Study traces spread of rodents in Oceania

Study traces spread of rodents in Oceania

by | Sep 4, 2022 | Asia, News, Philippines | 0 comments

CANBERRA: Mountain formation in New Guinea five million years ago triggered the spread of diverse rodents across Oceania, Australian research has found.

In a study published in Current Biology recently, researchers from the Australian National University mapped the DNA of more than 150 rodent species from across Australia, New Guinea and Melanesian islands to discover how they are related and how they spread across the Pacific.

They found the formation of mountains approximately five million years ago was the major driver in their proliferation by increasing connectivity with Australia, Solomon Islands and Maluku Islands.

“We’ve known for some time that Australia’s native rodents originated in Asia and arrived in our region via water — possibly a single pregnant animal floating across on a piece of driftwood. Now we have an accurate timeline for this, and an explanation for why we see so many species today,” Emily Roycroft, lead author of the study, said in a media release.

“Our study shows native rodents are exceptional at colonizing new areas. When they first arrived in Australia they adapted to a lot of new environments — including the arid desert.”

Until now little was known about the evolution of more than 150 rodent species found only in Australia and New Guinea, including the rakali or “water rat” — a semiaquatic nocturnal rat that can be seen swimming around Canberra’s lake.

Roycroft’s team used a new approach to gather DNA from museum specimens of extinct and elusive species dating back 180 years.

She said having extra information about the rodents could be vital to their future survival.

“Native rodents have a deep intrinsic value in our ecosystems. They’re ecosystem engineers; they aerate soil via burrowing and foraging and they help to disperse seeds and fungal spores,” she said.

“But they also have the highest extinction rate of any Australian mammal group, due to extreme habitat loss and introduced predators. If we lose even one native species, it can throw off the balance in an ecosystem.”

She said understanding how native rodents evolved and adapted will help people conserve those that have been left.

Go to Source
Author: Xinhua News Agency


Share Article


Submit a Comment

About Me



Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry printing and typesetting industry.


Recent Posts

Le Niger fait le pari du solaire

AMBITIONS. Dependant du Nigeria pour son electricite et sous le coup de sanctions de la Cedeao, Niamey mise sur une nouvelle centrale photovoltaique pour s'en sortir. Go to Source Author:

Video: Bishop Oyedepo Reacts As Son Establishes Own Ministry

Video: Bishop Oyedepo Reacts As Son Establishes Own Ministry

The founder of Living Faith Church Worldwide, in Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria, David Oyedepo, has finally bestowed blessings on his son, Isaac Oyedepo, after the latter established his ministry. Naija News reports that the Oyedepo family made headlines a month ago after...

Two Security Operatives Killed As Gunmen Attack Anambra Community

Two Security Operatives Killed As Gunmen Attack Anambra Community

Two security operatives were reportedly killed when some unknown gunmen attacked Aguluzigbo, a community in the Anaocha Local Government of Anambra State, South East Nigeria, on Tuesday. The victims were identified as members of the Anambra State Vigilante Service....

Zack Snyder Plays “Too Much Fortnite,” Staying Up Until 3 AM

When he's not directing movies like Army of the Dead or the upcoming Rebel Moon, Zack Snyder likes to play video games like the rest of us. In particular, he has a strong fondness for Fortnite.In fact, Snyder--who's also known for helming 300 and Man of...

Share This