Victorian scientists working in Indonesia have discovered one of the cutest mystery species ever: the appropriately-named hog-nosed rat. The cute and furry creature was found in the remote mountains of Sulawesi Island, Indonesia by an international team of scientists and researchers.
Surprisingly, the animal looks like a rat with a long snout and large ears. Its hind legs are unusually long, even though the small rat-like creature is just 45-centimetres long and weighs a slight 250-grams. With a distinctive set of long, sharp teeth beneath its pig-like nose, the animal is a curious and cuddly addition to the biological family tree. Biologists believe that an exploratory process gauging the profile and variety of life on earth can yield positive results for the human species and all life on earth.
“I am still amazed that we can walk into a forest and find a new species of mammal that is so obviously different from any species, or even genus, that has ever been documented by science,” Melbourne researcher Dr. Kevin Rowe told the ABC. “I found one in my trap and I actually kind of hollered and hooted for my other colleague to come and see. We knew immediately it was a new species and then the only question was rather [whether] it was a new genus or whether it was related closely to anything already described.”
Scientists were also shocked to discover the tiny mammals could grow impressively long pubic hair. “We think it may serve some function in helping animals be successful in mating,” Dr. Rowe said. “But we really have no idea what its function is”.
Sulawesi Island is Indonesia’s third largest island, and the region is famous for its natural bio-diversity. The pristine landscape incorporates mountain scapes, sandy beach areas, interior lakes and thick, muggy jungles. For these reasons, scientists are drawn to its fascinating shores, with many hypothesising that several interesting mammal species have yet to be discovered on the island.
In this case, the research team’s hypothesis was proved correct.
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