If you think that the world’s greatest concentration of unique land mammal species can be found in the vast Amazon rainforest, or in the jungles of the Australia, you are wrong all along. A group of American and Filipino scientists found that it’s in the Island of Luzon in the Philippines.
According to a 15-year study published in the scientific journal Frontiers of Biogeography, 93 percent of Luzon’s land mammals are endemic to the island, or can only be found on the island. The island of Luzon is the largest among the three main islands in the archipelagic Philippines.
Based on the research findings, 52 of 56 species of land mammals are endemic to the island. Of the 52 species of non-flying mammals, more than half were discovered only during the 15-year length of the study, a report from the Field Museum showed.
Of the 28 newly discovered species of land-base mammals, 19 have already been described in scientific literature, while the remaining species are currently in progress. According to scientists involved in the project, the study yields vital information on how these species have evolved.
Lawrence Heaney, a mammal curator at the Field Museum and the lead researcher in the project, said in a statement that the team did not expect to discover new species.
“We started our study on Luzon in 2000 because we knew at the time that most of the native mammal species on the island were unique to the island, and we wanted to understand why that is the case. We did not expect that we would double the number already known,” Heaney said.
One of the newly-discovered species of land mammals that the team has discovered include the tiny tree-mice with a long whiskers. Because of the island’s geography, the species of mammals the team has discovered and recorded were diverse.