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New Mammal Discovered in Tanzania

Posted 2/01/2008 8:49 am by and RJ Saddler

_44392414_shrew_416.jpgA bizarre-looking creature has been discovered in the mountains of Tanzania. Named Rhynochocyon udzungwensis (or rather, the sengis), this cat-sized creature was first caught on tape from a camera trap the Museum of Natural Scientists in Italy put in the Ndundulu Forest.

With a grey face, long snout, and spindly legs, the creature looks more like a cross between an
antelope and anteater. Although scientists firsts believed the animal was related to the elephant shrew, they later dismissed the idea because elephant shrews are only seen in Africa. Of course, I had no idea what an elephant shrew was until I googled it (it’s a mouse-looking creature with an elephant trunk).

Dr. Galen Rathbun, from the California Academy of Sciences, comparing the two, stated, “Elephant shrews are almost all distinguished by distinctive colour patterns, and this is especially true of the forest-dwelling giant sengis. And this one, with its grey face and black rump, was pretty different.” Like anteaters, the sengis uses his long trunk and nose to pick up insects (especially termites), and he is more active during the day.

“They are behaviourally fairly simple – they are not like a dog or cat you can interact with – but they are so bizarre-looking and a lot of their behavioural ecology is so unique and interesting, you kind of get wrapped up with them.”

Check out footage of the sengis here:

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