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Collections at the California Academy of Sciences aid researchers in revising a mammal branch on tree of life

05:46 EDT 2 Aug 2017 | Physorg.COM

One small mammal is experiencing a triumphant return to its long-ago spot on the tree of life. Scientists have elevated a subspecies of giant sengi, or elephant-shrew, to full species status. Aided by genetic information gathered from the California Academy of Sciences' vast mammal collection, Academy researchers collaborated with colleagues from the University of Alaska Museum (UAM), the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania, and the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago (FMNH) to explore the evolutionary relationships among giant sengis. In the process, the team discovered that a white-tailed subspecies of giant sengi from the Congo Basin and western Uganda was genetically distinct enough to return it to full species status, as originally designated upon its discovery in the late nineteenth century. Rhynchocyon cirnei stuhlmanni (now R. stuhlmanni) follows three new sengi species discoveries from the last decade. The team's revision of species relationships among giant sengis appears this summer in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.

Original Article: Collections at the California Academy of Sciences aid researchers in revising a mammal branch on tree of life

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