In the mountains of eastern Turkey, scientists recently found two species of mole that may have been undiscovered for millions of years. The two species have been named Talpa hakkariensis and Talpa davidiana tatvanensis.
Moles are small, underground dwelling creatures. They burrow underground, where they dig extensive tunnels using their clawed forepaws. Though they have poor eyesight, they have a highly developed sense of touch centered around their snouts and sensitive whiskers. Although there are many different types of moles, the different species are typically only found in small geographical areas.
Scientists used DNA technology to determine that the moles found in the Turkish mountains were a new and distinct species. Additionally, they compared the moles’ various body structures to other known mole species.
This investigation was carried out by a research team from Ondokuz Mayis University, Indiana University, and the University of Plymouth. One member of the team, Professor David Bilton, has helped to discover close to 80 new species.
Professor Bilton acted as senior author when the research team’s findings were published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. Their findings raise the known number of Eurasian mole species from 16 to 18.
Talpa hakkariensis can be found in the Hakkari region located in southeastern Turkey. This species of mole is unique and is a new species.
Talpa davidiana tatvanensis is a new subspecies of Talpa davidiana. This subspecies, found near Bitlis, also live in southeastern Turkey.
Both the two new species of mole have evolved to live in the highly challenging, mountainous region. They can both survive brutally cold conditions and may spend winter buried under two meters of snow. Additionally, in the summer, they can endure temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius, or 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
These findings are significant as it is relatively rare to find new species of mammal. Findings such as these highlight the importance of halting climate change and protecting the planet. Sadly, some species may become extinct before science even discovers them. Biodiversity loss due to Climate change could have major implications for ecosystems around the globe.
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This article by Willow Lynn was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 13 August 2023.