The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Tuesday, July 23, 2019


Two new species of Indian lizard described by Museum scientist
One of the two newest additions to the fan-throated lizards, Sitana thondalu. ©V Deepak.

by Josh Davis


LONDON.- About 50 million years ago, Asia's climate was transformed by landmasses colliding, the birth of the Himalaya mountain range and the planet cooling.

Over time, these large geological changes caused the heavy seasonal rainfall, known as monsoons, to develop in India. But as the monsoons stabilised, the region also experienced periods of dryness.

Deepak Veerappan, Marie Curie Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Natural History Museum, has been investigating the effect the development of this dynamic weather system might have had on the diversity of animals evolving at the time.

Deepak was at the Centre for Ecological Science in Bangalore, India, until 2016 investigating a group of reptiles known as fan-throated lizards, which appeared around 18 million years ago in the midst of this climatic upheaval. There he realised that not only were there more species in this group of lizards than anyone had previously noticed, there was also an entirely new genus.

He says, 'I was surprised about the underestimated diversity of this group, and how researchers in the past had decided to classify the lizards as just a few species.'

The latest finds
A few years on from this startling discovery and Deepak has just published another paper in Zootaxa describing his seventh and eighth new species of fan-throated lizard from India, Sitana gokakensis and Sitana thondalu.

Both of the new species come from dry environments and - despite looking almost identical - are separated by over 500 kilometres. By testing their DNA, Deepak could confirm that they are separate species and are endemic (found nowhere else in the world).

What is most surprising is that the fan-throated lizards were found not in the biodiversity hotspot of the Western Ghats, which is well known for its wealth of species and diversity, but on the Deccan Plateau, an area often regarded as parched and desolate.

'This landscape has been long underrated in terms of biodiversity and it's about time that it gets the due credit,' says Deepak. 'It is not just a barren and unproductive land.'

Key players
These small, ground-living lizards might not look like much as they scamper across rocks and among vegetation, but they are vital to the challenging environments in which they live.

'They play a key role in the ecosystem as a potential predator. They are known to feed on insects and in certain seasons molluscs,' explains Deepak. 'On the other hand they are prey for several predatory birds, snakes and other large lizards, as well as small mammals such as foxes and jungle cats.'

As if describing a new genus and eight new species of lizard were not enough, Deepak plans on describing even more in the future, highlighting the impressive diversity in regions of India that often get overlooked.





Today's News

August 3, 2018

Who built Stonehenge? Cremation ashes found near Neolithic monument yield clues

Sotheby's expands Impressionist & Modern Art team in the Americas

15th-century masterpiece loaned to the Rijksmuseum

Thieves snatch Swedish crown jewels in daylight heist

Police find shark stolen from Texas aquarium in stroller

Amsterdam orchestra sacks conductor Gatti over abuse charges

Two new species of Indian lizard described by Museum scientist

Cat abduction from Moscow museum captivates Russians

Artists remove work from Design Museum this morning in opposition to arms company event

The Saatchi Gallery opens exhibition of prints by 30 emerging artists priced at only £125

Broken treasures revived in Rome's little shop of doll horrors

Frozen in time, Havana looks to put a modern stamp on its 500-year history

A decade after death, Solzhenitsyn draws a blank with young Russians

Summer exhibition at Kunsthaus Bregenz focuses on David Claerbout's video and sound works

Kenyan women lead bold revival of libraries' faded glory

The 5th annual Brooklyn Antiquarian Book Fair to kick off Brooklyn Book Week

NEW INC announces new cohort of arts tech innovators, with additional support from Knight Foundation

Hillwood announces departure of Angie Dodson to become director of Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts

Lincoln Center announces 2018 White Light Festival

Brooklyn Museum acquires Karon Davis's 'Nicotine'

GreenHill highlights nine North Carolina photographers with analog processes

Biggs Museum opens rare Audubon exhibition

LAMA announces lineup for September auction; fresh material to hit the market

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Original 'Star Wars' creators lift lid on special effects challenges

2.- Lost '$170 million Caravaggio' snapped up before French auction

3.- Mansell's 'Red Five' on pole for Bonhams sale

4.- Impressionism's 'forgotten woman' shines in new Paris show

5.- Sotheby's to auction the best-surviving NASA videotape recordings of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

6.- Exhibition explores Dutch and Spanish painting of the 16th and 17th centuries

7.- Cyprus discovers 'first undisturbed Roman shipwreck'

8.- Sotheby's unveils 'Treasures from Chatsworth' with Leonardo Da Vinci drawing, Lucian Freud portraits, and more

9.- Infamous botched art restoration in Spain gets makeover

10.- 1958 Gibson Flying V Korina played by Dave Davies to grab center stage in Heritage Auctions' sale



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez


Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful