The only mammals in the world that chirp like crickets — by rubbing body parts together — are these strange shrew-like creatures called streaked tenrecs. A BBC film crew has captured their stridulations on camera for the first time.
The animals have special quills on their backs, which look like pale teeth and are noticeably different from the rest of its coarse fur and porcupine-like spines. When a young tenrec gets lost, as in the video below, its family members rub these quills together to produce high-pitched squeaks. The sound penetrates the rainforest undergrowth to help guide the tenrec back to its kin.
About 30 species of tenrecs are found throughout Madagascar, with a few living on the African mainland. The animals share a common ancestor with elephants, aardvarks and manatees. But the only one to communicate in this way is the lowland streaked tenrec, found only in Madagascar.
Their communications are mostly outside the range of human hearing, so filmmakers used bat detectors to ensure they could pick up the tenrecs' ultrasonic calls. They found that the seemingly quiet creatures were actually quite chatty.
From lemurs to fossas, Madagascar is home to a vast array of weird animals — but this one takes the cake. Watch the stridulations in this video clip narrated by David Attenborough.
And the Crazy Christians call this "intelligent design". God must have left this one for the hung-over intern, after seeing the fantastic work done on the Platypus. Amazing stuff God, keep up the good work.
I'm with Jon on this.
These tiny shrew-like creatures "share a common ancestor with elephants, aardvarks and manatees".
Oh evolution, what will you do next?
God does all things for a reason, and this is no exception! You just gotta believe!
I really don’t mean to be so off topic but. People seem to forget the christian religion is hardly original its a mixture of egyptian,sumerian, and the epic of gilgamesh from mesopotamia.
"My purpose in this world is knowledge and the. dissemination of it, and it is I who is to restore the. fruits of my labors to the entire world."
Jon, you bash the idea of a God, but clearly this creature is like that for a reason. Otherwise, evolution would have killed it off. Good job, genius.
Evolution changed the original version of this animal. I.E the "common ancestor" that became elephants, manatees, aardvarks, and this creature. You're the idiot if you think God recycled parts to "design" creatures as big as elephants and as small as shrews. YES, THE ANIMAL IS IN IT'S CURRENT FORM FOR A REASON, IT CHANGED WITH IT'S ENVIRONMENT! Is the original animal that it evolved from still around? No, it took millions of years for environmental pressures to change it into four distinct animals, not just a different species, COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ANIMALS! I hope everyone else on this page tells you how unintelligent your comment sounds.
this thing isn't so much creepy as is, able to make a sound that just sends shivers up your spine, like fingernails on a chalkboard.
What is even better is that you state evolution "would have killed it off". If you had half a brain you would realize that THE LACK OF EVOLUTION is what kills things off, genius.
@jon while I don't agree with bashing people's beliefs. I do agree with you that Squackstick's comment made no sense at all. I mean why would evolution snuff this shrew out when its kind survived an asteroid hitting the planet that took out the dinosaurs. No if anything this creature fit its niche perfectly it has changed little in the millions of years even though it's environment may have.
"My purpose in this world is knowledge and the dissemination of it, and it is I who is to restore the fruits of my labors to the entire world."
I think it looks cute
Jon T, I think you just malcommunicated your first comment because in it, you made it sound like you thought that the shrews had lesser ways of communicating, that they are not as well adapted. Don't get upset and when he said killed it off I think he meant what you said.. anyways chill man. I'm not pro-religion btw, it's crap. The bible is only rich in the values it conveys in it's stories. It's unfortunate that people took it so seriously and that the church got so powerful. We'd be way ahead of where we are technologically speaking.
Evolution is whack! If evolution made the slightest bit of sense at all, then why aren't there any half dog half cats, or half lobster half land animals? If "evolution" did make it this far, don't you think it would've kep't on occurring? And if you say it is, then it's not real noticeable at all! When I look at a dog, I see a dog! I don't see species of dogs that look like they're in the process of evolving into another group of the animal kingdom! Nor do I see that with other animals! Think about it!
i find their high pitched method of communication quite interesting.
I must say, though, that a lot of people seem to forget, that evolution is the change in a species, not the change of a species. if a human is born with one less chromosome, he is not an orangutan, but a human with down syndrome(who doesn't act like an orangutan) and the same goes in reverse.
@nebulation Any of the monster things you want to see would only happen with some sick thing fussing them not with evolution. Evolution is still happening you just don't know what you are looking at. Go take a bio class that's not at your church.
