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Facebook Friends: Brazil: Brazilian Tapir (Tapirus terrestris)
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Number 0447 I’m back from my perfect vacation to San Francisco. Now it’s time to continue our look at mammals from the 20 countries where people who like the Daily Mammal on Facebook live! Next up is Brazil and the Brazilian tapir (also called the South American or lowland tapir). Brazil has the second highest number of mammal species in the world, with 648,...

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Javan Warty Pig (Sus verrucosus)
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Number 0423 The Javan warty pig is an endangered mammal that lives on the Indonesian island of Java. Its population is estimated to have decreased by more than 50 percent over three generations, which is only 18 years. The main threats to its livelihood are probably hunting and habitat loss. A German conservation group, ZGAP (which stands for Zoological Society for the Conservation of...

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Himalayan Tahr (Hemitragus jemlahicus)
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Number 0420 This is the Himalayan tahr or Hemitragus jemlahicus. Hemitragus means half-goat, and jemlahicus means Himalayan, basically. These goats are mountain dwellers, living in high altitudes on rocky outcroppings and in forested places. They’re very shaggy. One of my books, the multi-volume Wonders of Animal Life (which has not date but appears to me to be from the 1920s), includes the Himalayan tahr...

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Mammal Olympiad: Fencing: Mrs. Gray’s Lechwe (Kobus megaceros)
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Number 0418 Today’s Mammalympian is a fencer. Well, sort of. In human fencing, the object is to touch your opponent with your blade; your opponent uses his or her blade to keep you from doing that, while also trying to touch you. Some mammals carry their “blades” on their heads in the form of horns or antlers, and they’re more likely to attempt to...

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Mammal Olympiad: High Jump: Klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus)
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The Mammal Olympiad continues! We’re looking at the best athletes in the world, and today’s event is the high jump. The champion is the klipspringer, an African antelope whose name means “rock jumper” in Dutch. Klipspringers can jump 25 feet in the air, and they’re less than two feet tall at the shoulder. The human high jump record, on the other hand, is only...

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Mammal Olympiad: Marathon: Pronghorn (Antilocapra americana)
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The human Olympics start tonight on NBC, and the mammal Olympics start tonight here on the Daily Mammal! We’ll be looking at a few of the best mammalian athletes in the world. The first event is the marathon. Now, humans are pretty good at marathons. In fact, long-distance running is humans’ best sport. Slate had an article a couple of months ago whose subtitle...

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Primorye Week: Long-tailed Goral (Naemorhedus caudatus)
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  Number 0393 Here is a long-tailed goral, another mammal of Primorye, the region in the far east of Russia that we’re visiting this week. If you’d like a brief introduction to the place and why we’re there, check out Monday’s musk deer. The long-tailed goral is a goat that lives in China, Russia, and north and south Korea. It’s rare for a goat...

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Primorye Week: Siberian Musk Deer (Moschus moschiferus)
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Number 0388 I’m reading a book called The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival, by John Vaillant. It’s about Siberian tigers and tiger trackers in the far east of Russia, a region called Primorsky Krai, the Maritime Province, or Primorye. It’s a fascinating place, closer geographically to Beijing and even to Australia than to Moscow, and amazingly biologically diverse. Vaillant says that...

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African Buffalo (Syncerus caffer)
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There certainly is a fierce beast to meet today, but don’t forget that tomorrow is the beginning of the Japan Mammalthon, and Coco and I will be posting original drawings that you can buy, with all proceeds benefiting victims of the tsunamis and earthquakes. Read this post for all the details. Number 0368 “…[I]t has an unpleasant habit of remaining quietly in its lair...

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Blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra)
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Number 0361 I do love seeing that mammal counter inching toward 365! Say good afternoon to the blackbuck, an antelope native to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan, but now extinct everywhere but India—and Argentina, Australia, and Texas, where it has been introduced. I’ll try to tell you what I’ve learned about the blackbuck roughly in the order of my learning about it: 1. According...

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Bactrian Camel (Camelus bactrianus)
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Number 0358 The Bactrian camel is the one with two humps. The Arabian camel or dromedary has only one hump. You can remember that by imagining the capital initials of their names turned on their side: B for Bactrian has two humps, and D for dromedary has one. (I didn’t come up with that, I read it on Ultimate Ungulate.) Then again, maybe you...

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Mating Week: Klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus)
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Number 0352 The klipspringer is a little-bitty antelope that lives in eastern and southern Africa on rocky cliffs. I originally picked it for my planned Mammal Mating theme week because it is a rare example of a monogamous mammal. (Most birds are monogamous; most mammals are not.) And what’s interesting is why it’s monogamous. And I also find it interesting that we humans—just apes,...

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World Cup: Spanish Ibex (Capra pyrenaica)
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Number 0342 The Spanish ibex is our penultimate mammalian World Cup competitor! Representing Spain, natch, it’s a nimble goat that lives in rocky places, once throughout the Iberian Peninsula, but now only in Spain and where it’s been reintroduced to Portugal. Of the four subspecies that once existed, only two remain. The last Pyrenean ibex, Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica, died in 2000 after being hit...

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World Cup: Chilean Pudú (Pudu puda)
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Number 0341 The Mammals of the World Cup series is almost finished! Just two more countries after today’s representative from Chile, the Chilean or southern pudú, which is the second smallest deer in the world, the first being the northern pudú, this guy’s cousin. The Chilean pudú is less than a foot and a half tall and is vulnerable to becoming endangered because of...

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World Cup: Slovakia’s Tatra Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica)
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Number 0335 I don’t usually highlight a particular subspecies, but when it comes to picking a representative for Slovakia, my father-in-law’s ancestral home and the source of the yak in my name, I wanted to do it up right. Meet the Tatra chamois, a subspecies of the regular chamois, which lives only in the Tatra mountains of Slovakia and Poland and numbers fewer than...

