Friday 12 April 2013

Badger Bat?

Image: DeeAnn Reeder, Bucknell University
Niumbaha superba
Turns out the Wicked Witch of the West was way ahead of her time. On our long journey to achieve the technological holy grail known as "Flying Monkeys", mad scientists have recently announced their latest advance: a flying badger. It's also a munchkin, oddly enough.

Image: DeeAnn Reeder, Bucknell University
We're looking at Niumbaha superba, the Pied Bat. First discovered in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1939, barely anyone in whole world has seen it since. Until now. It's an international celebrity, now

Veteran bat botherer DeeAnn Reeder from Bucknell University is a frequent visitor to South Sudan; she's been going over there with her bat nets and massive, bat-handling gloves since before South Sudan was South Sudan. Since South Sudan became independent in 2011, that's at least a few years. AT LEAST!

Image: DeeAnn Reeder, Bucknell University
She knew she was onto something when she caught this unusual bat with its evidently peculiar and striking black and white patterns. Very much unlike most bats. Quite different. Obviously.

However, DeeAnn Reeder is a professional, so she did a bunch of science by looking at the bat really, really carefully and consulting the scientifical literatum for mention of flying badgers.

Image: DeeAnn Reeder, Bucknell University
It turned out that her leathery mittens contained just the fifth reported sighting of a bat known as Glauconycteris superba, a member of the genus Glauconycteris, also known as butterfly bats. But DeeAnn Reeder knows her butterfly bats, and after looking really, really carefully she knew... this is no butterfly bat!

"Look at that curvy targus!", she howled.
"Look at that zygomatic breadth!", she bellowed.
"And don't even talk about the ratio between the lengths of the 2nd phalanx of the 3rd digit and the 1st phalanx of the 3rd digit!", she demanded.

Thus, a whole new genus was born: Niumbaha, named after the local Zande word for "rare".

Image: DeeAnn Reeder, Bucknell University
And does the ungrateful beggar raise so much as a smile? Not a chance!


TexWisGirl said...

so very cute!

Joseph JG said...

It's like a toddler trying to look tough!