Aardvarks

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Overview:

A recent study from Oregon State University found that a warming climate is negatively impacting the chances of long-term survival of aardvarks in sub-Saharan Africa.

About Aardvarks

  • It gets its name from a South African word meaning “earth pig.”
  • Appearance: They look like a pig, especially with its body and snout.
  • They actually share common ancestors with elephants and golden moles. 
  • They are nocturnal mammals, most active at night and tend to live alone. During the day, they sleep curled up in a ball in their burrows. 
  • This species has been assessed as having the highest score for evolutionary distinctiveness,
  • This is because it does not have many close relatives and has been evolving independently for millions of years.
  • The Aardvark is the sole surviving species of its order, Tubulidentata, and its closest relatives have been extinct since the Pleistocene era (2 million years ago).
  • Diet: The aardvark’s diet consists almost entirely of ants and termites. 
  • Habitat: Aardvarks are found over much of the southern two-thirds of Africa and their habitat is savannah and semiarid areas.
  • Ecosystem Roles: Aardvarks are important in their ecosystem because the holes they dig are used by a variety of other animals for shelter.
  • Conservation Status
    • IUCN :Least Concern
  • The recent study concluded that the genetic structure of aardvarks is strongly shaped by climate, with arid areas limiting gene flow and reflected apparent isolation by adaptation associated with temperature.

Q1) What is Savanna vegetation?

It is a vegetation type that grows under hot, seasonally dry climatic conditions and is characterized by an open tree canopy (i.e., scattered trees) above a continuous tall grass understory (the vegetation layer between the forest canopy and the ground). The largest areas of savanna are found in Africa, South America, Australia and India etc.

Source: Aardvarks are crucial for sub-Saharan Africa’s ecosystem — but climate change is impacting their chances of survival