Tags: Indonesia | Toothless | Rat

Rat That Doesn't Gnaw Discovered in Indonesia

Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 07:18 AM

 

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
    A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

A unique species of near-toothless rat that lives off earthworms and doesn't chew or gnaw has been seen in Indonesia.

The shrew-like animal with a long, pointed snout was described online in this week's British journal Biology Letters. Paucidentomys vermidax, which translates loosely to "few-toothed rat" and "worm eater," is the only rodent out of more than 2,200 known species that does not have molars and instead has bicuspid upper incisors, it said.

Two rats were found in the mountainous rain forest of southern Sulawesi Island last year on Mount Latimojong and 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest on Mount Gandangdewata.

Since it lacks cheek teeth, the rat sucks in earthworms and slices them with its incisors before spitting out the pieces and then slurping bites down whole, co-author Anang Achmadi from Indonesia's Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense said Thursday.

The researchers said the discovery is important because it shows how rodents, which are known for biting and chewing, were forced to evolve to survive in Sulawesi's environment.

"What defines rodents is their capacity to gnaw with their ever-growing incisors, which are worn down to form chisels," said co-author Kevin Rowe, senior curator of mammals at Museum Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. "It's a remarkable evolution that a trait that's been so successful (and) has allowed rodents to chew into everything from seeds to felling trees to eating our garbage and chewing their way into our house, this species has given up on that capacity in the pursuit of its lifestyle, which appears to include eating earthworms."

The new rat demonstrates the island's unique biodiversity despite human threats from illegal logging and mining, Achmadi said.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  Comment  |
   Contact  |
  Print   |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

Methane on Mars Spikes Frequently, but Source Unknown

Tuesday, 16 Dec 2014 13:54 PM

Methane, a gas that on Earth comes mainly from living organisms, spikes regularly on Mars but scientists have not been a . . .

Humanoid Robot Flies Across Atlantic, in Economy Style

Tuesday, 16 Dec 2014 08:09 AM

A humanoid-looking robot named Athena that scientists hope will one day be useful in aiding at disaster sites, like the  . . .

NASA Builds $349M Tower, Then Promptly Mothballs It

Tuesday, 16 Dec 2014 07:28 AM

A massive $349 million NASA tower completed in June has been "mothballed" in Gulfport, Mississippi, without ever being u . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved