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Scientists Found the World’s Smallest Elephant Shrew

These animals look like snout-y mice but are more closely related to elephants.


New shrew. The newfound elephant shrew, Macroscelides micus. Image credit: Dumbacher et al / Journal of Mammology

In a desolate area of the northwestern part of Namibia, scientists discovered kind of rust-colored shrew hidden within the reddish volcanic rocks in that area. After more detailed analysis, they confirmed that it was a novel species called as elephant shrews. Although looking like mouse, actually it is closely linked with to aardvarks, elephants, hyraxes and sea cows in the genetic sense.

In addition, it also possesses some other weird features; for example, it usually gives birth to twins, which could run after hitting the ground, just like calves of some African antelope.

John Dumbacher, co-author of study said there were some similarities between this the newly found discovered mammal and a small antelope in regard to its physique and sleeping habits. It was also regarded as a scaled-down anteater if its in hunting techniques and preferred prey was taken into account.

Like an antelope, with relatively long and spindly legs to its body size, this new species usually hunkers down next to bushes to sleep instead of burrowing. Like an anteater, with its extended nose, it could sweep the ground to look for ants and other insects to feed it.

Named as Macroscelides micus by scientists, the adult animal, weighing just 27 grams, was seven inches long with its tail included. For more details about this new species, you could read the study published in recent edition of the Journal of Mammalogy.

Source: Reuters