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Living world news archive: July-September 2009





Bosavi woolly rat
Giant rat found in 'lost volcano'
(Sep 7, 2009)


A new species of giant rat has been discovered deep in the jungle of Papua New Guinea. The rat, which has no fear of humans, measures 82cm long, placing it among the largest species of rat known anywhere in the world. The creature, which has not yet been formally described, was discovered by an expedition team filming the BBC programme Lost Land of the Volcano.

Read more. Source: BBC

Narcomedusae
Strange jellies of the icy depths
(Sep 1, 2009)


New details are emerging about the life-forms that survive in one of the world's most inaccessible places. Scientists have published descriptions of a range of jelly-like animals that inhabit the deep oceans of the Arctic. The animals were originally filmed and photographed during a series of submersible dives in 2005.

Read more. Source: BBC

The newly discovered giant pitcher (Nepenthes attenboroughii)
Giant 'meat-eating' plant found
(Aug 14, 2009)


A new species of giant carnivorous plant has been discovered in the highlands of the central Philippines. The pitcher plant is among the largest of all pitchers and is so big that it can catch rats as well as insects in its leafy trap. During the same expedition, botanists also came across strange pink ferns and blue mushrooms they could not identify.

Read more. Source: BBC

Chimpanzee
Apes may imitate but they struggle to innovate
(Jul 23, 2009)


For all their cognitive prowess, chimpanzees will never build four-stroke engines, stone pyramids, or even a simple wheel. Technological innovation and improvement seem to be uniquely human traits, despite culture and ample tool use in chimpanzees and other animals. New research on children and chimpanzees might explain why.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Cyclosa mulmeinensis
Spider builds life-sized decoys
(Jul 7, 2009)


There is a species of spider that builds models of itself, which it uses as decoys to distract predators. The spider may be the first example of an animal building a life-size replica of its own body. So believe the scientists who made the discovery, which is published in the journal Animal Behaviour.

Read more. Source: BBC

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