Sengi mouse species contain elephant genes: research – News Tonight Africa

Sengi mouse species contain elephant genes: research

American researchers have discovered a new species of mouse in the remote northwestern region of Namibia that surprisingly contain elephant genes.

Researchers at the California Academy of Sciences studied a group of mice known in Namibia by their Bantu-derived name Sengi. They noticed that the newly discovered elephant shrew species had a snout that looked a bit similar to elephant’s trunk.

They also noticed that the specimens collected by them from a remote region of Namibia were different from the sengis that they had studied earlier. To confirm the difference, they revisited the same remote region in Namibia several times from 2005 to 2011 and collected sixteen more specimens.

A genetic analysis of the new specimens, they confirmed not only a new sengi species, Macroscelides micus, which was different from sengis studied earlier.

Jack Dumbacher, a researcher involved in the study, said, “Had our colleagues not collected those first invaluable specimens, we would never have realized that this was in fact a new species, since the differences between this and all other known species are very subtle.”

The genetic study not only confirmed the discovery of a new species but also revealed that the species was more related to elephants and sea cows than to shrews.

Found in the desert area of Namibia, the Sengis was first described in 1968. This species escaped the eye of humans because of its very small population.

Sengi mouse species contain elephant genes: research – News Tonight Africa

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