This week scientists reported discovering 4 new mammalian species. How exciting is that? I always think it is crazy that there are so many animals, plants, and insects that we don’t know exist.
The first new mammal this week was published in the Journal of Mammology, and is a new round-eared sengi, or elephant shrew. This species is smaller than the other members in the genus, and was shown to be genetically different as well. Very cool!
“Genetically, Macroscelides micus is very different from other members of the genus and it’s exciting to think that there are still areas of the world where even the mammal fauna is unknown and waiting to be explored,” said Jack Dumbacher from California Academy of Sciences in the US.
Sengis are restricted to Africa and, despite their small size, are more closely related to elephants, sea cows, and aardvarks than they are to true shrews.
The rest of the new species reported this week come from a partnership between the Tenkile Conservation Alliance (headed by Australians Jim and Jean Thomas) and Euan Ritchie. These species are all from Papua New Guinea and were discovered using camera traps. The group plans to return for specimen collection and genetic testing for further proof that these are unknown mammals. Can’t wait to see the findings published!
The Docopsulus wallaby, a small marsupial, was captured on camera, as well as a “Dumbo” mouse with giant ears, and an antechinus, a sort of shrew-like marsupial.
“It’s exciting, but at the same time we have a massive biodiversity extinction crisis at the moment and the sad thing is that we lose many species before we even know they exist.”
It is great to see that both groups reporting the new mammals mention that the discoveries highlight the need for environmental protection and conservation. Check the linked articles and websites for more pictures of the new species and more info!