WASHINGTON (AP) - Could wallabies help battle global warming blamed in part on gassy cows?
Methane produced in cow flatulence has been listed as one of the greenhouse gases contributing to climate change.
Researchers report in Thursday's online edition of the journal Science that the mini-kangaroos known as wallabies produce only about one-fifth as much methane as cows for the same amount of food, even though they eat a similar grass diet.
It turns out that wallabies have different bacteria in their gut than cows, resulting in less methane.
Lead author Mark Morrison, of Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, said: "We know there are distant relatives of the wallaby bacterium in ruminant livestock, so our goal is to find ways to stimulate their numbers ... and achieve a similar effect."