“Mosaic Critters” – Part Four
What animal looks like a dog-sized cross between an anteater and a pine cone? Perhaps one of the oddest creatures alive today is the pangolin. Some have called it a mosaic of a sloth, hedgehog, and armadillo all wrapped up into one weird wonder! The modern pangolin looks a little bit like a descendant of the ancient stegosaurus. Although it is a mammal, it has no teeth (just like an anteater). In fact, its head looks so much like an anteater (including the tongue and voracious appetite for ants and termites) that it is often called a “scaly anteater.” But it actually is a completely different order of mammal, the only mammal in the world with scales!
The pangolin’s tongue is longer than its body. When not extended, it hangs down inside the chest cavity. A pangolin’s paws contain long claws that are great for digging, but not so efficient for walking. As a result, African ground pangolins walk like some dinosaurs. When they need to move faster than a waddle, they go up on their hind legs, using their heavy tails for balance, and then walk bipedally across the ground. If the pangolin was only known by fossilized bones, would scientists be tempted to call it a transitional form between ancient reptiles and modern mammals? The pangolin stands as a marvelous example of our God’s creativity!
Posted on June 2, 2016 by dwoetzel.