Gray, D.D. (2005, June 13). New rodent species found on hunter's market stall. The Independent. [Online]. Available: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qn4158/is_20050613/ai_n14664162 [2008, May 29].
rodent; kha-nyou; discovery; Wildlife Conservation Society; market; trade; bushmeat; Laos
Is it a squirrel, a rat, a guinea pig? A chinchilla? The long- whiskered rodent with stubby legs and a tail covered with dense hair resembles them all but this is a previously unknown species that actually represents a new family of wildlife, the Wildlife Conservation Society said.
The kha-nyou, as local people call it, was discovered by a WCS researcher in a hunter's market in central Laos. Robert Timmins, the researcher, said: 'It was for sale on a table next to vegetables. I knew immediately it was something I had never seen before. To find something so distinct in this day and age is just extraordinary. For all we know, this could be the last remaining mammal family left to be discovered.'
Another colleague, Mark Robinson, later discovered other specimens caught by hunters, and also identified bone fragments in an owl pellet. Based on morphological differences in the skull and bone structure, and DNA analysis, it was estimated that the animal diverged from other rodents...