Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Species Of Giant Elephant-shrew Discovered

Date:
February 1, 2008
Source:
Conservation International
Summary:
When Francesco Rovero first saw the image captured by one of his automatic cameras in a remote Tanzanian forest, he knew he'd never seen anything quite like it. It was the size of a small dog, covered in orange and gray fur, and had a long snout like an elephant. Its markings and general appearance suggested it was a member of the elephant-shrew family, called a sengi in Swahili. Now the Journal of Zoology reports that Rovero discovered a new species of giant elephant-shrew.

The gray-faced elephant-shrew, or sengi, weighs about 1.5 pounds - between 25 and 50 percent larger than any previously discovered species of elephant-shrew.
Credit: Copyright Francesco Rovero

When Francesco Rovero first saw the image captured by one of his automatic cameras in a remote Tanzanian forest, he knew he’d never seen anything quite like it.

It was the size of a small dog, covered in orange and gray fur, and had a long snout like an elephant. Its markings and general appearance suggested it was a member of the elephant-shrew family, called a sengi in Swahili. Today, the Journal of Zoology reports that Rovero discovered a new species of giant elephant-shrew.

Rovero of Italy's Trento Museum of Natural Sciences was documenting elusive forest animals deep in the Ndunlulu Forest of Tanzania's Udzungwa Mountains. The Udzungwas are part of a series of ancient and isolated mountains stretching from southern Kenya to south-central Tanzania. Rovero's cameras captured lions and antelope, as he expected, but this was something different.

Rovero sent the photos to Galen Rathbun of the California Academy of Sciences for identification, who confirmed that the colorful animal appeared to be a new species.

With funding from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), the National Geographic Society, and Trento Museum of Natural Sciences, they embarked on a two-week expedition with a team of colleagues to confirm the discovery. The expedition team captured four specimens of the animal.

"This new discovery highlights how exceptionally important the Udzungwa Mountain rain forests are, and how little we know about them," Rovero said.

The new species, named the gray-faced sengi (Rhynchocyon udzungwensis), weighs about 1.5 pounds, 25 percent larger than any other member of the elephant-shrew family. It is known to exist in only two groups in a 115-square-mile area of this largely unexplored forest.

Scientists report that its relatives include elephants, manatees, and the aardvark. In recent years, a number of other new species have been discovered here, including the Udzungwa partridge, a monkey known as the kipunji, and several amphibians and reptiles.

"This is one of the most exciting discoveries of my career," said Rathbun of the California Academy of Sciences. "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."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Conservation International. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Conservation International. "New Species Of Giant Elephant-shrew Discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080201085759.htm>.
Conservation International. (2008, February 1). New Species Of Giant Elephant-shrew Discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080201085759.htm
Conservation International. "New Species Of Giant Elephant-shrew Discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080201085759.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) A federal judge temporarily banned coyote hunting to save endangered red wolves, but local hunters say that the wolf preservation program does more harm than good. Meanwhile federal officials are reviewing its wolf program in North Carolina. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

Farm Resurgence Grows With Younger Crowd

AP (Aug. 22, 2014) New England farms are seeing a surge in younger farm hands as the 'buy local' food movement grows across the country. (Aug. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Terrifying City-Dwelling Spiders Are Bigger And More Fertile

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, spiders that live in cities are bigger, fatter and multiply faster. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins