Friday, July 4, 2014

New Elephant Shrew Found

Every year, new species of animals and insects are discovered. While working in the remote northwestern deserts of Nimbia, scientist discovered brand new species of elephant shrews or round-eared sengi. The new specie is by far the smallest of the 19 different sengis and has been named the Etendeka round-eared sengi, Macroscelides micus.

One of the cutest animals in the planet, Elephant shrews are about as big as a regular mouse, however they’re actually more related to the giant elephant, aardvarks and sea cows. They have a tiny, elongated snout that resembles a trunk that they use to find insects for food. The new specie was discovered by an international team that was led by California Academy of Sciences’ Department of Ornithology Chairman Dr. Jack Dumbacher. The team collected 16 specimens and compared them to the more common elephant shrew.  The new round-eared sengi are smaller and comes in a different color.

The specimens weight at 18 to 42 grams and are around 190 millimeters long from the head to tail. They have a more rusty brown color and don’t have dark pigments on their skin. They also have a lighter tone of pink on their ears and feet. The new sengis have a large gland under their tails.

As for reproduction, these guys keep to themselves. Unlike the other sengi species, they isolate themselves. Researchers also notice no signs of hybridization. This isn’t the first new specie discovered in the last ten years. There have been two other elephant shrew species found in Africa. 

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