Humans are mammals and they rule upon all other animals. Well this is something which even a primary class student can explain. However a new discovery has underlined the fact that so much is unknown and waiting to be discovered about the mammal fauna.

A group of mice known in Africa by their Bantu-derived name Sengi was the focus of a study by researchers at the California Academy of Sciences. The researchers noticed that the newly discovered elephant shrew species had a protruding snout somewhat similar to the trunk of an elephant. The researchers also noticed that the specimens whom they collected in the remote northwestern region of Namibia were different from the sengis in the museum collections which they had studied earlier.

To confirm the suspicions that the specimens they had collected were a new species of the sengis, the research hers revisited the same region in Namibia a number of times from 2005 to 2011 and in the process collected 16 more specimens. Their suspicions were confirmed when the genetic analysis revealed a new sengi species, Macroscelides micus, the Etendeka round-eared sengi. It was sifferent from the other discovered sengis earlier.

Jack Dumbacher, a researcher at the Academy’s Curator of Ornithology and Mammalogy said, “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.”

The genetic analysis not only confirmed the discovery of a new species Macroscelides micus, but it also revealed that the species were more related to elephants, sea cows, and aardvarks than they are to shrews.

43 Responses

  1. Insomnia4Ever

    “Humans are mammals and they rule upon all other animals.”

    Hubris. I’d pick a hungry grizzly over a man any day, or a lion over a man, or a great white shark…humans are *not* the rulers of anything. We can barely manage self-governance.

    Reply
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  3. Louisa Hopkins

    An interesting discovery announced with the poorest quality “reporting” I have seen in a long time. Leaving aside the dozen or so typos and pathetic grammar in the article itself, the headline contains two clear errors – the sengi is not a mouse, and it does not have “elephant genes.” It is simply more closely related genetically to the elephant, aardvark, and other elephant shrews of the Afrotheria group than it is to the mouse which it resembles at a glance.

    Reply
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  7. Insanitea

    “Humans are mammals and they rule upon all other animals. Well this is something which even a primary class student can explain. ”
    I think even a primary student could write a better lede, too. This article is a travesty of both style and content. The idea that sengis are more closely related to elephants than they are to shrews (let alone mice) has been pretty widely accepted for fifteen or twenty years – look up “Afrotheria.”

    Reply
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  9. Regula

    Such discoveries only confirm that the idea of a straight lined evolution is wrong. Nature developed systems and in time joined these “systems” into new species. This mouse got the system “trunk” in addition to mouse looks and other elements from third and fourth animals. No, it doesn’t mean that a mouse copulated with an elephant, it only shows that nature is vastly much more imaginative and way more playful and way less “disciplined” than human research can stomach: nature creates, humans “research” meaning they try to understand nature’s art and one can never do that, the same way that a Shakespeare play can never be understood entirely along one theory of story. Nature is like the sea, the wind in the weeds – it moves and changes continuously.

    Reply
    • Louisa Hopkins

      Of course the idea of “straight lined evolution” is wrong! No evolutionary biologist would ever say such a thing. A web, perhaps, a multiply-connected tree or tangle, yes, but never a straight line! And please note that it was *research* which showed the sengi’s common ancestry with elephants and other Afrotherians. The system “trunk” as you say is apparently a common feature in this related group of African mammals (aardvark, dugong, other elephant shrews, etc) and it is becuase of an evolutionarily shared package of… that’s right, genes! Which do indeed move and change continuously, though for mammals it’s on a longer time scale than our direct observation covers. Hence the need for… research! Imperfect though our understanding of nature is, it is only through reaching to discover more that it improves.

      Reply
      • Regula

        I’m not disputing the need for research. But unfortunately, research is all too often biased by white man’s prejudice. Take the Neanderthals. They make them look coarse and vulgar – but in reality Neanderthals may have been gentler than the homo sapiens, hence the intermarriages which brought Neanderthal to extinction, although most Europeans still have Neanderthal genes. But had researchers looked at nature in general and mammals in particular, they would have found out that there aren’t any “ugly” mammals, that all mammals share one trait: infinite gentleness. What made the researchers think that Neanderthal would be different? On the contrary, the further back a species evolved, the more likely it was gentle and beautiful. As one person who depicted the origins of man that way, look at Rodin’s sculptures – he sculpted a woman with those protruding eyebrows who is immensely beautiful. It stands for nature, instinct undestroyed. So does Neanderthal.

        Even survival of the fittest is relative: if a mother has 5 young, she will feed the strongest first and may even let a young die if it is too weak to make it. Animals always know if a young will make it or not. IF she has fewer young or enough milk to lavishly feed them all and she decided that the young won’t die, she will patiently feed it until it catches up in size with the others, even if that means feeding young for an extra two to three weeks: so observed in cats.

  10. Donn Irving

    I don’t got to read no bad English! What this about a miniature mouse?

    Reply
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  12. Sister Neurotica

    Does this mean that a mouse was copulating with an elephant? I guess the mouse must have been on top.

    Reply
    • zornwil

      That is funny!

      FYI, just to mention as the article is so poorly written many may miss it, shrews are not mice and biologists have known that. These animals do look like mice, but no biologist ever called them such. Other articles are clearer on the matter. Please pardon me if I am stating what you already know!

