New Round-Eared Species of Elephant Shrew Found
Researchers at the California Academy of Sciences have discovered a novel species of elephant shrew, which had a protruding snout similar to the trunk of an elephant. The specimen was collected in the remote northwestern region of Namibia.
To confirm that the specimen they have collected is a new species of the sengis, researchers revisited the same place in Namibia a number of times from 2005 to 2011. During this process, 16 more specimens were found.
They were then able to confirm after the genetic analysis that they have found a new sengi species, Macroscelides micus, the Etendeka round-eared sengi. The species was found different from other ones.
"Had our colleagues not collected those first invaluable specimens, we would never have realized that this was in fact a new species, since the differences between this and all other known species are very subtle", said Jack Dumbacher, a researcher at the Academy's Curator of Ornithology and Mammalogy.
The genetic analysis unveiled one more thing that the species was more related to elephants, sea cows and aardvarks than to shrews. The new species of shrews is just 7.5 inches from nose-tip to tail-tip and weighs around 28 grams.
The creature has a red coat that evolved due to an adaptation to blend into the region's red soil. Also, the creature is smaller than other sengis. Dumbacher said they will learn more about the species in coming field seasons.
They are planning to radio-collar some of these sengis. Doing this, they will be able to study their activities and spatial movements. Researchers concluded by affirming that sengis are only found in Africa.
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