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Mauna Dasari @chumblebiome
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NEXT UP: #2 seed Cape Town Chacma Baboon (Papio ursinus) vs #7 seed Porcupine (Erethizon dorsatum) #2018MMM
It's round 1 all over again: Primate vs Spiky thing! #2018MMM Unlike R1, tonight's battle was a collaboration between @je_light and I!
Baboons are in the same primate group as rhesus macaques (Cercopithecidae). These Old World monkeys last shared a common ancestor with New World porcupines (Erethizontidae) ~90 mya ( #2018MMM
Unlike the last primate that faced off against porcupine, baboons may know a little something about spiky critters. Baboons & Old World porcupines (genus Hystrix) co-occur, but rarely interact due to different activity patterns (baboons are diurnal; Hystrix nocturnal) #2018MMM Cape porcupine, a distant relative of the North American Porcupine
Although both Hystrix & Erethizon are porcupines, they belong to 2 distinct families & are not closely related. Regardless, a quill is a quill no matter the species. #2018MMM Erethizon quillsHystrix quills
Tonight's battle takes place in Cape Town, where our Chacma baboon just made a meal out of a trash-annointed hedgehog #2018MMM
While the hedgehog was a welcome source of fresh meat for Baboon, the taste of trash-fish was not great & our baboon needs to wash out its mouth (in addition to its daily requirement of water to drink). The Chacma baboon starts searching for a source of water #2018MMM
Open sources of water in the city are more scarce since the drought started 3 years ago. The human residents of the city have managed to conserve enough water to push back "Day Zero",the day they run out of water, from April to July… #2018MMM #WorldWaterDay
While this drought is thought to be a once-in-a-millenium event, events like these will increase in freq and be harder to prepare for due to human-mediated climate change. #ActualLivingScientist @AYHoekstra talks about this (on #WorldWaterDay) in… #2018MMM
The leaky taps in the poorer parts of the city that Baboon might have normally visited are much more actively guarded now. Instead, he heads to the wealthier part of the city, where there might be a pool he can drink from… #2018MMM #WorldWaterDay
Sneaking into an unguarded backyard, Baboon freezes in his tracks. A porcupine is already at the small pool. It's daytime, much warmer in Cape Town than Calgary, & the bark she was eating has made her thirsty. Porcupine is not happy to see yet another non-human primate. #2018MMM the angriest looking picture of a porcupine I could find...they are normally too photogenic
Unlike the poor fried macaque from R1, Baboon has seen the Cape porcupine (Hystrix) around. But this porcupine is just half the size of the Cape porcupine! No problem. He approaches the pool & the porcupine carefully, determined to get the fish-stank out of his mouth #2018MMM
Porcupine, not being familiar with baboons, sizes up the primate & estimates him to be ~40kg. That's about the size of a young cougar (AKA puma or mountain lion). No problem… #2018MMM
Our porcupine places itself between the water & the baboon, faces its backside towards the primate, & arches its back to better expose the barbed quills & display black-and-white warning (AKA aposematic) coloration… #2018MMM so fierce, porcupine ready to puncture
In doing so, the porcupine presents a powerful visual signal: "Do not mess with me!" But, perhaps this is a risky move? Porcupines are not always successful taking on cougars (…). Porcupine emits its warning odor & waits. #2018MMM
The "warning smell has a penetrating quality somewhat similar to the smell of goat or perhaps an exotic cheese", which is not at all a deterrent to our trash eating baboon. He advances while "threat yawning", showing off his large canines. #2018MMM…
Porcupine is not buying into Baboon's threat. Porcupine swings his tail into Baboon and leaves the primate with a face full of quills… &… #2018MMM
Baboon yelps and sprints up the nearest tree, pulling at the quills in his face. Little does he know that'll only make the pain worse. #2018MMM
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