Friday, February 01, 2008

Move Over, Jumbo Shrimp

A new species has been discovered, and it's "a type of giant elephant shrew."

a new elephant shrew

Okay, okay, elephant shrews are no longer believed to be shrews. But they are related to elephants. But they are pretty small. But saying "new elephant shrew" is kind of fun. And who ever thought it was necessary to say "giant elephant shrew," anyway?

The page whence I swiped this image has a short video of the animal, and it really does remind you of an elephant when you watch it move.


Beth said...

I have a certain soft spot in my heart for elephants. (Strange but true.)
This new find is a rodent! How the hell is it related to an elephant?

bjkeefe said...

Hey, the nose knows.

But seriously ... IIRC from the article, the branching took place about 100 million years ago, so it makes sense to me that one branch grew fur and the other just grew (and of course, when you're a sufficently large animal, you worry more about shedding heat than retaining it).

The really weird thing, though, is I don't get how the split could have happened when it did, given that the Earth is only 6000 years old. ;^)

John Evo said...

I'm too lazy to pull out my Ancestor's Tale, but I do believe it was in there that Dawkins talked about how many years (and generations) you could expect it to take a mouse-like creature to evolve to the size of an elephant, given the right selection pressures and it was remarkably short. Brendan, you read it didn't you? You know what I'm talking about?

bjkeefe said...

I haven't read that one yet, no. But I am familiar with the "theory."