Having Analyzed The DNA Of The Greater Glider, Scientists Reached The Conclusion That It’s Actually 3 Different Species


It might be hard to believe, but the year 2020 has brought some great things too. Let’s take this adorable creature that you can see in the photos below as an example.

Recently, while analyzing the genetic makeup of the greater glider—an incredibly adorable nocturnal animal native to Australia—Australian scientists discovered that this creature is actually three different species. Apparently, the animal was not recognized as separate species for 228 years.

The greater glider is a possum-sized marsupial that can glide up to 100 meters

Image credits: David Cook

Image credits: David Cook

For years, scientists have been noticing that some greater gliders look quite different from one another. “There has been speculation for a while that there was more than one species of greater glider, but now we have proof from the DNA. It changes the whole way we think about them,” said James Cook University’s PhD student Denise McGregor, according to Australian National University.

The creature was being recognized as a single species for 228 years, until now

Image credits: Denise McGregor and Jasmine Vink

After analyzing the mammal’s DNA, Australian researchers came to the conclusion that there are actually three different species we’re dealing with. You can see all three of the in the picture above. After running tests, researchers found evidence of three operational taxonomic units representing northern (top left), central (bottom left) and southern groups (right).

New study identifies, that the animal is actually 3 different species

Image credits: Vee-kayy

“This year Australia experienced a bushfire season of unprecedented severity, resulting in widespread habitat loss and mortality. As a result, there’s been an increased focus on understanding genetic diversity and structure of species to protect resilience in the face of climate change,” said Dr. Kara Youngentob, a co-author from Australian National University.

“Australia’s biodiversity just got a lot richer”

Image credits: Steven Kuiter

“The division of the greater glider into multiple species reduces the previous widespread distribution of the original species, further increasing conservation concern for that animal and highlighting the lack of information about the other greater glider species,” Dr. Kara Youngentob added, as reported by the Australian National University.

Here’s what people are saying about this discovery

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