New rodent species found in Europe

New type of mouse discovered in Cyprus:

A previously unknown type of mouse has been discovered on the island of Cyprus, apparently the first new terrestrial mammal species discovered in Europe in decades.
The “living fossil” mouse has a bigger head, ears, eyes and teeth than other European mice and is found only on Cyprus, Thomas Cucchi, a research fellow at Durham University in northeast England, said Thursday. Genetic tests confirmed that the new mouse was a new species and it was named Mus cypriacus, or the Cypriot mouse, he said.
His findings appeared in the peer-reviewed journal Zootaxa, an international journal for animal taxonomists.
The biodiversity of Europe has been combed through so extensively since Victorian times that new mammal species are rarely found there, and few scientists had expected new creatures as large as mice to be discovered on the continent.

No! Not another living fossil!

One response to “New rodent species found in Europe

  1. Interesting. The Guardian‘s admittedly brief report
    on this discovery implies, albeit it doesn’t actually say so,
    the discovery is a fossil,
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,,1919984,00.html
    (quoted in full without permission):

    New species of mouse found in fossil remains

    A mouse with an exceptionally large head, long teeth and bulging eyes has been named as the first new species of mammal to be found in Europe this century.

    Durham University archaeologist Thomas Cucchi made the discovery in Cyprus while examining the fossilised remains of Neolithic mice teeth and comparing them with modern species.

    The mouse, named Mus cypriacus, is believed to have colonised the island several thousand years before humans arrived 10,000 years ago. Mus cypriacus may have reached Cyprus by floating on wood from Turkey or Syria, Dr Cucchi said.

    I wonder if the The Guardian‘s reportor (sub-editor?)
    was confused by the term?
    The “10,000 years” should have clewed somebody in that the mouse isn’t a fossil.