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New giant rat species discovered

By Andrew Moran     Sep 7, 2009 in Science
In Papua New Guinea, scientists have discovered a new species of giant rats in a giant remote rainforest in the country and labelled as the Bosavi Woolly Rat
More rats the world has to deal with, this new species is measured at 82 centimeters (32.2 inches) from nose to tail and weighing around 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds), reports CNN. Some scientists believe this is one of the largest rats to be found on the planet.
Kristofer Helgen, a biologist from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, who was part of the expedition team, said, ‘This is one of the world's largest rats. It's a true rat, the same kind you find in the city sewers.’
Named the Bosavi woolly rat, preliminary examinations may classify this rat under the Mallomys, which are a genus of rodents. Two years prior to this discovery, another species of rats were found in Foja Mountains in Papua New Guinea's Mamberamo Basin, which appeared to be very similar to this new find.
One scientist said that these rats were unafraid of humans mostly because they have never seen them before. George McGavin, a Research Associate at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and The Department of Zoology of Oxford University told CNN, ‘It's hard to be sure exactly how many new species we have found, but it is more than 30. To find new species of insects in this region isn't uncommon, but we found sixteen new frog species, one new bat species and at least three new fish, and this giant bloody rat -- the size of a cat. Amazing!’
In March 2010, the team of experts will go to Bhutan to try and discover more species.
The group’s mission statement is to let it be known that these forests are threatened, ‘In fact, only 20 miles away from where we were the wood was being extracted,’ McGavin said.
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