A strikingly unusual animal was recently discovered in the cloud-forests of Peru. The large rodent is about the size of a squirrel and looks a bit like one, except its closest relatives are spiny rats.
This illustration depicts Isothrix barbarabrownae, a newly discovered species of Neotropical rodent, in its arboreal habitat. The strikingly unusual animal has long dense fur, a broad blocky head, thickly furred tail and a blackish crest of fur on the crown, nape and shoulders. It is about the size of a squirrel. (Credit: Illustration by Nancy Halliday, Courtesy of The Field Museum)
Isothrix barbarabrownae, as the new species has been named, is described in the current issue of Mastozoología Neotropical (Neotropical mammalogy), the principal mammalogy journal of South America. A color illustration of the bushy rodent graces the cover of the journal.
The authors of the study found the rodent in 1999 while conducting field research in Peru's Manu National Park and Biosphere Reserve Mountains in Southern Peru along the eastern slope of the Andes. Extending from lowland tropical forests in the Amazon Basin to open grasslands above the Andean tree line, Manu is home to more species of mammals and birds than any equivalently sized area in the world.
This is not the only ancient rodent recently discovered. In fact they are bursting out all over the world. And this may not be a new animal at all but another case of a living fossil.
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Isothrix barbarabrownae, Mastozoología Neotropical, rodent, rat, Manu, Peru, latin america, south america, biology, animals, newa nimal, science