NEW ORLEANS (AP) – US researchers have identified 14 new species of shrew on an Indonesian island where only seven of this genus were previously known.
There were so many, some of them looking so similar that after a while Louisiana State University biologist Jake Esselstein and his colleagues began searching for Latin words meaning “normal.”
“Other than that, I don’t know what to call it,” said Esselstein, who named the seventh known species of pointed-nosed insect-eating mammal on the island of Sulawesi.
This is why shrews whose species names mean things like “hairy tail” and “long” are joined by “Crocidura mediocris”, “C. normalis”, “C. normal” and “C. alone.”
said Nathan S. Upham, a research assistant professor in the College of Life Sciences at Arizona State University and lead creation of the online database on mammal diversity, the Mammal Diversity Database.
Upham was not involved in the study, which was published Dec. 15 in the Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History and also involved researchers from the Indonesian Institute of Science, Museums Victoria in Australia and the University of California.
It’s been 90 years since so many new species were identified in one article, Esselstein said. A 1931 article by George Henry Hamilton Tate identified 26 possible new species of South American marsupials, but it was later discovered that 12 species were not separated for a total of 14 new species.
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