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  1. #1
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    New Snake Species With 'Great Aggression' Revealed by Scientists

    By Robyn White
    Nature Reporter
    Newsweek

    Researchers in China have discovered a new species of mountain pit viper with "great aggression."

    Scientifically named Ovophis jenkinsi, the discovery was made in the Yunnan province, in the remote region of Yingjiang County. The new species was named in honor of renowned herpetologist Robert Jenkins.

    The Ovophis jenkinsi stands out due to its distinctive coloration, ranging from dark brownish-gray to deep orange-brown, adorned with trapezoidal patches along its back. These physical characteristics not only differentiate it from other pit vipers, but also highlight how diverse the species is.

    The discovery process involved extensive fieldwork and the use of advanced technology. Researchers utilized high-resolution aerial photographs and an optimized artificial intelligence model to accurately map the habitat and health of trees across the region, indirectly leading to the identification of the new viper species. This method allowed the researchers to cover a vast area with unprecedented precision, enhancing their understanding of the ecosystem and its inhabitants.


    Ovophis jenkinsi
    A picture shows the newly discovered Ovophis jenkinsi. The viper species was found in China. XIANCHUN QIU


    One of the most intriguing aspects of the Ovophis jenkinsi is its behavior. Unlike many snakes that prefer to flee when threatened, this viper exhibits aggressive defensive tactics.

    "It is usually slow-moving but shows great aggression when disturbed," the researchers wrote. "When threatened, these snakes inflate their bodies to make themselves appear larger and strike quickly."

    This behavior, coupled with its venomous bite, indicates the viper's evolutionary adaptations for survival in the mountainous terrains of Yunnan.

    "We will be collecting more information about O. jenkinsi in the future, including their appearance, distribution, and habits, to improve our understanding of this species," the researchers wrote in the study.

    In their conclusion, the scientists said the discovery of Ovophis jenkinsi is a testament to the rich biodiversity of Yunnan. It also emphasizes the need for continued research and conservation efforts to protect the unique species in the area.

    This finding not only adds a new member to the pit viper family, but also helps scientists understand more of their intricate ecosystems and habitats.
    Last edited by Homebody; 06-13-2024 at 08:53 AM.
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  3. #2
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    Re: New Snake Species With 'Great Aggression' Revealed by Scientists

    For the scientifically inclined, here is a link to the research paper: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC11161677/.
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  5. #3
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    Do you know the source for these quoted statements attributed to the authors: "great aggression" and "It is usually slow-moving but shows great aggression when disturbed"? They do not appear in the published paper. They seem to be lifted from this report published one day before the Newsweek article (which is the only other place a web search finds them):

    https://phys.org/news/2024-06-specie...iper-china.pdf

    Also, this: "The discovery process involved extensive fieldwork and the use of advanced technology. Researchers utilized high-resolution aerial photographs and an optimized artificial intelligence model to accurately map the habitat and health of trees across the region, indirectly leading to the identification of the new viper species. This method allowed the researchers to cover a vast area with unprecedented precision, enhancing their understanding of the ecosystem and its inhabitants." Nowhere in the published paper do the terms 'artificial', 'AI', 'computer', 'intelligence', or 'aerial' appear, and the four habitat photos are not claimed to have connection to the discovery process.

    About the discovery process, the authors state, "In 2018 and 2023, five specimens of genus Ovophis were collected in Yingjiang County, Yunnan. With applied comparative morphology and molecular phylogenetic analysis, these specimens were revealed as distinct from the other Ovophis species. Thus, we described here this new population as a new species." In other words, they had a couple snakes that might have been a new species, and collected more 5 years later, and then figured out they were in fact a new species because they looked different and were genetically distinct.

    Also, the authors state: "The specimens of Trimersurusmonticola from Hotha, Longchuan County, Yunnan Province, cited by Anderson (1878a), displayed intra-specific polymorphism: the second supralabial completed or divided from the anterior of loreal pit, consistent with the character of O.makazayazaya (Guo et al. 2021). Further examinations through photos of the specimen that was recorded by Anderson (1878b) were conducted and showed that it displays 10 supralabials, the second divided from the loreal pit and fourth larger than third, suggesting taxonomic placement under O.makazayazaya. However, since Longchuan County is adjacent to Yingjiang County, and in specimens from Hotha, Longchuan, the second supralabial also reaches the loreal pit, they should belong to O.jenkinsi sp. nov." TLDR: they looked at 150 year old photos and found more specimens of their new species.

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    Re: New Snake Species With 'Great Aggression' Revealed by Scientists

    I didn't think the article was well written. That's one of the reasons I added the link to the research paper. I posted the article because I thought the snake was stunning, particularly in the photo I copied above. Would you describe those scales as bronze? Just stunning! It wouldn't shock me to learn that the reporter hadn't even read the paper.
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    I apologize -- I got triggered by the parts of the article that were intended to trigger readers (point scored, Newsweek) and missed the point. Yes, that's a handsome snake. I'm not good with color terms, but they might be bronze. I think it is really neat when a snake can be beautiful and just be shades of brown (that's why normal BPs are the prettiest morph ).

    Do I see a caudal lure? Odd colored tail, anyway.

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    Re: New Snake Species With 'Great Aggression' Revealed by Scientists

    Quote Originally Posted by Malum Argenteum View Post
    I apologize -- I got triggered by the parts of the article that were intended to trigger readers (point scored, Newsweek) and missed the point. Yes, that's a handsome snake. I'm not good with color terms, but they might be bronze. I think it is really neat when a snake can be beautiful and just be shades of brown (that's why normal BPs are the prettiest morph ).

    Do I see a caudal lure? Odd colored tail, anyway.
    No apology necessary. I knew the article wasn't good. I didn't realize that it went so far as to actually mischaracterize the paper. So, I appreciate your looking more deeply into it.
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    Re: New Snake Species With 'Great Aggression' Revealed by Scientists

    Quote Originally Posted by Malum Argenteum View Post
    Do I see a caudal lure? Odd colored tail, anyway.
    I agree. That's a funny looking tail. I'd be shocked if it isn't a caudal lure.
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    Gorgeous snake.
    It's getting so hard to read any news nowadays without some ChatGPT drivel added in or something for 'shock value'. Great aggression. I'd be the same way if you came and disturbed my habita- err... home.

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    Re: New Snake Species With 'Great Aggression' Revealed by Scientists

    Quote Originally Posted by Armiyana View Post
    Gorgeous snake.
    It's getting so hard to read any news nowadays without some ChatGPT drivel added in or something for 'shock value'. Great aggression. I'd be the same way if you came and disturbed my habita- err... home.
    I didn't even think of AI generated content.

    So I pasted the two paragraphs that start "The Ovophis jenkinsi stands out due..." and ends "...and its inhabitants" into GTPZero and Quillbot (two AI content detectors) and both said all that text is AI generated with 100% certainty.

    That's pretty bad.

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    I've seen a couple articles where the AI just started repeating the same phrase with minor changes. Some completely nonsensical stuff too sometimes. It had me wondering why the editor didn't at least proofread it for normal sentences or something.

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