Meet Hyorhinomys stuempkei, a Hog-nosed Rat

by Web Team
Publish date
9 October 2015
Comments (2)

As part of an international research team, Museum Victoria scientists have discovered a new species of mammal: a hog-nosed rat named Hyorhinomys stuempkei.

Discovered in a remote and mountainous area of Sulawesi Island in Indonesia, the Hog-nosed Rat, Hyorhinomys stuempkei, is a new species of mammal previously undocumented in any scientific collection.

Hyorhinomys stuempkei Hyorhinomys stuempkei
Image: Kevin Rowe
Source: Museum Victoria

The new species has such a unique anatomy and is so genetically different from other species that it was described not only as a new species but a new genus (a step above a new species). The team’s research will be published as the cover story of the October edition of Journal of Mammalogy.

Discovered by an international team comprising Dr. Kevin Rowe (Museum Victoria); Heru Handika (Museum Victoria); Anang Achmadi (Museum Zoologicum Bogoriense), and Dr. Jacob Esselstyn (Louisiana State University Museum of Natural Science), this new discovery is the third new genus described by this international collaboration since 2012, and identifies a rodent with features never before seen by science.

Let yourself get acquainted with the "charismatically different" Hyorhinomys stuempkei, "like no other rat that's been seen on Sulawesi", courtesy of two of its discoverers, Museum Victoria's Dr. Kevin Rowe and the LSU Museum of Natural Science's Dr. Jacob Esselstyn.

The interest in the Hog-nosed Rat's discovery has been phenomenal on news sites and on digital and social media, including the BBC, Time, CNN, The Guardian, The Press Association, Al Jazeera, ABC radio and TV, The Age, The Guardian, the Jakarta Post, the Daily Mail, Mirror, the Independent and The Australian.

A media release, "Museum Victoria Scientists Announce Discovery of a Hog-nosed Rat", is available on the MV website.

Research, Sciences

Comments (2)

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Caroline Copley 28 October, 2015 18:08
Wonderful but of course Sulawesi has a terrible poaching program and alerting anyone to where they are means they will end up as bush meat in the market like so many other animals there. On another note I am wondering if the fossil shrew found in Australia (the only placental ever found) many years ago could somehow in fact be a coloniser from places like this. It would be interesting if DNA could be obtained.
Discovery Centre 30 October, 2015 10:45

Hi Caroline - this new species of Rat is a rodent from the subfamily Murinae, not related closely to the superficially shrew-like Australosphenid fossils found in the Cretaceous sediments here in Victoria. In phylogenetic terms, rats and mice like this are more closely related to us than they are to the Australosphenids.


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Updates on what's happening at Melbourne Museum, the Immigration Museum, Scienceworks, the Royal Exhibition Building, and beyond.