Ironically enough there are valid points to both arguments, though the vehemence with which each party speaks obscures the points that they are attmempting so valiantly to make. Bear in mind I am a Believer, not because I'm right, but because I don't like to think that my life is SOLELY influenced via chance encounters. I like to believe that there's someone out there looking out for me. Gives me peace. But, in the same token, I am a VERY analytical person and I do believe intelligent design is the more rational explanation for the reason of our existence and or current state. I cam to this conclusion a while back when I was asked a series of logical scientific questions. Maybe these will help, bear in mind I'm not saying Im right people, but all religious people are not zealots, and vice versa all scientific peoples are not skeptics.
Question 1: If we evolved from unicellular organisms, which reproduce asexually, what then caused the initial evolution? Evolution by definition requires a NECESSITY for change to occur. Unicellualr organisms have been found in some of the most inhospitable areas on the planet, what then required them to change to survive? An asteroid strike? A gargantuan flood? Both of these cataclysms could be represented in climates that exist to this day, in which unicellular organisms still survive. Or could it have been someone saying "This could be MORE". I believe the latter.
Question 2: The scientific community has repetedly sought to refute the stories of the great flood depicted in the Bible as false. But if the world was created in a Big Bang and everything was forced together in one massive explosion, why then is there such order in the way our world is made up? Why does the Earth's crust layer itself from heaviest to lightest (like a handful of sand dropped into a glass of water? Why does it sit on the PRECISE axis required to sustain gravitational pull enough to keep us as humanity stuck to its surface? Why are we the PRECISE distance away from our central star enough to sustain not just our lives, but sustain all the organisms that give us the ability to exist self sufficiently? There are too many chances there, too many coincidences. Im a gambling man, and when factoring the odds, that's not a group of chances that I'd place my money on. I'd as soon bet on myself winning the lotto 10 consecutive times. I CHOOSE to believe that there is something more.
Question 3: If there is not a higher power of some sort, why are there parts of our brains that resonate and respond ONLY WITH PRAYER/DEVOTION? Why do we only utlize these parts when we speak to a higher power IF ONE DOESN'T EXIST? Is it to make our lives better? Is it to give us peace? Is it to help us sleep at night? Or is it just to give that area of the brain something to do. I think on this one, if I had my drathers, I'd rather believe in the thing that gives me peace, and helps me sleep at night.
In other words, we CHOOSE what we belive people. None of us are right yet, and only time/death will tell us if we're wrong. One final set questions that I'll leave you with
If science is right, and there is no afterlife, what do I have to lose if I believe in a higher power?
If religion is right, and there is, what do I have to lose if I don't?
The article states that there are 30 "species" of tenrecs on the island and "a few" found on the mainland. Elephants, manatees, and aardvarks are NOT included as a species of tenrecs. A member of a species is usually defined by their ability to breed with one another. They have a common ancestor that each animal descended from. After tens of millions of years of evolution(probably hundreds of millions), these animals are now defined by there own genus. The last time I checked, elephants couldn't make a baby with a manatee and aren't considered the same "species". All four animals still have parts of their DNA that are shared by a creature that existed in the WAY distant past. My point is that if you have enough time, an animal can change into completely different, incompatible organisms. Can a biologist please comment on the difference between a species and a genus?
My argument was never against God, just the argument that something is so unique that it must have been created by God. That thinking is why humans have put themselves on a pedestal by inventing religion.
I don't think there's anything wrong with your choice to believe in a higher power, that is totally your decision.
1) I don't think evolution requires NECESSITY. It requires genetic changes due to environmental factors that over the course of a long time result in physical changes. This could just be due to the degree of error that DNA can undergo when replicating, which happens very often in bacteria and viruses. They have relatively inefficient proofreading enzymes for replication which results in mutated DNA, and if this makes a benificial change, the organism has a "leg up" on it's brethren and has a higher chance of being succesful at passing its genes along. Once DNA changes enough and proteins that are coded by the DNA change as well, anything becomes possible. Certain genes formed that would allow an organism to self-regulate its growth which was a step towards being able to form multi-cellular bodies.
2) Do you know how many planets exist? No, because nobody knows. What we do know is that the number of them is.... just huge... to put it scientifically :P. With that many planets around that many stars in that many galaxies, it doesn't have to be PRECISE to happen. Actually, it's very imprecise. If it were precise, we would be finding planets that resemble ours everywhere, which is absolutely not the case (even though we are beginning to pinpoint certain exo-earths).
