Meet This Newly Discovered Flying Squirrel
North America’s newest mammal, Humboldt’s flying squirrel, helps solve an evolutionary mystery.
A new species of flying squirrel has been found in the Pacific Northwest. It’s been dubbed Humboldt’s flying squirrel, in honor of the great naturalist Alexander von Humboldt.
The discovery means that three—not two—species of the furred gliders live in North America, and it changes our understanding of how these squirrels evolved and spread across the continent, scientists report today in the Journal of Mammalogy.
The new species, Earth’s 45th known flying squirrel, also adds to the ongoing tally of our planet’s biodiversity—an increasingly urgent matter, given the high rate of extinctions.
Researchers will want to take a closer look at the role these gliders play in their ecosystem. And they’ll want to assess how well they’re doing, especially because they’re found in