Thursday, October 12, 2006

 

Discovered: Europe's first new mammal in 100 years

A New mammal species - thought to be the first discovered in Europe for more than a century - has been identified by a scientist based at the University of Durham.

The grey mouse, found in Cyprus by Thomas Cucchi, has been confirmed as an entirely new species by genetic tests, overturning the widespread assumption that Europe had no mammals left to be discovered.

Dr Cucchi, who is French, was working on the Mediterranean island studying mouse teeth from the Stone Age period and comparing them with those of four modern mouse species when he came across a variety that seemed to differ from all known European mice.

The species, named Mus cypriacus, or the Cypriot mouse, has a larger head, ears, eyes and teeth than previously known examples. It is described in the journal Zootaxa. [Science, Evolution, Biology, Discovery]
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The Zootaxa paper "A new endemic species of the subgenus Mus (Rodentia, Mammalia) on the Island of Cyprus" is listed on this page but the link given for Abstract and excerpt is not working at the time of writing.

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