Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The private life of the long-beaked echidna

From an Economist column on how to set a value on biodiversity in the interests of conservation:
Zaglossus Attenboroughi, a species of long-beaked echidna named after the British naturalist Sir David Attenborough, lives in the Cyclops Mountains in the Indonesian province of Papua. It has many unusual attributes, both social and physical. It is a solitary creature: it meets its own kind only once a year, to mate. The male has a four-headed penis; the offspring (known as a puggle) hatches from an egg and lives in its mother’s pouch until its growing spines make it an uncongenial companion. It is greatly valued by locals—not, unfortunately, for its evolutionary quirks, but as a snack traditionally shared when tribal rivalries have been set aside. From its point of view, peace breaks out inconveniently often among the tribespeople of the Cyclops Mountains, and its grasp on existence is consequently tenuous. On the basis of reported sightings by locals and a few observations of the holes it makes when nosing around for earthworms, it is reckoned still to be around, but nobody is quite sure.
So here is the Meridian Arts Ensemble in Timosoara in 2007 performing a brass quintet arrangement of “Echidna’s Arf”:

For the more conventional rock-band arrangement of the tune, try this. Well, I say conventional…

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