New Shrew! er… “Sengi”

shrew.jpgFrom BBC news:

Despite its name, the creature, along with the 15 other known species of elephant shrew, is not actually related to shrews.

Dr Rathbun told the BBC News website: “Elephant shrews are only found in Africa. They were originally described as shrews because they superficially resembled shrews in Europe and in America.”

In fact, the creature is more closely related to a group of African mammals, which includes elephants, sea cows, aardvarks and hyraxes, having shared a common ancestor with them about 100 million years ago.

“This is why they are also known as sengis,” explained Dr Rathbun.

shrew1.jpgFrom Yahoo news:

The newcomer, dubbed Rhynchocyon udzungwensis, stands head and shoulders above his cousins, weighing in at a massive 700 grammes (1.5 pounds), about 25 percent larger than any other known sengi.

He was identified by scientists Galen Rathbun of the California Academy of Sciences and Francesco Rovero of the Museum of Natural Sciences in Trento, Italy.

Their discovery is published in the February issue of the British-based Journal of Zoology.

shrew2.jpg

“This is one of the most exciting discoveries of my career,” Rathbun, a 30-year veteran of sengi-watching, said in a press release.

“It is the first new species of giant elephant-shrew to be discovered in more than 126 years. From the moment I first lifted one of the animals into our photography tent, I knew it must be a new species — not just because of its distinct colouring, but because it was so heavy!”

Find the full BBC article here.

Read the rest of the Yahoo article here.

(thank you for reminding me, Ashley. I’ve been busy lately, and hadn’t gotten around to posting this one.)

update:

the Smithsonian recently had an elephant shrew birth!

(tho not of this new species, it has great footage of elephant shrews on the move!)


5 Responses to New Shrew! er… “Sengi”

  1. Matthew L says:

    Well written article, and I agree entirely. Thank you for your fresh point of view. Keep up the good work.

  2. Mr. Ilarijs says:

    wow, it’s big…

  3. Markorki says:

    Very interesting, but, not a word about **where** this “Sengi” has been discovered…
    Is this omission deliberate ?

  4. Zaxy says:

    Markorki-

    I apologize- I thought it was sufficient when it said in the second paragraph that, “Elephant shrews are only found in Africa.” ๐Ÿ™‚

    Clicking through to the original article- the link to which is conveniently provided- will bring you to the BBC article which is subtitled in bold, “A new species of mammal has been discovered in the mountains of Tanzania, scientists report.”
    hope this helps!๐Ÿ™‚
    most sincerely,
    ~Z

  5. Cool..saw models of similar creatures at Fla.Museum of Nat. History (Gainesville,Fla). Can’t think of the name of my daughter’s favorite “prehistoric” creature,but
    it was tall (20-30 foot),gentle,and ate leaves off trees!She was touched by them.

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