3) Doing something/believing in something that other people don't can rewire your brain and the connections that neurons make. This would allow for neural activity that you only see in specific individuals. The ability to rewire your brain and regulate other internal functions can be heavily biased by what someone thinks. Take the placebo effect for example. People ailing from something can actually feel better if they take a pill that they think is doing something. This is all internally self regulated. If someone thinks they are speaking to a higher power, I have no problem believing that their brain could activate neural highways that other people wouldn't use.
Nice, now we're getting somewhere. It's good to hear a rational voice on a scientific website. Thanks jc.
Wait... so you are saying if there is a reason for earth to have been at a perfectly precise(for life) angle, distance, location etc. that there would be many other earth like planets? Please explain yourself. There is an equal chance, statistically, of any planet being like earth regardless of whether it's conditions are perfect enough to facilitate life.
Are you saying that if a higher power created earth at a perfect position that the higher power would've created the situation multiple times?
(Sorry if I missed something-- I don't mean to be an idiot. Just curious. And I am not here to bash religions or the scientific community.)
I hate to turn a article about an interesting animal into a creation-evolution debate, but I'll do it.
The evolutionary theory is based on the geologic column, there are vertical petrified trees extending through multiple rock layers(just google it). Thereby disproving the theory that the earth is millions of years old and providing evidence for a flood.
One can counter this argument with the fact that animals start simple and move to more complex throughout the column, however, this makes no difference. The column cannot be more than a few thousand years old with the existence of these trees.
To whom are you referring? I meant that our planet hits all the precise marks for harboring life due to random chance. With an unfathomable amount of planets out there, it is only a matter of odds when one will fall within the perfect zone. That kind of removes the idea of precision (creation) out of the equation. If there was a wheel with 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 numbers on it and I always chose 86, it would eventually happen.
That is a very uninformed statement to make. I've never heard of the vertical petrified trees, however after about ten minutes of research online it seems to make sense. They are a peculiar occurrence, however so are a lot of other things that have already been proved (well it is difficult to discuss scientific proof with religious folks). I refer you to this article:
Read through that and come back and make a statement as definitive and uninformed as you have.
Sorry, I reread that last sentence I wrote and it's rather rude. All I mean is that you have made an extremely defiant statement on a scientific website, with nothing to go with it.
@ jcbullen: Thank you for the link, I had trouble finding a link that seemed to provide real scientific theory and not somewhere that merely said "god did it". I am simply trying to point out that for the existence of vertical petrified trees and evolution to go hand in hand, one would have to believe that the trees rotted over millions of years.
Back to the creation theory. We can all agree that most animals communicate through some sort of vocalization. For the layman out there; pigs oink, whales "sing", dogs bark, humans speak, etc. Did God just get a wild hair up his butt one day and decide that crickets and tenrecs will be the two species that rub body parts together to communicate? Did God find it amusing to make crickets so obnoxiously loud while making the tenrec "language" completely inaudible to humans?
@ Jon T: I don't know, maybe. Not to be rude but, could you restate the question, I don't quite understand where you're going with it.
Shame on you Popsci.
You should not use terms like creepy on animals. Every one on this earth needs to be treated equally. The problem now is species are being threatened to extinction just because of human perception.
If I may, I think he might have been challenging the whole creation through "intelligent" design idea. Why would God make one thing this way, and another that way in a seemingly senseless way. How do all of the things that exist, both amazing and atrocious, fit into a scheme that has been deemed intelligent? If everything has been put here by a creator, what kind of sick bastard is this being?
There is no reason for a justification of your lack of belief. As I said it is a choice to believe. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and a confidence in things yet unseen. Some people can't adapt to that, that doesn't make them any better or any worse than those that can. Its what works for each individual. There's no reason to use conjecture and propability to attempt to prove the point. As I stated in prevous post several times, I BELIEVE. All the so called facts in the world cannot take away or change a true belief. And if the existence of God was proved tomorrow, I wouldn't expect your belief in science to falter. As a matter of fact, it would probably get stronger from the opposition. The world is sorely lacking in things to believe in, my point is everyone should believe in whatever works for them, and if they're able to shine a little light in someones life with what they believe that's all the better. John 10:10