Science stories

They have all been found to catch the virus that changed everything over a year ago.

Masked animal statue by Aaron Anderer (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Have you been curious about which animals are capable of getting the not-so-novel coronavirus? Me too, so I’ve made a list with all of them (+ cute pictures).


Beyond Science

Chinese spelling of a Tibetan species.

A mountain plateau. A road sign indicating elevation is wrapped around Tibetan prayer flags. The sign is mostly written in Chinese characters, but there are smaller Tibetan characters above it.
A mountain plateau. A road sign indicating elevation is wrapped around Tibetan prayer flags. The sign is mostly written in Chinese characters, but there are smaller Tibetan characters above it.
Photo by Raimond Klavins on Unsplash

As I was writing my note on which was the first adequately described mammal in 2021, I left out something. The mole was not the correct answer, so it didn’t make sense to dwell on it. But, I’d like to talk a bit about the mole and the significance of its name. Just like the first mammalian species of 2021, there’s more than meets the eye at first glance.

Alpiscaptulus medogensis goes by the common name Medog mole, and it was discovered in the Himalayas. Specifically, it was discovered in Me-tog, Tibet.

The genus name (the first part in a…


SCIENCE | ANIMAL ADVOCACY

Unless you follow “The Code”, chances are you don’t know.

Species descriptions are regulated by a code first established in 1961. Photo by Cocoparisienne from Pixabay

The first few months of 2021 have gifted us with the description of many species new to science, including several new mammals. But figuring out which one was first described may not be as easy as you could think.

At first glance, the honour of being the first mammal species described in 2021 would go to the Medog mole. It is a tiny mole from the Himalayas! Its scientific name is Alpiscaptulus medogensis.

Unfortunately, the authors committed a small technical infraction that could disqualify the new mole species from being considered as the first officially described species of mammal…


Science stories

After a year of living full-time with their owners, many dogs will face a tough time returning to the “new normal”

I have been a pet sitter and dog-walker for a few years now. When COVID-19 arrived, I found myself without a job. First, because of work-from-home orders. Then, because quite a few dog owners lost their jobs.

A calendar showing three different block squares, one is red, one is green, and one is yellow. Green is the most common. The meaning of the colours is not apparent form the image. Within the block squares, names are written: a dog name and within parentheses, an owner’s name.
A calendar showing three different block squares, one is red, one is green, and one is yellow. Green is the most common. The meaning of the colours is not apparent form the image. Within the block squares, names are written: a dog name and within parentheses, an owner’s name.
February 2020: a full week full of doggies


Conservation stories | Africa

Chances are this is not the only unlisted population of hippos in the country

Until last summer, the population of hippopotamuses in Nigeria was estimated to be around 100 individuals in the whole country. That was before a team of scientists decided to check out one particular local dam, following some reports of hippos living in the area.

Kiri Dam is outside of any protected area, and it is surrounded by villages. Not ideal for a thriving hippo population. Yet, the researchers found 56 hippos living in this one dam!

The heads of four hippopotami surface on top of tranquil light blue waters.
The heads of four hippopotami surface on top of tranquil light blue waters.
Photo by Wade Lambert on Unsplash

The population in this single dam reservoir is the largest recorded hippo population in all of Nigeria (and it was not included in the…

Maria Gatta

Biologist providing consulting for ttrpgs and videogames.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store