Scientific discoveries are sometimes truly amazing when it comes to the animal reign and now a giant, ancient salamander was found in China.
- The salamander is believed to be 200 years old
- People in China eat this type of salamander as a delicacy
- The amphibian is facing extinction
You’ll probably think that’s not so spectacular, after all, researchers have been finding dinosaurs lately, which are far more impressive. Well, yes, but were they alive? The giant salamander which scientists estimate to be about 200 years old was found alive, wondering in a cave near Chongqing in the Southwest of China.
The discovery was made by a fisherman who found the salamander under a rock. Thinking the animal was ill, he contacted the authorities. After being captured the salamander was taken to a facility where scientists are trying to learn more about the exceptional creature.
Salamanders are amphibians, just like frogs and they are usually small in size. However, this particular salamander was not called a ‘giant’ for nothing. The animal weighs 114 pounds and is over 4.5 feet long. Scientists have classified it as belonging to the Andrias davidianus species, which is the largest amphibian in the world. Although other salamanders of the same species can reach 6 feet in length, they are very rare.
The fact that the salamander is so ancient, although it does come as a surprise it’s not necessarily unnatural, as they are known to be living for up to 200 years. However, in order to live this long, they need to be free. Salamanders of the Andrias davidianus species which are kept in captivity have an average lifespan of only 50 years.
The animal moves very slowly and has nocturnal eyesight, which means it’s difficult for it to see during the day. The environments in which this type of salamander lives and develops are humid places such as streams or lakes and mountain areas in China.
But, as everywhere else around the world, water and soil are becoming more and more polluted by waste. Moreover, the salamanders are also ‘hunted’ by people with exotic food preferences or who are after some sort of natural therapy. All of these are leading to the extinction of this species and the process is not slow at all. In the last 50 years the population of salamanders has dropped by 80 percent.
This is why most of the remaining ones are kept in zoos or facilities and will only live no more than 50 years as opposed to 200, their usual lifespan.
Image source: www.bing.com