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Natural World

Machu Picchu home to giant 'extinct' rat

September 28, 2014 | Comment icon 8 comments



The ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru. Image Credit: Allard Schmidt
A species of rat thought to be extinct has been rediscovered near the Incan city's ruins in Peru.
Evidence of the Chinchilla rat, an 'extinct' mammal around the size of a domestic cat, was first discovered in 1912 when two skulls were found inside some 400-year-old Incan pottery.

In 2009 however park ranger Roberto Quispe reported coming across what is believed to have been a live specimen near the famous ruins of Machu Picchu. Not realising its significance at the time he ended up releasing it back in to the wild.

Now a team of experts from Mexico and Peru have been able to confirm once and for all that the enigmatic species is very much alive after discovering not only a live specimen near the ruins but six other previously unknown species including a new lizard and four new types of frog.
"Hard field work was conducted with the spectacular archaeological site as part of the landscape, on very steep hills, with slopes of up to 60 degrees of inclination, dominated by montane forests, with leafy trees covered with mosses, lichens and other plants," the science team wrote.

Team leader Gerardo Ceballos said he was confident that the discovery will help to encourage further conservation efforts at Machu Picchu and the surrounding areas.

"It seems that the federal government has become more interested in reducing deforestation in the national park and the sanctuary in recent years," he said.

Source: Yahoo! News | Comments (8)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by seeder 8 years ago
They may have eaten them into semi extinction, seeing as they have a love for roasted Guinea Pigs!!
Comment icon #2 Posted by GreenmansGod 8 years ago
It is really cute, maybe they could be breed as pets and at least save them as a species.
Comment icon #3 Posted by DieChecker 8 years ago
Super Cool!! I thought this was funny though... Reversing the normal trend, a cat-sized rat, known from fossils alone, has come alive..... The massive rat was known solely by two skulls discovered in 400-year-old Incan pottery. So, which is it? Fossils, or found in pottery? My guess is the term "fossils" was used incorrectly here.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Duchess Gummybuns 8 years ago
Giant rats? Sounds cheesy to me. Ahah, get it? B-because rats like cheese, and-... Yeah, I'm not funny.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Capt. 8 years ago
They may have eaten them into semi extinction, seeing as they have a love for roasted Guinea Pigs!! You are making me hungry. Seriously, those look tasty. As for the possibly unextinct giant rats - throw lots of peanuts out and see if they make more baby giant rats.
Comment icon #6 Posted by ozman 8 years ago
Picchu from Pokémon did resemble a giant rat.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Sir Wearer of Hats 8 years ago
It is really cute, maybe they could be breed as pets and at least save them as a species. Given the number of feral animals, do you REALLY want rats the size of cats breeding in the wild near your home?
Comment icon #8 Posted by stevemagegod 8 years ago
Still hoping that Bigfoot will be captured one of these days. This just goes to show you that creatures thought to be extinct are still living.


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