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ASSIGNMENT: Evolution of a certain Species through Time

Common Name: Pangolin (in Fig.1.1)


Order: Pholidota
Family: Manidae
Brief Overview: Pangolins or scaly anteaters are a group
of unusual mammals with tough, protective keratin scales.
Specialised for feeding on ants and termites, they occupy a niche
equivalent to that of the American anteaters.
Distribution: Mainly on South East Asia: Myanmar,
Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, and some parts of Indonesia. The
fossil record implies that the ancestors of modern day pangolins
colonized Africa before Asia, suggesting Asian pangolins evolved Fig. 1.1 A Sunda Pangolin
later than their African relatives. (Manis Javanica)
Evolutionary
Background: From Fig. 1.2, it is easy to see that the giant armadillo, giant anteater, giant
pangolin, and spiny anteater share similar body types. They crouch to walk in much the same way, and
their faces are narrow and long. A likely
explanation is that at one time, when
Earth had one giant landmass called
Pangea, there probably existed an
organism that is the common ancestor of
all four of these animals. As each
population became more adapted to its
environment and as Pangea seperated,
these four species were created. Their
differences are a result of behavorial
changes, such as where they live and
what they eat.

Fig. 1.2 The Geographic Distribution of Giant Anteater,


Giant Armadillo, Spiny Anteater, and Giant Pangolin.

Additional Hypothesis: The overall form of a pangolin is


similar to that of a stegosaurid a long thick tail, highest
point at hips, nose to ground. The proportion of the limbs is
also similar. A pangolin's skull, which bears little
resemblance to that of other living mammals, is quite similar
to that of a stegosaurid. The only clear distinction between
Fig. 1.3 Main figure: Giant Pangolin
the two is that the fossil animals we call stegosaurus lived
(Smutsia gigantes). Inset: A typical
in the "Age of Reptiles," while the ones we call pangolins
reconstruction of the familiar Stegosaurus.
lived in the "Age of Mammals."

Sources: On the Origins of New Forms of Life: A New Theory by Dr. Gene McCarthy; http://edgeofexistence.org/mam
mals /species_info.php?id=1410 ; http://crcaroline.blogspot.com/2012/03/how-geographic-distrib-supports.html

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