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Researchers find new genus of rat in Indonesia

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An international team of zoologists has identified a new genus of rat in the Moluccan province of Indonesia that represents a unique set of characteristics.

The newly found animal was discovered on the Halmahera Island in Wallacea, an Eastern Indonesian region.

Researchers believe that the species locally dubbed Halmaheramys bokimekot lives only in Wallacea region which has been named after the British Naturalist Alfred Russell Wallace.

The region had a profound influence on Wallace who independently developed the theory of evolution alongside Charles Darwin and published his findings in 1858.

Halmaheramys bokimekot is described as a terrestrial spiny rat of medium body size with brownish grey fur on its back and a grayish white belly.

The animal features a unique set of characteristics has never been reported in any other places, researchers say.

“This new rodent highlights the large amount of unknown biodiversity in this Wallacean region and the importance of its conservation,” said the project leader Pierre-Henri Fabre from the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the University of Copenhagen.

“The discovery constitutes a valuable addition to our knowledge of the Wallacean biodiversity and much remains to be learned about mammalian biodiversity across this region,” he stated.


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