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[Aroid-l] The Saola and the Araceae

  • Subject: [Aroid-l] The Saola and the Araceae
  • From: ted.held@us.henkel.com
  • Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2006 10:36:58 -0500

This is a distraction from our usual fare, but I saw an interesting article on the little-known saola, an exotic bovine. The current Science magazine (December 1 cover date) contains a picture and written reference of an unidentified Araceae, which the rare animal is believed to eat. The saola, also known as the Vu Quang ox, is the last new large animal to have been discovered. It was unknown to science before 1992. Although they say it is related to the cow, it looks more like an antelope. The few remaining individuals live in Vietnam and Laos. The article contains some interesting information on the animal and its bleak prospects, but nothing about the aroid save the following:

"The forest ecologist finds safe footing on the slick slope and grabs a handful of broad, dark-green Araceae leaves. 'Saola like to eat these," [Do] Tuoc says. 'At least, we have seen bite marks.'"

There is a photograph of Mr. Tuoc holding some nondescript taro-like plants in each hand (fibrous roots, perhaps 30 cm petiole height).

The saola diet is unknown, save for the hints that it might like tucking into a luscious aroid. Much of the remainder of the article is a discussion, pro and con, of the idea of attempting to clone the beast in an attempt to preserve it.

Anyone having a liking for extremely rare animals can e-mail me separately and I will send them a pirated scan of the article. I don't think anyone will mind this violation of copyright as long as we don't sell copies.


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