Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Malcolm Redfellow learns something new every day ...

Wednesday, 7th April, 2010: a nice new-fangled reptile

When did Malcolm get his first twinges of Bolshiedom?

Well, one starting point may have been (and therefore at Wells-next-the-Sea in very formative years):
In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue ...
... and discovered America.

Except, as Malcolm quickly appreciated, Columbus didn't because:
  • An awful lot of folk had got there before (all those native Americans, Incas, Aztecs, Inuits).
  • Some (St Brendan and Leifr EirĂ­ksson, whoever did the Vinland map for examples) even left something of an account.
  • A large amount of land, and things living on it, had been there all along.
At which point Malcolm re-appraised the meaning of "discovery"

Now, today, we have something of the same:
A new species of giant lizard has been discovered in the Philippines.

The 2m-long reptile is a monitor lizard, the group to which the world's longest and largest lizards belong ...

The giant lizard is actually well known to resident Agta and Ilongot tribespeople living in the forests of northern Luzon Island ...

Yet scientists were unaware of its existence.
So, Varanus bitatawa has been there all the time. The locals knew it was there, and were happily chomping on it for lunch. But it didn't formally exist until somebody:
identified the new species on the basis of its body size, scales, colouration and DNA
and gave it a fancy Latin name.

And that's a "discovery".

Sphere: Related Content

No comments:

Subscribe with Bloglines International Affairs Blogs - BlogCatalog Blog Directory
Add to Technorati Favorites