Facebook is the source of a bit of a back and forth today about the new tapir I profiled here yesterday.
As I noted, zoologist Marc Van Roosmalen has been gathering evidence of a pygmy tapir for decades.
Marcus van Roosmalen commented:
“I discovered the dwarf tapir provisionally named by me Tapirus pygmaeus already back in 2000. I tried to publish the find but the referees claimed I had confused the skull with that of a juvenile Brazilian tapir. So, I decided to ‘publish’ the “Pretinho” (=Blackie) it on my website www.marcvanroosmalen.org and recently again in my book Barefoot through the Amazon. Just a matter of time till the scientific world is going to accept the 20 or so other megafauna discoveries I did exclusively in the larger Rio Aripuana basin. Most stunningly the dwarf manatee and the Pontoporia dolphin adapted to the clearwaters of the Rio Aripuana and some of its tributaries (Rio Arauazinho and Rio Juma). Trying to publish these caused me to be thrown in a public jail in Manaus sentenced by a federal judge to 14+ yrs in prison. “Crimes against Nature”, or “Biopiracy”. I still have to hide myself from the state and federal environmental institutes in the Brazilian Amazon, even after being acquitted by the Supreme Court in Brasilia, back in 2009! Thanks, Robert for posting me on this. MARC”
Mongabay.com wrote: “I have little doubt that this was probably the same tapir Marcus wrote about years ago. But it should be noted that Marcus wasn’t the only one aware of the possibility of the new species. The lead scientist on the paper spent 10 years researching it before publishing. Other tapir scientists were in on the loop and quietly waited the results. Why the credit goes to this team in particular is because they put in the time and effort including years of research (genetic tests and morphological studies) to confirm that this is very likely a new species. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Marcus’ other new species are confirmed in the future. But it takes a lot of years to build the evidence needed to convince the world of a new species. – Jeremy”
Of course, let us not forget, Teddy Roosevelt knew about this tapir a hundred years ago. And it was ethnoknown, probably, for centuries.