January 24, 2007
The size of a squrriel but more closely related to the spiny rat, a new nocturnal rodent was recently discovered in the cloud forests of Peru.
The Field Museum in Chicago released news of Isothrix barbarabrownae, originally found in 1999, on January 24, 2007. The rodent's distinctive look includes long, dense fur, a blocky head, and a thickly furred tail.
Scientists are intrigued by the possibility that this species may shed new light on the evolution of an entire group of tree-dwelling rodents. The closest relatives of I. barbarabrownae are found in South America's lowlands, while the new rodent was found high above at an altitude of 6,200 feet (1,889 meters).
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Illustration by Velizar Simeonovski, Courtesy of The Field Museum