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World Cup: Italy’s Alpine Ibex (Capra ibex)
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Number 0332 Here we go with our World Cup celebration, meeting one mammal from each of the 32 countries that were in the World Cup! Were is a key word in this case, as reigning champ Italy, today’s country, didn’t make it out of the group stage. But that’s not the alpine ibex’s fault! Alpine ibexes were once pretty common in the Swiss, French,...

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World Cup: The Rest of Group D
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Number 0325 Because I missed a few days and because if I don’t step on the gas the World Cup will end before the World Cup of Mammals does, tonight I’m posting the final three mammals of Group D (the other being Serbia’s marbled polecat from the other day). This first one is the topi (Damaliscus korrigum), an antelope representing Ghana. Ghana was the...

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World Cup: Nigeria’s African Bush Elephant (Loxodonta africana)
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Number 0319 We’re still celebrating the World Cup here at the Daily Mammal, and today we’re closing out Group B with Nigeria and the African bush elephant. These days, scientists generally divide the African elephant into two species, the bush elephant and the forest elephant. Then there’s the Asian elephant, for a total of three kinds of elephants in the world. The biggest is...

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Chacoan Peccary (Catagonus wagneri)
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Number 0302 This peccary species lives in the Gran Chaco of South America, a region that overlaps Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay. It lives in the driest, hottest parts of the area, and its main food is cacti. The Chacoan peccary is endangered, mainly because of hunting but also because of habitat destruction. Oddly, this peccary was first described by scientists in the 1930s based...

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Yak (Bos grunniens)
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Number 0299 In honor of our adoption finalization and name change to Kinyak, Theo and I drew yaks! The powerful, shaggy animals are native to Tibet and produce delicious butter, which Tibetans use in their...

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Gemsbok (Oryx gazella)
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Number 0285 At long last, an update for the Daily Mammal. For those who hadn’t heard, about a month ago my husband and I adopted two kids, a 13-year-old and a 10-year-old. It’s going wonderfully—we love them so much—but becoming a mother to two half-grown humans all of the sudden has definitely changed my world, and it’s taking some time for me to get...

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Greater Mouse-Deer (Tragulus napu)
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Number 0273 The greater mouse-deer is a teeny-tiny little thing, more or less rabbit-sized with legs the size of pencils. (I drew this one’s front legs too big.) The deer, also called chevrotains, live in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand. They weigh about 11 pounds, and unusually for deer, they don’t have horns or antlers. They do have big ol’ upper canine teeth,...

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Mammals of Alaska Week: Thinhorn (Dall) Sheep (Ovis dalli)
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Number 0267 The thinhorn sheep is closely related to the bighorn sheep, only its horns are more thin than big. (Another relative of the two is the snow sheep, which lives in Siberia.) There’s a bit of nomenclatural confusion with these guys. Never mind that some scientists think that all members of Ovis should actually be in Capra (the goats). The specific issue with...

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Mammals of Alaska Week: Muskox (Ovibos moschatus)
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Number 0265 To honor (if that’s the word) Sarah Palin’s stepping down as governor as Alaska, let’s meet some of the mammals of the 49th state. (Because yesterday’s beluga whale lives in Alaska, I took the liberty of retroactively including it in this theme week, which I only just thought of.) The muskox’s scientific name means “musky sheep-cow.” DNA analysis suggests that it’s more...

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Scientific Names Week: Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus)
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Number 0254 The nilgai is an antelope that lives in India and parts of Nepal and Pakistan. For an antelope, it has a weird scientific name: Boselaphus tragocamelus means ox-deer-goat-camel. Perhaps they just really didn’t know and wanted to hedge their bets. The word nilgai comes from a Hindi word meaning “blue bull.” (The male nilgai’s bluish gray hide reminds me of grulla, my...

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Scientific Names Week: Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis)
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Number 0251 Our current system of naming animals and plants is based on the system that Carl Linnaeus published in 1758. While others, including Aristotle, had previously attempted to organize the world’s living things into various arrangements, Linnaeus gave us an important innovation: the binomial system. Each animal (or plant or whatever) is known by a unique pair of names; no other creature has...

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Coffee Achievers Days: Reeves’s Muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi)
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Beginning March 16: the Daily Mammal Book Club!   Number 0243 “Yesterday” (ahem…), we met the common palm civet, from whose droppings we get kopi luwak, coffee made from the seeds that pass through the civets’ digestive systems when they eat coffee berries. Whether this really creates some kind of gourmet delicacy or it’s actually a crazy scam to get people to spend lots...

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Darwin Days: Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis)
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  Number 0240 Tonight, we conclude our celebration of Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday with one last look at a mammal he wrote about in The Origin of Species. Although Darwin’s work is widely available for free online (see The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online, and you’re probably all set), I still find it easier and more satisfying to thumb through an actual book....

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Markhor (Capra falconeri)
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Number 0204 This twisty goat lives in the western Himalayas, in parts of Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It’s endangered due to hunting for food and “traditional medicine,” warfare, and increasing competition with livestock. Hunting permits for the markhor can fetch quite a price: a couple of weeks ago some Norwegian paid US$81,200 for the right to kill one in Pakistan. The word...

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Przewalski’s Horse (Equus przewalskii) and a vacation
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These tough little fellows from the Mongolian steppes are the only living example we have of a truly wild horse. (Other wild horses, such as the mustangs around these parts, are descended from domestic horses, and therefore not “truly” wild.) Unfortunately, Przewalski’s horse is extinct in the wild. In fact, we nearly lost the species altogether. In 1977, we were down to 300 of...

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