New glow in the dark marsupials have been discovered in Australia. Some scientists down under stumbled upon the rave-ready animals while researching platypus in the country. A study published in Mammalia showed that they turned all sorts of delightful colors when exposed to UV light. Now, the Western Australian Museum has found that Wombats and other creatures exhibit the same characteristics. Curator of the Mammalogy wing of the museum, Kenny Tavouillon talked to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation about the discovery, which he has to see for himself.
"We borrowed it and turned off the lights in the collection and looked around for what was glowing and not glowing," Travouillon explained. "The first one we checked was the platypus obviously. We shone the light and they were also glowing, it confirmed the research."
He continued, "The benefit is probably so they can see their species from a distance and they can approach them because they know that it is safe to go towards that animal.”
When the platypus discovery was made, the research team responsible talked to Live Science about their findings. It was a bit of a random development, but not an unwelcome one for the researchers in Chicago. Before long, they had other outlets approaching them to talk about the latest findings.
"We were preparing for our second day at the Field Museum in Chicago to document biofluorescence in New World flying squirrels, and I started wondering how broadly distributed this trait might be within the animal kingdom," Northland College associate professor of natural resources Erik Olson told Live Science. "Plus, who doesn’t want to examine a platypus specimen? We all agreed that we should explore this idea."
"If there is an ecological function, it likely has to do with interactions between platypuses and other species," such as predators, Olson continued. "However, there is a possibility that the trait has little or no ecological function. Only further research can tell… Our discovery of this trait reminds us that the natural world is still full of mysteries. Hopefully, our work shines a light on this unique and near-threatened species."0comments
Did you know these animals could glow? Let us know down in the comments!
Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images