Discoveries, just like inspiration, can happen in the most unusual of places. Some credit their time on the lavatory for certain strokes of genius. Discoveries on the bathroom are perhaps rarer but no longer possible. For example, Juan de Roux( likely) took the first ever picture of a living Colombian weasel, just as the little mammal roosted on a toilet seat.
The picture was take place within 2011, but the breakthrough simply happened last year when de Roux, who is an architect/ designer and a prof at the Pontifical Xavierian University in Colombia, uploaded the image to the citizen science project iNaturalist and labeled it as a long-tailed weasel( Mustela frenata ). He wasn’t persuaded about his identification of the animal and consulted papers on a potential better classification.
A paper, published in Mammalian Species in 2014 by Hector Ramirez and Bruce Patterson, describes the Colombian weasel (< em> Mustela felipei ), who up to that phase “ve never been” photographed alive. Ramirez together with de Roux have now published another paper based on the new portraits.
“At first I was a bit skeptical, read that this is a rare species. But could see in the holotype’s pelt a pitch-black elliptical spot in the ventral component that simply made this species unmistakable, so I chastised my id in iNat, and then the observation started getting starred, ” de Roux said in an iNaturalist blog.
Little is known about this animal. It’s perhaps one of the smallest carnivores in the nations of the world at exclusively 22 centimeters (8. 7 inches) in duration , not including the tail. It is South America’s smallest weasel and it is endemic to the Andes. All that is known about the species comes from only six dead specimens are available in five orientations in Colombia and Ecuador. No amaze, it is considered the continent’s rarest carnivore.
“I still cannot conceive I was lucky to see this animal and take these pics, ” de Roux said. “Needless to say, I never verified one of these again. But at least I can gladly assure that this area has remained basically unaltered for the past decade, so it has to be out there. Perhaps this animal is not so uncommon, but the lack of knowledge about it, combined with its secretive nature, had led to its rarity.”
This story once again discloses the influence and importance of citizen science in attaining brand-new discoveries.