For those with an interest in the wild world of big cats and other critters, two news stories from this week will surely delight.
First off, archaeologists have discovered the only known remains of the long-extinct scimictar cat (of the saber-toothed tiger family) on the South American continent. Fossils of 6 of the big cats dating back 1.8 million years were found alongside those of panthers, wolves, camels (!), condors, ducks and horses.
Any guesses as to how these archaeological gems were unearthed? Yep, while digging for oil! Employees of the state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) came across them while prospecting in Monagas State.
Researcher Ascanio Rincon of the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Investigation told AFP, “It’s South America’s most important discovery in 60 years.”
Now, to bring our story up to the present day, Venezuelan zookeepers are looking forward to a little help from their counterparts in Cuba. The Cubans will send animals to Venezuela in exchange for medical equipment as part of an ongoing barter between the countries. Some 10 specimens are under negotiation, including a six-month old giraffe named “Evo” in honor of Bolivia’s President Evo Morales. Reuters has the scoop.