Tiny mammal found related to elephants

New Mammal

A newly-discovered diminutive mammal has been found to be genetically related to elephants, scientists say.

Macroscelides micus — as goes the 7.5-inch (19-cm)-long creature’s scientific name — has been found in Namibia and is akin in appearance to a mouse with a long snout.

John Dumbacher, a California scientist who helped identify the animal, said the animal is covered in red fur, which helps it blend itself into the rocky terrain it inhabits.

He said, “It turns out this thing that looks and acts like shrews that evolved in Africa is more closely related to elephants.”

Scientists, however, said the only thing that makes the animal exteriorly like an elephant is its elongated snout.

The mammal is also physically akin to an antelope and hunts like an anteater.

The scientist said the differences between this and all other known species are very subtle.

Genetically, Macroscelides micus is very different from other members of the genus and it is exciting to think that there are still areas of the world where even the mammal fauna is unknown and waiting to be explored, he noted.

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