New Bird to Science Emphasizes the Critical Need to Conserve the Remaining Dry Forests of Madagascar

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CHICAGO, IL.- In a recent issue of the scientific journal Zootaxa, researchers from Madagascar and the United States described a new species of forest-dwelling rail. The new bird was named Mentocrex beankaensis, with the genus Mentocrex being endemic to Madagascar and the new species beankaensis being coined after the type locality, the Beanka Forest in western central Madagascar. This species was distinguished from another in the same genus, known from the eastern portion of the island, based on aspects of size, plumage, and DNA. The project resulting in this description was the joint efforts of scientists from the University of Antananarivo and Association Vahatra in Madagascar and the Pritzker Laboratory for Molecular Systematics and Evolution at The Field Museum in Chicago. Marie Jeanne Raherilalao and Steve Goodman conducted the morphological portion of the study, and the molecular genetics aspects by Nicholas Bloc