pygmy hippo is herbivorous, feeding on fruits, grasses and ferns - it's large canines are used for aggresive displays, not hunting #2018MMM arkive.org/pygmy-hippopot…
During the last battle, we heard that hippos are foregut fermenters. Let's look at what happens after fermentation: #2018MMM #gross
Hippo dung can form an important nutrient source for river ecosystems esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.18… #2018MMM
Going up against the hippo is the Tasmanian Devil! #2018MMM arkive.org/tasmanian-devi…
The Tassie Devil is now only found on the island of Tasmania, but used to be found on the Australian mainland #2018MMM
Tassie devils have been extinct on the Australian mainland for just over 400 years. Many researchers attribute competition by the dingo as the cause of the extinction but Johnson & Wroe (2003) suggest that human impact also played a role #2018MMM journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.119…
We've discussed islands a few times thus far in MMM, but not yet how islands may influence life history evolution... #ReadyToLearn? #2018MMM
Species living on islands are often subject to lower predation pressure and thus live longer. This can lead to delayed investment in reproduction compared to mainland representatives. …lpublications.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.111… #2018MMM
Tassie devil's global population has plummetted since 1996 - when the Devil Facial Tumor Disease was first described #2018MMM en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devil_fac…
Devil Facial Tumor Disease is a non-viral clonally transmissable cancer - it is spread when Tassie Devils bite each other - which they do often during social interaction and mating #2018MMM
Devil Facial Tumor disease has led to ~85% reduction in the global population of Tasmanian Devil since 1996. Global population estimates now number between 10,000-25,000 mature individuals & they are currently classified by the IUCN as endangered iucnredlist.org/details/40540/0 #2018MMM
Tassie devils now reproduce earlier in response to the spread of Devil Facial Tumor Disease. This adheres to life history theory expectations: low mortality=delayed reproduction; high mortality = early reproduction pnas.org/content/105/29… #2018MMM
For an absolutely delightful long-form #scicomm read on Tassie devils, see this Harper's magazine article by @DavidQuammen harpers.org/archive/2008/0… #2018MMM
Our battle begins on the banks of a river, where our pygmy hippo is grazing on a "hippo lawn" #iloveforegutsandicannotlie (that was me, not @c_n_anderson) #2018MMM
Our Tasmanian devil - ever the opportunistic scavenger - has found a rotting carcass of a duiker on the hippo lawn. LUNCH! The Tasmanian devil vocalizes upon the discovery! #2018MMM
Startled by the wail of the Tassie devil, our pygmy hippo yawns and head-shakes at the Tassie Devil #2018MMM arkive.org/pygmy-hippopot…
The timid Tassie devil high-tails it into the bush, fleeing the field of battle #2018MMM
PYGMY HIPPO DISPLACES TASMANIAN DEVIL!!!! #2018MMM

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More from @PKurnath

Mar 27, 2018
NEXT UP we have #8 seeded Thalassocnus catans vs. #1 seeded Doedicurus clavicaudatus! #2018MMM
In round 1, Thalassocnus #MarineSloth munched on some sea grasses while Cynognathus #DinoDog got washed away with the #RIP tide #TeamMarineSloth eol.org/pages/4530087/… #2018MMM
And Doedicurus #TankMammal barely noticed the Jugulator hop-on and then hop-off its mighty armor that is characteristic of glyptodons eol.org/pages/4529496/… #EasyWin #ReadyToRumble #2018MMM
Read 19 tweets
Mar 23, 2018
FIRST UP: #1 seed Pygmy Hippo (Choeropsis liberiensis) vs. #9 seed Maned Rat (Lophiomys imhausi)!! #2018MMM
In round 1, the pygmy hippo inadvently stabbed a wandering star-nosed mole with its tusk in a swamp #oops #mybad #2018MMM
While the maned rat dared the platypus to fight over a burrow #ComeAtMeBro but the monotreme, lacking his venom, wisely passed on the encounter #2018MMM
Read 18 tweets
Mar 20, 2018
NEXT UP: 5th seeded Moscow Dog vs. 12th seeded Sewer Rat!! #2018MMM
Our top seed in this battle is the Moscow Dog (Canis familiaris), domesticated strays that have roamed the Russian city's streets for decades en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Street_do… (photo from Sputnik news, credit Mikhail Fomichev) #2018MMM
News stories have highlighted this canine's ability to live side-by-side Moscovites coercing handouts & some learning to ride the subway (the Conservation, theconversation.com/how-did-moscow…; the New Yorker, newyorker.com/culture/cultur…; the Financial Times, ft.com/content/628a85…) #2018MMM
Read 22 tweets
Mar 15, 2018
NEXT UP: #4 Tasmanian Devil vs. #13 Ghost Bast #2018MMM
The ghost bat (Macroderma gigas) gets its name from the Greek "macros"=large and "derma"=skin #2018MMM
Hopefully you didn't confuse our competitor with the south american bats of a similar name (genus Diclidurus, way more fuzzy) #2018MMM
Read 15 tweets

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