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Southern Tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla)

The Southern Tamandua (Tamandua tetradactyla) is a species of ant eater found in Central and South America. As demonstrated in the photo, Tamanduas spend most of their time in trees, using their long tails and claws to climbing. They also use their tails as a stand to hold themselves upright. They are solitary and active both during the day and the night. Like other anteaters they uyse their claws to break open ant and termite nests and catch the insects on their long sticky tongues. They are not timid and will protect themselves by slashing with their claws. They will even brave the attacks of bees and will break open nests and feed on the grubs and honey.

But you might be wondering why feature a tropical mammal on a website dedicated to the northern Great Lakes States. Cofrin Center for Biodiversity director Bob Howe snapped this photo while in Panama in September. He was there to design a research course for biology students that will be a collaboration between St Norbert's College, UWGB, the Cofrin Center for Biodiversity, and the 1923 Fund, and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Although still in the planning stages students at UWGB and St. Norberts will soon have the opportunity to conduct research related to tropical biodiversity.

Please join us on Thursday, November 30th, at 5:00p.m. Mary Ann Cofrin Hall 208 to listen to tropical geologist Anthony Coates talks about The Bridge that Changed the World: Historical and Ecological Consequences of the Central American Isthmus. In this lecture Dr. Coates will describe important historical implications of the land bridge between North and South America, including descriptions of his own paleontological research in Central America.

For most of the Earth's history Panama and the connection it creates between North and South America did not exist. It wasn't until 3 million years ago that the land bridge formed creating what Dr. Coates has called "the greatest event since the death of the dinosaurs." The land bridge allowed the migration of plants and animals both north and south and greatly impacted the biodiversity of the America's. The ancestors of our porcupine are from South America, and the South American Llama's ancestors were from the north. The isthmus also greatly impacted climate by impacting ocean currents. The warm Gulf Stream intensified and greatly moderated Europe's climate.The Atlantic, now isolated from the Pacific became saltier.

Dr. Coates, former Director for Scientific Research Programs of the Smithsonian Institution and former Deputy Director of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) in Panama, is an authority on the geology of the tropics who has championed a broader outreach of science through public lectures and science programs, including appearances on public television (PBS) and National Public Radio. He also is STRI’s official liaison for a proposed UWGB/St. Norbert College field course in Panama sponsored by the 1923 Fund of Dr. David Cofrin.

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Last updated on May 9, 2014