A tiny mouse that lives alone in and around a volcano in the Philippines has apparently remained unharmed after the mountain exploded in what was the largest eruption of the 20th century.
Details about the Long-nosed Luzon Apomys they are rare in good times, but after examining the damage the eruption caused to the ecosystem, it is presumed that most of them would have disappeared.
To Erik Rickart’s surprise, the apomys, sometimes called the Mount Pinatubo volcano mouse, are fine.
Rickart works at the splendid Utah Museum of Natural History, and after the 1991 Eruption of Mount Pinatubo That caused a typhoon, an earthquake, devastating lands and landslides, and a shower of ash that fell nearly an inch thick over 1,500 square kilometers, I was quite happy to put the apomys down in history.
“It was a surprise,” says Rickart in CBC How does it happen. “But then when we think about it, and particularly when we put together the things that we generally knew about the kind of environment that has existed during the evolutionary history of all the Philippine animals and plants as well, it makes sense. “
“Although the Pinatubo eruption in 1991 was devastating and destroyed most of the forest on the mountain, it was actually very mild, or at least not as intense as previous eruptions that had occurred during the geological history of the mountain. And there were several of them, ”he said.
To us humans, a major volcanic eruption may seem like a world-ending event, and in our early history, some 75,000 years ago, there are suggestions that the Lake Toba supervolcano It erupted with such incredible violence that the resulting geological and climatic disturbances nearly caused the death of our species.
The theory is controversial, as are most scientific theories that defy narrative.
However, unlike us, small rodents can probably survive such conditions more easily, as they eat plants or insects, require less water, and live underground.
It is believed that a group of small rodents were among the few animals that survived the impact of the comet that wiped out the dinosaurs, and that they gradually evolved into all the mammals we see today.
The resilience of the long-nosed Luzon apomys is a major discovery as scientists begin to speculate on how biodiversity will cope with our changing climate. Some species have evolved to cope with massive disturbances, giving them some protection as we try to reduce our impact on the planet.
Obviously, then, sometimes in evolution, it pays to be small.
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