Today's letter from the Editor
Today's Matrices
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Security Advisor – Permanent – Surrey - £60k-£70k

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

MI Analyst – Permanent – West Sussex – £25k-£35k

£25000 - £35000 Per Annum plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

English Teacher

£100 - £160 per day + Mileage and Expenses: Randstad Education Leeds: Temporar...

KS1 Supply Teacher

£80 - £110 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recruiting fo...

Page 3 Profile: Round-eared elephant shrew, new species of mammal

I’m sorry, the what?

Yes, you heard correctly. Scientists claim they have found a mouse-like creature with a nose shaped like an elephant’s trunk. This unusual specimen has been seen in a remote desert in Namibia by two researchers from the California Academy of Sciences. Jack Dumbacher and Galen Rathbun made the discovery while undertaking research in south‑western Africa.

What are they going to call it… a molephant?

Actually, the newly discovered species is known as an “elephant shrew”, or Macroscelides. “Think about crossing a miniature antelope and an anteater,” Dr Rathbun said when trying to describe the essence of the 9cm creature.

Any other defining features?

Yes, at the moment you’ll only find this creature in Africa. It eats termites and insects like an anteater. Scientists say it is particularly unusual as it is entirely monogamous. And its reproductive capabilities are rather impressive: the elephant shrew mainly gives birth to twins or triplets, which are covered in fur and ready to run from the moment they’re born.

How did they remain undetected for so long – was it playing hide and squeak?

Scientists think it was simply invisible to humans because of the difficulties in conducting field research in such isolated areas. Plus the climate of the desert is thought to have made it difficult for the creature to  even survive.

Wait, is this the first of many similar discoveries?

Genetically the elephant shrew is very different from other members of its family. There are currently 17 known species of elephant shrew, and the guess is there could be more unusual discoveries ahead...

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Career Services

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album