Scientists in Australia have discovered two greater glider marsupial species.
Glider marsupial species are mammals that glide from tree to tree like flying squirrels. Most have well-developed flaps of skin along the flanks; these become sails when the limbs are extended.
The two new species of greater glider were discovered after scientists ran DNA tests on new tissue samples of the animals. The details of the findings were published in Nature’s public access Scientific Reports journal.
“It’s really exciting to find this biodiversity under our noses,” study researcher Kara Youngentob told The West Australian.
“The division of the greater glider into multiple species reduces the previous widespread distribution of the original species. This further increases conservation concern for that animal and highlights the lack of information about the other greater glider species,” she continued.
Study researcher, Denise McGregor told the Guardian that this discovery changes the way scientists will now think of the marsupial species. “There has been speculation for a while that there was more than one species of greater glider but now we have proof from the DNA.”