6.15.2010

Tiny Tuesdaaaaay! Here is a water chevrotain.

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Water Chevrotain
Today's Tiny Tuesday was brought to you by my friend, Athena, who was so thoughtful to post a picture of this sweet, toothpick-legged, rodent-like meeper on my facebook page last week. A water chevrotain. I'd never heard of such a thing. Those absurd legs! They kill me.

Sometimes referred to as the "fanged deer" (the males have tusks!) or "mouse deer", these small grazing mammals reside in the coastal wetlands of West Africa. They look awful rodent-y, no bigger than a Jack Russel terrier, but they're actually a part of the ruminant family (goats, sheep, cattle, .etc).

Much unlike their cud-chewing brothers, water chevrotains are esteemed swimmers and divers. Those little piggy noses of theirs have the ability to squeeze shut to keep water out while they swim. When threatened, they plunge into the water to evade predators. For that reason, they rarely stray from water. It's their refuge.

But that may not the only reason why the mouse deer favors water. Perhaps they are genetically drawn to their evolutionary relatives in the sea - whales! Some scientists believe that whales evolved from a prehistoric species of chevrotain, and that the chevrotian's aquatic behavior today reveals clues as to how mammals made the transition from dry land to water. Ver-ry interesting. Read all about it.

1 comment:

  1. This is fabulous and has been the perfect start to my Thursday morning.

    Lexi :)
    Love.Obsess.Inspire.

    ReplyDelete

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