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A real-life Pokemon: On the trail of a mysterious squirrel


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Not knowing their scientific relevance, they'd throw the bodies out. The tiny, tough animals weren't good eating. In fact, in Bubi, the local language, the villagers had a name for Zenkerella: Bit by a squirrel? There's now a code for that W Fernandez explained scientists' interest in the animals and asked the villagers to preserve any bodies they came across. A few days before Fernandez was supposed to leave the area, the chief of one of the local villages said an "inferior to all squirrels" had been caught and killed in a trap.

For the first time, scientists would have access to a whole creature. Several months later, traps caught two more creatures, and just a few weeks ago, they got confirmation that a male and female were caught by the traps and killed. Tiny coffin reveals youngest preserved fetus from ancient Egypt. Fernandez's camera traps have not had as much luck, and none has been captured alive, but even the dead ones will tell researchers a lot more than we currently know.

Scientists swabbed their little rodent cheeks and ran their DNA, discovering that the animals were not related to gliders, as scientists had thought. Instead, the creature is a kind of living fossil. Genetically, they have evolved, but atomically ,they haven't changed all that much since they first roamed the planet more than 31 million years ago, at least. To put that in perspective, Seiffert said, humans last physically diverged from chimpanzees about 6 million to 8 million years ago.

Only a handful of other "living fossils" have been identified, such as the pen-tailed tree shrew and the monito del monte , a chubby kind of wide-eyed marsupial that's slightly larger than a mouse and another excellent climber. Scientists know a lot more about those than Zenkerella. They don't know much about how this African creature eats, how they socialize, how they mate or what the little guys do for fun.

Researchers hope to capture a live Zenkerella so they can tell his or her interesting back story. But with these dead specimens, scientists will at least be able to study what they ate, and that could help if they do ever hope to catch one alive. Fossils reveal dinosaur-killing asteroid affected Antarctic creatures too. What they do know, based on the new DNA results, is that Zenkerella is a distant, rather than kissing, cousin to two other scaly-tailed squirrels.

The difference is, those other creatures have webs between their elbows and legs that help them glide between the trees. Alas, Zenkerella cannot soar between branches. It gets categorized in the same family because all three have those scales at the bottom of their tails. Scientists think the scales work like the tread on your gym shoe, helping the creatures get a better grip as they climb trees.

They can use their tail like a fifth limb, or so scientists think. Until researchers do see them alive, the scales could just be an interesting fashion statement, for all they know. The villagers who have accidentally caught these creatures over the years believe the Zenkerellas are nocturnal and live high in the trees, sleeping in tree hollows. The animals must come to the ground at some point, as they do get caught occasionally in these traps. Zekerellas are not considered endangered.

The Union of Conservation of Nature puts them in the species of "least concern," because they are thought to live in many places and habitats in Africa, but of course no one is certain.

Seiffert hopes someday he will be more certain about what the animals do and how they live. With George Clooney in his directorial venture, the period comedy Leatherheads , about the early years of professional American football , Zellweger portrayed a Chicago Tribune newspaper reporter.

Her next film was the comedy New in Town , in which she played a Miami high-powered consultant adjusting to her new life in a small Minnesota town. Aliens , [92] and starred as the mother of actor George Hamilton in the comedy My One and Only , [93] which despite being distributed for a limited release to certain parts of the United States only, [94] was acclaimed by critics. In Case 39 , a supernatural thriller Zellweger filmed in , she took on the role of a social worker assigned to take care of a mysterious girl.

The film had a lengthy post-production and was not released in theaters in the United States until After My Own Love Song was released, Zellweger took a six-year hiatus from screen acting, [] as she found the time to "go away and grow up a bit".

Reflecting on this period of time in a July interview with British Vogue magazine, she explained: Following her six-year withdrawal from acting, Zellweger made her career comeback opposite Colin Firth and Patrick Dempsey in the romantic comedy Bridget Jones's Baby , the third part in the Bridget Jones franchise, portraying Jones in her forties and single as she discovers that she is pregnant and must work out who the father is.

In the crime drama The Whole Truth , directed by Courtney Hunt and opposite Keanu Reeves , Zellweger took the role of Loretta Lassiter, the mother of a teenager suspected of murdering his wealthy father. In Same Kind of Different as Me , a film adaptation of the autobiographical book by the same name , Zellweger starred with Djimon Hounsou , Olivia Holt and Jon Voight , as the wife of an art dealer whose struggling relationship is changed for the better by a homeless man.

The Wrap , nevertheless, remarked: Zellweger has appeared on the covers and photo sessions of several magazines throughout her career; she appeared on the September cover of Vanity Fair , [] and in subsequent years, the list has grown to include Vogue , Detour , Allure and Harper's Bazaar. After Zellweger's appearance at the 21st-annual Elle magazine Women in Hollywood Awards in October , there was media and social commentary that she was hardly recognizable, which resulted in speculation that she had undertaken substantial cosmetic surgery.

Who doesn't as they get older?! But I am different. From to , Zellweger was engaged to Jim Carrey. In , she started dating Bradley Cooper , after having met on the set of Case 39 in Zellweger took part in the HIV prevention campaign of the Swiss federal health department. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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