New Pygmy Possum and Giant Rat Discovered

Much like Pier 1 Imports is the place to make great unexpected holiday gift discoveries this season, Indonesia is the #1 source for mildly inventive new mammal species. In the Foja Mountains rainforest of eastern Papua province, a joint Indonesian and American research team recently stumbled across some new critters. More correctly, in the case of at least one, it stumbled across them. "The giant rat is about five times the size of a typical city rat," said Kristofer Helgen, a scientist with the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. "With no fear of humans, it apparently came into the camp several times during the trip."

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New species of giant rat. (Credit: Bruce M Beehler)

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A probable new species of pygmy possum in the genus Cercartetus (Pygmy Possum). (Credit: Bruce M Beehler)

Details of the possibly new pygmy possum species were not disclosed beyond the fact that it is "adorable and looks like a cartoon character." Helgen went onto explain how two of their researchers were badly bitten trying to give the possum "wittle kisses."

Conservation International, based out of D.C., has branded the area a "Lost World" and a steady stream of new species (and associated press releases) have emerged over the last two years.

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In NYC, they call that rat "Tiny", but that is a cute wittel possum. Not sure how Granny Clampett would cook up a mess o them, but it would proably include greens of some kind.

Man, that is a CUTE possum. Perhaps that's its adaptation. It draws in fool humans with its unbearable cuteness.

He needs a little thought bubble, reading 'I so cute, come a widdle bit closer, I want to know what your eyeballs taste like!'

I just spontaneously cuddled my screen. This possum can have my eyeball...actually both my eyeballs if it wants.

By Don Quijote (not verified) on 17 Dec 2007 #permalink

Perhaps the rat is a descendant the "Giant Rat of Sumatra" that Holmes assured us, lo these many years ago, the story of which the world is "not yet prepared".


By ivan divan (not verified) on 01 Jan 2008 #permalink

that pygmy possum looks a lot like a sugar glider which also happens to be a marsupial....

and from the sound of it, the behavior is similar as well(you know, with the biting and everything. owned 3 sugar gliders and bred them, they like to nibble on their humans...though, the males are less agressive and a lot more adaptable to be around humans) i wonder if their diet is similar(nectar, fruit, insects, small birds and mice....etc)