Žirafa rotschildova
New article: Taxonomy and Translocations of African Mammals: A Plea for a Cautionary Approach

Ecotourism can fuel an important source of financial income for African countries and can therefore help biodiversity policies in the continent. Translocations can be a powerful tool to spread economic benefits among countries and communities; yet, to be positive for biodiversity conservation, they require a basic knowledge of conservation units through appropriate taxonomic research. This is not always the case, as taxonomy was considered an outdated discipline for almost a century, and some plurality in taxonomic approaches is incorrectly considered as a disadvantage for conservation work. As an example, diversity of the genus Giraffa and its recent taxonomic history illustrate the importance of such knowledge for a sound conservation policy that includes translocations. We argue that a fine-grained conservation perspective that prioritizes all remaining populations along the Nile Basin is needed. Translocations are important tools for giraffe diversity conservation, but more discussion is needed, especially for moving new giraffes to regions where the autochthonous taxa/populations are no longer existent. As the current discussion about the giraffe taxonomy is too focused on the number of giraffe species, we argue that the plurality of taxonomic and conservation approaches might be beneficial, i.e., for defining the number of units requiring separate management using a (majority) consensus across different concepts (e.g., MU—management unit, ESU—evolutionary significant unit, and ECU—elemental conservation unit). The taxonomically sensitive translocation policy/strategy would be important for the preservation of current diversity, while also supporting the ecological restoration of some regions within rewilding. A summary table of the main translocation operations of African mammals that have underlying problems is included. Therefore, we call for increased attention toward the taxonomy of African mammals not only as the basis for sound conservation but also as a further opportunity to enlarge the geographic scope of ecotourism in Africa.

Whole article available here: link

New article: Newly described anatomical opening on forelimb tendon in the artiodactyls and its relation to knee clicks

To understand which morphological/anatomical parts may be responsible in artiodactyl ungulates for the clicking sound made when moving, this research focuses on the forelimb tendon apparatus where an undescribed opening in the fibrous cuff (manica flexoria), called hereafter for its shape as an “oval window” in the manica flexoria (OWMF), was detected. This oval window was found in 24 of the 25 species of four families (Camelidae, Giraffidae, Cervidae, and Bovidae) evaluated; the exception being in Bos taurus taurus (Domestic cattle). The length and width of the OWMF enabled correct species discrimination between the majority of species, but remained conservative intraspecifically, as it did not differ between the left and right side of the forelimb, third and fourth digits, or between sexes. When evaluating the shape of OWMF in individual species, and measuring its length and width, 18 out of the 24 species investigated had this window as an oval shape, the remaining 25% of species exhibited more oval-oblong shapes with either proximal or distal asymmetry. The function of the OWMF in the thoracic autopodium of most ruminant even-toed ungulates is not yet fully understood. Its most likely function is to help balance the pressure inside the ligament cuff and reduce the friction of the touching surfaces of the muscle tendons—thus facilitating the movement of the digits when walking. None of the absolute or relative OWMF parameters fit exclusively with the occurrence and distribution of knee-clicks produced by some bovids and cervids during movement, so the mechanism responsible for this sound remains cryptic from the present anatomical perspective.

The article is available here: link