A new species of mole has been discovered in eastern Turkey, raising the number of known Eurasian moles from 16 to 18. The moles, named Talpa hakkariensis and Talpa davidiana tatvanensis, have been confirmed as biologically distinct from other moles through DNA analysis. They inhabit mountainous regions in eastern Turkey and are able to survive extreme temperatures and conditions. The study was conducted by researchers from Ondokuz Mayıs University, Indiana University, and the University of Plymouth. This discovery highlights the presence of biodiversity, even in well-studied groups like mammals. PA News Agency reported
The article discusses the discovery of two new species of moles in eastern Turkey, specifically the Hakkari and Bitlis regions. These moles, named Talpa hakkariensis and Talpa davidiana tatvanensis, belong to a group of subterranean mammals that feed on invertebrates and are found in Europe and Western Asia. While Britain only has one species of mole, Talpa europaea, there are several different moles further east, many of which have limited geographical ranges.
Using advanced DNA technology, researchers have confirmed that the newly discovered moles are biologically distinct from other species. These moles are able to survive in extreme conditions, such as temperatures of up to 50C in summer and being buried under two meters of snow in winter, due to their habitat in mountainous regions. The study was conducted by researchers from Ondokuz Mayıs University in Turkey, Indiana University in the US, and the University of Plymouth.
Professor David Bilton, a senior author from the University of Plymouth, has previously identified nearly 80 new species of animals. He emphasizes that discovering new mammal species is uncommon, as there are only around 6,500 known mammal species worldwide compared to hundreds of thousands of beetle species. Despite the similarities in appearance among moles, living underground limits the options for body size and shape evolution. This study highlights the underestimation of biodiversity, even in well-studied groups like mammals.
The discovery of these new species increases the known Eurasian mole count from 16 to 18, each with their own distinct genetic and physical characteristics. The researchers used advanced mathematical analyses to study the size and shape of various bodily structures, including specimens from the 19th century stored in museum collections. Complementary DNA analysis and comparison with known species further confirmed the distinctiveness of these moles.
In conclusion, the discovery of these new mole species in eastern Turkey showcases the importance of advanced DNA technology and mathematical analyses in identifying and understanding biodiversity. These findings challenge the assumption that we have already discovered all the species with which we share the planet and highlight the need for continued research and conservation efforts..