New Genus: Relatives of Ancient Incan Pets

February 29, 2000
By Alex Kirby
environment correspondent
BBC News Online

Zoologists say they have made a “dramatic” discovery in the Peruvian Andes – a hitherto unknown genus of mammal.

andean-rat.jpg

The discovery of the animal, a tree rat the size of a domestic cat, was made by Dr Louise Emmons, a researcher with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

She found it while climbing in the Vilcabamba mountains near the ruins of the Inca city of Macchu Picchu, an area which had not been researched before.

Dr Emmons was about 700 metres up the mountain when she came across the rat, which had just been killed by an Andean weasel. Read the entire article at BBC News.

[Note: This discovery was probably made in the 1990s, but since it wasn’t made public until 2000, I’ve made the executive decision to include it here. I chose to do this mainly because there are several major discoveries made in the 1990s (ie: the Truong Son muntjac, the saola, the Laotian striped rabbit, and the Idaho Crossbill to name a few) which, by my own definition of this blog, can’t be included here. So, this one is a new millennium species, if only just..]

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