A new species of elephant shrew, or round-eared segni, called the Macroscelides micus has been discovered in the Namib desert by a group of researchers at the California Academy of Sciences.
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 different 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.”
“These traits are the basis for the description of a new species of Macroscelides that seems to be conﬁned to gravel plains associated with the distinctive reddish colored Etendeka geological formation of northwestern Namibia,” write the researchers in the paper’s abstract.
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.
The discovery of the mammal has been detailed by researchers from the California Academy of Sciences in the Journal of Mammalogy.