Madagascan native species - a bone of contention
Tuesday 14 March 2006
A cat-like carnivore - the fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox) - native to Madagascar possesses the largest penis bone in relation to its size and animal classification of any carnivore yet studied, but the purpose of the fossa’s elongated organ remains a mystery.
This is just one example of the fascinating topics to be discussed at a scientific meeting: Madagascar: The Island Continent. Conservationists gathering at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) will explore the rich diversity of species endemic to Madagascar, the numerous threats to this unique environment and the various conservation initiatives on the island, including the ‘Durban Vision’ of the President of Madagascar.
Lesley Dickie, ZSL’s Zoo Conservation Officer will deliver a presentation exploring the form and possible functions of bacula, or penis bones, in carnivore species and hopes to shed light on how the elongated baculum is linked to the extraordinary mating behaviour of the fossa.
Also speaking will be two world leaders on Madagascan biodiversity: Christopher Raxworthy, of the American Museum of Natural History, with news about the latest species discoveries, as well as new threats, and Patricia Wright, of the Institute for the Conservation of Tropical Environments, who will explore what light 20 years of lemur research shed on conservation and climate change questions. Matthew Hatchwell of the Wildlife Conservation Society, with extensive knowledge of the island and its protected area network, will chair the meeting.
Images available on request.
— ENDS —
Notes to editors
Madagascar: The Island Continent will be held on 14th March at 5.30 p.m. in the Meeting Rooms, The Zoological Society of London, Regent’s Park (Outer Circle), London NW1 4RY. For more information please contact T: 020 7449 6227 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org . Admission is free.
Many orders of mammals have bacula, including primates.
Joanna Green - 020 7 449 6236 - email@example.com