Scientists have discovered a new species of hippopotamus in Africa. Known as the eastern or “common” hippopotamus, the species has some subtle differences compared to the more widely recognised common hippopotamus. Experts discovered the separate species by conducting genetic testing on hippos across Africa and compared the data to what was already known about the animals’ populations. While it is currently unclear if the eastern hippopotamus is endangered, the discovery is likely to result in targeted conservation efforts for both species. It was currently too early to consider renaming the two species, experts added.
Experts Discover New Species of Hippopotamus in Africa
Exciting news from Africa – earlier this year, scientists announced that they have discovered a new species of hippopotamus! While hippos are typically thought of as one species, it turns out there are actually two distinct types: the common hippopotamus and the newly discovered separate species, the eastern or “common” hippopotamus.
Here’s what we know so far about this fascinating find.
How Was the New Hippopotamus Species Discovered?
The discovery of the new species actually came about thanks to some genetic detective work. Researchers looked at the genetic makeup of hippos across Africa, from Senegal all the way to South Africa. They then compared that data to the existing knowledge about hippopotamus populations, which helped them identify the eastern or “common” hippopotamus as truly distinct from the common hippopotamus.
What Makes the Eastern Hippopotamus Different?
While it’s difficult to spot visual differences between the two different types of hippopotamus, there are a few subtle distinctions between the common hippopotamus and the eastern hippopotamus.
One difference is that the eastern hippopotamus is more closely related to the pygmy hippopotamus, a much smaller and more elusive animal that lives in the forests and swamps of West Africa. This suggests that the eastern hippopotamus may have evolved differently and earlier than the common hippopotamus.
Additionally, the eastern hippopotamus is found in a more confined region of Africa compared to the common hippopotamus. While common hippos can be found in many different African countries, including Tanzania, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Malawi, the eastern hippopotamus is limited to just a few countries in East Africa.
Q: Is the eastern hippopotamus endangered?
A: Currently, there is not enough data to determine the conservation status of the eastern hippopotamus. More research is needed to understand the population numbers and threats that the species may face.
Q: How will this discovery impact conservation efforts for hippos in Africa?
A: The discovery of a new hippo species highlights the importance of further research and conservation efforts to protect these unique animals. It is likely that both common and eastern hippopotamus populations will need targeted conservation efforts to ensure their survival.
Q: Are there any plans to rename the two species?
A: While the eastern hippopotamus is technically a new species, it’s likely that both species will continue to be referred to by their current common names, “common hippopotamus” and “eastern or common hippopotamus.” This is because the “common” naming convention has been in use for many years and is widely recognized.