A newfound white-toothed shrew of the Crocidura genus (pictured) is one of four potential new shrew species discovered during an April field survey of Mount Tompotika, a small mountain on the eastern tip of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi (map). DNA analyses currently underway will reveal which of the mammals are truly new to science.
Like all shrews, the mammals have small eyes and a sharply developed sense of smell for rooting out small invertebrates such as earthworms, said team member Jake Esselstyn, a biologist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada.
"People don't appreciate how little we know about the natural world—even basics like how many species there are on Sulawesi," Esselstyn said.
"This kind of work is important to [show] how many species live in particular places, what their evolutionary history is, and how we can preserve natural biological communities."
(See "Giant Rat, Tiny Possum Discovered in Indonesian Jungle.")