How big is a white rhino?
And speaking of Graeme, here comes the long-awaiting, super-predictable photo entitled 'Graeme meets the folks'. He knew what we were up to when we took the photo. The artiodactyl in the photo is a charismatic and very friendly male Babirusa. Until recently I would have labelled the species Babirousa babyrussa, but - yet again - the species-level taxonomy of babirusas has recently been revised (for a previous post on over-zealous lumping in extant megamammals see Giraffes: set for change). A blog post is planned: if you can't wait until then check out Meijaard & Groves (2002a, b). Babirusa males have large curving upper canines that curve dorsoposteriorly as they emerge from the dorsal surface of the snout (yes, they emerge from the dorsal surface of the snout). This male is in the habit of covering his tusks with wet mud, thereby obscuring them from view. I have no idea why he does this and have never read of this behaviour.
Here's a photo of my back and the big male giraffe they have at Marwell. I have nothing interesting to say about it, but you can never get bored with giraffes can you.
As mentioned in the ground hornbill post, we were 'frustrated by anteaters'. What did I mean by this? Well, on my previous visit to Marwell the anteater had remained asleep and curled up, tail folded over its body and head (for photo go here). And this time it was in exactly the same place and exactly the same position. Except for a few brief seconds when it raised its tail and lifted its head: Mark was quick enough to get this photo. I suppose some time it might get up and walk around, but as for whether or not I'll ever see this, I do not know.
Coming next: finally, the Cupar roe deer carcass (for background info see British big cats: how good, or bad, is the evidence?). For the latest news on Tetrapod Zoology do go here.
Refs - -
Meijaard, E. & Groves, C. 2002a. Proposal for taxonomic changes within the genus Babyrousa. Asian Wild Pig News 2 (1),9-10.
- . & Groves, C. 2002b. Upgrading three subspecies of babirusa (Babyrousa sp.) to full species level. Asian Wild Pig News 2 (2),33-39.