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Patrice K. Connors @PKurnath
, 18 tweets, 12 min read Read on Twitter
FIRST UP: #1 seed Pygmy Hippo (Choeropsis liberiensis) vs. #9 seed Maned Rat (Lophiomys imhausi)!! #2018MMM
In round 1, the pygmy hippo inadvently stabbed a wandering star-nosed mole with its tusk in a swamp #oops #mybad #2018MMM
While the maned rat dared the platypus to fight over a burrow #ComeAtMeBro but the monotreme, lacking his venom, wisely passed on the encounter #2018MMM
The platypus retreated in the water to float like a butterfly because he couldn't sting like a bee #TheGreatest #ButNotReally #upset #bustedbracket #2018MMM
Quick recap of tonight's combatants: pygmy hippo weights in at 180-275kg and measures a little over 5ft long, whereas maned rat weighs in at 2-3kg and measures just under 2ft long from nose to tail #2018MMM
Our 1-seed has GREAT ADAPTATIONS for a semi-aquatic lifestyle (tightly closed orifices, home-made sunscreen) and for ingesting a plant-based diet #vegetarian #2018MMM
Hippos are foregut fermenters, meaning they have an specialized chamber before the true stomach that houses beneficial microbes, who help break down fiber (Langer, 1988) #winning #2018MMM…
Our 9-seed has GREAT ADAPTATIONS for defense by self-anointing its modified hairs with saliva-bark-poison-paste .... #whoa #thatwilldo #2018MMM
... AND IS ALSO a foregut fermenter!!! According to Scopin & colleagues (2011), maned rats are one of the few rodents with specialized stomachs that eat leaves (what scientists call folivores) #saywhat #coincidence #2018MMM…
Sidebar: another cool rodent with digestive adaptations is the woodrat or packrat (Genus Neotoma), my study species and the focus of #actuallivingscientist @MDeniseDearing's research… #2018MMM
So tonight, it's a battle over dinner #ilikeforegutsandicannotlie #ravenousrodent #hangryhippo #2018MMM
We find both mammals along a steam in Gola Rainforest National Park of Sierra Leone, another hotbed of biodiversity & part of pygmy hippo's natural distribution… #2018MMM
Maned rat has disdain for this much wetter habitat, but there is a plethora of plants available for munching, so it intently goes to foraging #ravenousrodent #2018MMM
Suddenly, there is a loud splash, and Maned rat piloerects - lifting his grey hair to expose his black & white flanks after being disturbed! (Kingdon et al. 2012) #ravenousrodent #2018MMM
Pygmy hippo has entered the scene to forage for ferns & fruits and begin it's 5-6 hour-long daily feeding bout (#actuallivingscientist Robinson 1970 & 1981…) #hangryhippo #2018MMM
Maned rat was ready to take on the similar-sized platypus, but now has second thoughts about protecting its meal from a much larger (& wetter) foe #ravenousrodent #plentymoreplantsintheforest #2018MMM
Maned rat sulks away to find food further away from the pygmy hippo, who has started to tuck in some plants along the stream #2018MMM
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