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Jessica Light @je_light
, 22 tweets, 14 min read Read on Twitter
NEXT UP: 7th seeded Porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) vs 10th seeded Delhi Rhesus (aka, Rhesus Monkey or Rhesus Macaque; Macaca mulatta) #2018MMM
Erethizon dorsatum are the 2nd largest rodents in North America (1st place goes to beavers), weighing anywhere between 5-14 kg (23-64 stoats #stoatsasmeasurement) #2018MMM
When we think porcupines, we think quills, right? Quills & spines have evolved multiple, independent times across the mammal tree of life as a defense strategy & are excellent examples of convergent #evolution (see the hedgehog battle) (…) #2018MMM
Want to learn more about anitpredator defenses? Follow Ted Stankowich @CSULBMammalLab (example pubs:… &…) #ActualLivingScientist #2018MMM
Important! Porcupines do not shoot their quills. Physical contact is needed & these refs describe how the process works… &…. In regards to the 2nd link: Uldis Roze = world authority on porcupines #ActualLivingScientist #2018MMM
In an urban environment, porcupines can be quite destructive. With an estimated number of quills at ~30,000 (…), many animals suffer porcupine-induced injuries. Do a quick google image search for "dog quills" & you'll see what I mean. I'll wait #2018MMM
The herbivorous diet of porcupines is deficient in salt, so they will gnaw on (with their impressive rodent incisors) human structures, tools, etc., as a source of sodium chloride. Porcupines can also damage trees (bad for lumber industry), crops, & ornamental plants #2018MMM
Porcupines (Order Rodentia) & rhesus macaques (Order Primates) are both members of superorder Euarchontoglires & last shared a common ancestor ~90 mya ( Rhesus macaques are Old World monkeys & diverged from the lineage leading to humans ~25 mya #2018MMM
Rhesus macaques are full of "Did you know?" factoids: large cheek pouches to store food, possess the hereditary blood antigen Rh-factor (shared with humans), often used in research, good swimmers, etc.… &… #2018MMM
Widespread across Asia & habitat generalists, rhesus macaques are adaptable & can be found in cities, esp. areas of rapid urbanization. In New Delhi, India (hence "Delhi Rhesus" in our bracket), monkeys have been displaced into urban centers & populations have exploded #2018MMM
Plus, those practicing the Hindu religion consider monkeys to be sacred animals & even feed them certain days of the week. In New Delhi, rhesus macaques number >7,000; they destroy crops, steal food, terrorize, bite (watch out for rabies, tuberculosis, etc), & kill #2018MMM
Aggressive, not afraid of humans, & with no natural predators (although languar monkeys have been used to try to control populations), rhesus macaques are going rogue in New Delhi… & #2018MMM
But, tonight's battle is not in New Delhi. It's east of Calgary (Alberta, Canada) in some trees along a highway, a common porcupine hang-out (…; @inaturalist). Our highly-adaptable rhesus macaque is not bothered by the change in scenery (or snow) #2018MMM
Our macaque is a young male, ~5 yrs old, full of gusto & canines. The porcupine is girdling the upper limbs of a pine tree for bark. Bark is part of the diet of rhesus macaques & our monkey quickly ascends #2018MMM
Hearing rustling, our porcupine chatters his teeth in warning #2018MMM
The rhesus macaque has never encountered a spiky creature before & being an impulsive male, he does not heed the warning. He ignores the porcupine & reaches for some bark #2018MMM
Our porcupine whips its tails around & emits a strong odor while making contact with the macaque… #2018MMM
Our rhesus macaque screams in response & looks at its hand in disbelief. What just happened? What is that smell? Rather than be pricked again, the impetuous rhesus macaque flees #2018MMM
The rhesus macaque overestimates his ability to navigate among the pine trees, misjudging his jumping prowess… h/t @Mammals_Suck #2018MMM
Aiming to land in the terminal branches of a pine, Delhi rhesus grabs onto an electrical wire... #2018MMM
...and is promptly electrocuted, a major cause of mortality in urban rhesus macaques. The smell of burnt fur permeates the cold, Canada air & our monkey dies an electrifying death… h/t @Mammals_Suck #DirectorsCut #2018MMM
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