What is Episode 72 all about?
When I say think about a weird group of animals, what’s the first species that comes to mind? Maybe in your mind’s eye, you saw an anteater, or bush jewel beetles, perhaps an aye-aye, or possibly even a shoebill stork. Nature has designed weird creatures filling all kinds of niches, and one group, in particular, is as odd as it is cute: armadillos. Yes, the half-mammal, half-turtle-looking creatures that you’ve probably heard of but might not know much about. And you might not be aware about how vitally important armadillos are for maintaining biodiversity in the Americas.
To teach us about these cute and weird critters is Mariella Superina, DVM, Ph.D., the world’s leading armadillo researcher. Hailing from Switzerland, Mariella’s life was forever changed when she traveled to Brazil at 18-years-old. While there, the farm’s cowboys showed her her first armadillo, and from that moment on she was obsessed. She returned to Europe wanting to consume everything she could about armadillos, but quickly realized very little was known. She later became a veterinarian and also received her doctorate on this funky group of mammals. Mariella and chat about many topics including all things armadillos, conservation issues and solutions that she’s developed in South America, how she blended multiple disciplines to research this group, and the opportunities and downfalls of studying such little-known animals.
Mariella exudes passion and I enjoyed every second of our talk. Get ready to learn more than you thought possible about armadillos in-between lots of laughs, stories, and a few serious moments, too.
Alright, everyone. Here is my conversation with Mariella.
Listen to this episode.
Watch this episode on YouTube.
Links & Resources
Xenarthrans Profile: https://xenarthrans.org/researchers-profiles/
Xenarthrans – IUCN Specialist Group
The Armadillo Conservation Program
Fundación Omacha: https://omacha.org/
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