New ‘Moby Dick’ lizard species found in Madagascar

Agence France Presse

Published — Friday 18 January 2013

Last update 17 January 2013 2:21 am

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MONTPELLIER: A new lizard species has been discovered in Madagascar and named “Moby Dick” mermaid skink — after the albino sperm whale imagined by Herman Melville — for its flipper-like forelimbs and unpigmented skin, France’s National Center for Scientific Research said Tuesday.
The CNRS said the “Sirenoscincus mobydick” presents a unique combination of anatomical features that can be found in amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds. The discovery, made by French, Malagasy, American and German researchers, was published in the Zoosystema journal at the end of December.
Because of its life underground, the animal’s skin has lost pigmentation and its eyes have almost disappeared. And although the lizard has retained forelimbs, its hindlimbs have completely disappeared.

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