In a paper submitted by scientists from Indonesia, Australia and the United States to the Journal of Mammalogy, the scientists share their new discovery, a hog-nosed shrew rat they discovered from Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island. Found in 2013 by an global research team working in the remote mountains of Indonesia’s Sulawesi Island, Hyorhinomys stuempkei was previously undocumented in any scientific collection.
And in the case of the recently discovered hog-nosed shrew rat, that just happens to be extra long pubic hair.
“It was exciting as I knew immediately that we had a new species”, Dr Rowe said.
The mouth can hardly open suggesting the carnivorous rat “slurps” up its food – most likely earthworms, beetle larvae and other invertebrates.
The Age quotes Dr Kevin Rowe, one of the scientists, as saying the new species “looks like it’s whistling all the time”.
While the 40-45 centimetre animal’s unique anatomy was evidence it was a new species, genetic testing confirmed it was also a new genus.
The creature was found in a trap on Mount Dako in the region of Tolitoli, central Sulawesi and Hyorhinomys is Greek for hog (hyo) nose (rhino) and rat (mys). “[Sulawesi Island is] an extremely unique area on earth, on the nexus of the Australian and Asian continents”, Rowe said. “Even though there are only eight species in this endemic group, they exhibit a huge… range, including small gray rats, a almost toothless vermivore, an amphibious rat and now a long-limbed, hog-nosed rat”.
The elusive rat was discovered at an elevation of 1600 metres in a remote camp two days’ hike from the closest village.
Geologically isolated, Sulawesi has not been connected to Australia or Asia for 10 million years.
A rodent unlike any other has been spotted in a small town in the north of Sulawesi.
The hog-nosed rat is genetically quite different from any other species.