Scientists Find New Rat With Curious Pubic Hair

Meet the hog-nosed rat
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2015 8:08 AM CDT

A newly found creature's name is the hog-nosed rat, and things don't get any more picturesque from there. Reporting on their find in the Journal of Mammalogy, scientists describe the animal, found in 2013 on Mount Dako, on Indonesia's Sulawesi Island: It's a long-faced carnivorous creature with "extremely large ears (~21% of head and body length) [and] very long urogenital hairs"—the latter being pubic hairs. Co-author Kevin Rowe tells Mashable Australia that it's unclear what purpose the hair serves, though "it probably helps it in some kind of reproductive way. Both males and females have those long ... hairs, like whiskers. They're not like human pubic hairs." Among its other features: Rowe explains that the 18-inch-long rat's mouth opening is so narrow that it can't open it much.

"It probably eats worms and insect larvae, just kind of slurping them up." (In line with that slurping, it also lacks the coronoid process on the dentary bone, which other mammals rely on to chew.) KNOE reports it's the third genus newly identified by the international team since 2012 (here's another of the team's finds), and recalls the moment the rat was found—twice. Rowe, of Museum Victoria, and LSU Museum of Natural Science Curator of Mammals Jake Esselstyn went to check their respective traps, saw what was clear to them was a new species, "came back to camp and were both surprised that the other one had it as well." The rodent was given the name Hyorhinomys stuempkei, which the Age translates from the Greek as "'hyo' meaning hog, 'rhino' meaning nose and 'mys' meaning rat." (Another unusual animal-related find: a mysterious, giant, jellylike "thing.")

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.