      Reply
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  14. Dean

    It is already known that elephant shrews are related to elephants. They are not mice or rodents. So a new species has been identified. That is about all I can tell from this poorly written science article. A science journalist should have a bit of science in their background. This article shows inorance that is far too common in today’s jounalism – it goes beyond science – facts just don’t mean as much anymore – fact checking no longer appears necessary in news articles. C’est la vie.

    Reply
    • Steve

      I’ll pass on the snarky observation of the omission of the letter “g” in a crucial word above; I’m too far from perfect to launch slings and arrows!

      Reply
      • zornwil

        The commenting party is not self-representing as a professional journalist. I did not get the impression they were speaking from any notion of their own perfection or mere innocent mistakes. I was going to make much the same comment as they did, and I can see others have as well.

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  18. DAVID ALAN JONES RIDGE

    If it is even possible that elephants could have intuition, this could explain the fear they have of mice, unless that falls in the realm of urban legend..

    Reply
    • Regula

      Seems like you talk of humans – many will jump on tables and chairs for not more than a mouse in the house! If elephants are in fact afraid of mice, maybe superstition and other irrational fears also move through various species.

      Reply
      • DAVID ALAN JONES RIDGE

        U, excuse me, that is why I placed the variable concerning “urban legend” in there. But if this is an insistence on you part, for example, there does seem that crime can cover a three or four generation spread in the same family.

      • Regula

        Since when is fear of mice by humans a crime?

      • DAVID ALAN JONES RIDGE

        Oh, ok, I want an explicit, exact, step by step outline in this humongous leap that you have made and arrived at any implication in this conversation we are having. You are ignoring my use of the term “urban Legend”.

      • Regula

        I don’t – I just twist your associations a bit. BTW, there isn’t any gene for crime. Crime sometimes runs in the family – like the Mafia – because children are brought up to fit into a crime syndicate, as a family honor and continuity. But as other, non-organized crime goes, it doesn’t really run in the family unless they all hit their children down into the lowest levels of the affective spectrum. Nobody reproaches parents whose children commit suicide – but murder is the same as suicide, the first is the introvert mode, the second the extrovert mode of the same despair: too much pain that at some point gets acted out.

      • DAVID ALAN JONES RIDGE

        Oh, ok, thank you for your reply so I will take this under advisement for future reference. So, I would suspect that your extrovert mode would apply to those that get involved in gangs in high school.

      • Regula

        There are many reasons what kids get involved in high school gangs. But underlying it is always an overload of pain, of feeling rejected by the world and not belonging, so these kids create a place where they feel wanted and where they have an importance. How many get killed depends again on many factors. One cannot predict crime. What is certain is that anybody can be hit into suicide and anybody can be driven to murder given enough threat, abuse and injustice. How far the inner self-control goes, where it breaks down – one never knows. Unfortunately, in the US there is much talk about high school gangs, street kid gangs and they are pain, without a doubt, but there is way less talk about the crimes committed by the authorities, local and in D.C. even their crimes are often way more deadly and they will cover each other up beyond any restraint.

      • DAVID ALAN JONES RIDGE

        And regardless of where they are on the socio economic scale the poor kid is left home alone because his parents are in a bar somewhere or mother is on the streets. And is abused. Whereas the rich kid is also left home alone because his parents are like dad is trying to close his latest deal on the golf course and mommy is volunteering for some charity somewhere. Or she is off to Europe for some gala or to rub elbows with someone that is higher than they are on that scale.
        And, concerning political or corporate crime, white collar crime, I may have brought to your attention here or I may have noted the fact elsewhere that is connected to the loopholes that they can take advantage of and get away with. And even in this I am showing that I agree with you in your current reply to me. They have the attitude that if I get caught all I have to do is make the necessary apology, get their hand slapped, kiss it better, and life goes on without any consequences. Therefore I do not subscribe to: “It is easier to seek forgiveness that to ask permission.” There is a deception in that one somewhere. Car repairs are finally catching up with those in Detroit. The politician, his day is coming. What goes around come around and they are not exempt from the responsibilities that have a spiritual or supernatural connection regardless of the crime being a misdemeanor or a felony. Yet I admit that some of us are impatient and desire that the discipline, punishment, and consequences were dealt to them sooner than what it has.

  19. Jarod

    Horribly horribly misleading title, just plain bad. Its not a mouse, shrews are not even rodents, nor and it does not have any elephant genes in it. Its a shrew that is closer related to elephants than other shrews, WHICH ARE NOT RODENTS OR MICE.

    Reply
    • DAVID ALAN JONES RIDGE

      And apparently the article was not proofread by a second or third party before publishing. As long as any reporter gets a “By” line, all over the media many reporters are just typing the article and then summarily publishing them without any second thought to proofreading. Even for local newscasts, the footers and the headers are not being proofread…

      Reply
  20. Flaubert

    Wow. Terrible writing. Truly bad writing. I just really wasted time here…

    Reply
    • DAVID ALAN JONES RIDGE

      And apparently the article was not proofread by a second or third party before publishing. As long as any reporter gets a “By” line, all over the media many reporters are just typing the article and then summarily publishing them without any second thought to proofreading. Even for local newscasts, the footers and the headers are not being proofread.

      Reply

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