Give Now  »

wfiu logo
WFIU Public Radio

wtiu logo
WTIU Public Television

Choose which station to support!

Indiana Public Media | WFIU - NPR | WTIU - PBS

Noon Edition

A New Rodent

Do you believe Big Foot exists?

If Big Foot exists, then why doesn't anyone have genuine proof? How could a creature so big manage to hide so well that humans can't get a good glimpse of it, much less study it and classify it?

Well, just that does happen frequently in nature.

It's not all that uncommon for new species to be discovered, particularly among insects and marine invertebrates. Very recently, though, a new mammal was discovered, and one that doesn't just represent a new species, but a new family, genus, and species.

It's a long-whiskered rodent that resembles a cross between a rat and a squirrel, but is actually more closely related to guinea pigs and chinchillas. The newly classified family diverged from other rodent families millions of years ago. It is pretty remarkable, and it just goes to show how much we don't know about the creatures that share this planet with us.

Robert Timmins, a wildlife conservationist, discovered it at a market in Laos, where it was for sale alongside some vegetables. He has since managed to trap one of the creatures on his own, but scientists have yet to see a living specimen.

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About A Moment of Science