http://tinyurl.com/caq5jScientists Discover Odd-ball Rodent -- Is It A Squirrel? A Rat? A Guinea Pig? Try None Of The Above
NEW YORK (MAY 11, 2005) -- A team of scientists working in Southeast Asia have discovered a long-whiskered rodent with stubby legs and a tail covered in dense hair. But don't call it a squirrel. Or a rat. Because it's actually more like a guinea pig or chinchilla. But not quite. In fact the new species, found in Laos by scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and other groups, is so unique it represents an entire new family of wildlife.
The new species is described in the recent issue of the journal Systematics and Biodiversity by authors from WCS, The Natural History Museum in London, University of Vermont and WWF Thailand.
"It was for sale on a table next to some vegetables. I knew immediately it was something I had never seen before," said Dr. Timmins. Dr Mark Robinson, working with WWF Thailand later discovered other specimens caught by hunters, and also identified bone fragments in an owl pellet. Based on morphological differences in the skull and bone structure, coupled with DNA analysis, the authors estimate that the Kha-Nyou diverged from other rodents millions of years ago.
I just found that interesting. a whole new animal discovered in a bazar being sold as a pet. not merely a new species, but a whole new category of animal. I always find news like this itneresting because it shows how much about our world we don't yet know, and how much we have left to learn, which i find exciting.