APR 21, 2016 3:53 PM PDT

New Giant Species of Rat Discovered on Manus Island

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

If you don't like rats because they're icky and gross, then you should just close your web browser now, because if that's the case, then nothing good can possibly come from what you're about to read about the discovery of a new giant rat.

Researchers studying the environment of Manus Island have come across a relatively large species of rat that is only now being documented after over 30 years of sightings from residents across the island.
 
Weighing in at a relatively hefty half-kilogram (almost 1.1 pounds), the Rattus Detentus, named for after the Latin word for ‘detained,’ is one of the world’s largest species of rats. The name is given based on the nature of the island, which is used quite often for detaining people.
 

Giant rat discovered on Manus Island.


The researchers took DNA samples and compared the animal to existing rat species to look for any difference in bone structure, skull structure, and other bodily structures that could set the species apart from all of the other rat species out there.
 
The findings are published in the Journal of Mammology and detail the rat with a short tail and very coarse fur. It apparently has the tools and skills to gnaw on and open nuts with its powerful and sharp incisor and molar teeth, which means this is probably what it predominantly feasts on.
 
Despite being seen across the island many times by passerby over the last several decades, the researchers do note that it’s getting harder and harder to find it. This suggests that the animal may be lowering in numbers and could be entering an endangered state.
 
If this is the case, the recent documentation might be a good thing, as it could lead to preservation measures to prevent the dwindling species from going extinct in just a few more decades.

Source: Journal of Mammalogy via The Guardian

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
You May Also Like
MAR 15, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAR 15, 2020
The Incredible Life of a Sea Urchin
From start to finish, a sea urchin’s life involves an incredible and lengthy journey. From the moment a wandering ...
MAR 22, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAR 22, 2020
These Female Toads May Purposely Mate With Another Species
As a general rule of thumb, most of the world’s wild animals keep their instinctual mating practices within their ...
APR 14, 2020
Plants & Animals
APR 14, 2020
Why Are Bats So Resistant to Viruses?
Bats are some of the most infamous carriers of zoonotic viruses, which are viruses capable of spreading between both ani ...
MAY 07, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
MAY 07, 2020
Your Night Light Could Be a Glowing Plant
Glowing plants light themselves up House plants are not just decorations: thanks to science, they might become a part of ...
MAY 10, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAY 10, 2020
'Murder Hornets' Are Now in the U.S., So Now What?
Most people cringe at the thought of getting stung by a bee, let alone hornets or wasps, with the latter tending to be m ...
MAY 25, 2020
Plants & Animals
MAY 25, 2020
Cuttlefish Are Amazing, and Here's Why
Many people have heard of the cuttlefish but haven’t actually seen one in person – and we’re just goin ...
Loading Comments...