Narrator: This is the Hispaniolan solenodon, found on the island of Hispaniola in Latin America. Over the years, the solenodon has drawn the attention of St. Norbert College professor, Adam Brandt.
Brandt helped publish a paper on this unusual critter and what he found caught the eye of an Australian documentary company, who is producing a show featuring 72 dangerous animals in Latin America Dr. Brandt: Basically we confirmed that the the solenodon is about 76-78 million years old. Narrator: The timing means the solenodon survived the asteroid impact that ultimately wiped out the dinosaurs millions of years ago. Dr.
Brandt: It's all about size. Narrator: Brandt describes the solenodon as an insect eating creature 30 centimeters long, weighing one kilogram, and having a pointed snout and beady eyes. Dr. Brandt: They were able to just survive because they could find enough food whereas the dinosaurs couldn't and also their fossorial, so they tunnel they dig underground so they were all probably able to avoid the harsher environment They were probably able to avoid whatever dinosaurs might have been still still scavenging.
Narrator: Solenodons are nocturnal and interestingly they're venomous mammals. Dr. Brandt: They're one of a few handful of venomous mammals in the world. Narrator: What if a human were to be bitten by a solenodon? Dr.
Brandt: In terms of humans not much. Probably on par with a really bad bee sting. Narrator: Brandt is hoping his work and the solenodon will be featured on the documentary series. Similar programs have run on Netflix and the National Geographic Channel.
The show is expected to air in early 2018 In the meantime Brandt will continue to follow his passions at St. Norbert College of both teaching and research Dr. Brandt: I'm interested in conservation. I try to do my research using DNA in a way that will help local conservation agencies, international conservation agencies give them information give them tools that will make their efforts their ability to preserve a species I've always wanted to be in science that always wanted to eventually figure out I wanted to be a professor.
I love teaching. I really love engaging the students I've got about five students now that have gotten on board with me. The students here are great to the faculty great the administration and everybody they support research they support teaching. So I'm just finding this to be a fantastic place to be.
Narrator: I'm Mike counter reporting for St. Norbert College.