The Hog-Nosed Rat Just Got Discovered. Twice. Simultaneously.

The Hog-Nosed Rat Just Got Discovered. Twice. Simultaneously.

This is Hyorhinomys stuempkei. It lives on one island in Indonesia, and it recently pulled an interesting prank on two zoologists, both of whom thought they discovered it.

When Jake Esselstyn, the Curator of Mammals at Louisiana State University, he found what's now known as the "hog-nosed rat" in a trap while doing a survey of Sulawesi, he saw that it was "charismatically different" from other rats. He also saw that it was a part of the island's endemic rat population, not a rat that skittered off a boat recently and made its home on the island. He'd discovered a new species.

When he returned to the central camp with his find, who should he meet but Kevin Rowe, a colleague and the Curator of Mammals at Museum Victoria. Rowe had been checking the traps on the other side of camp. Guess what he found?

Yep, the hog-nosed rat was discovered at pretty much the same moment by two different scientists. The rat differs from other rodents on Sulawesi. According to the paper describing it, "It is distinguished from all other Indonesian murines by its large, flat, pink nose with forward-facing nares [nostrils]. Relative to other Sulawesi murines, the species has extremely large ears (~ 21% of head and body length), very long urogenital hairs."

It also, apparently, has a sense of humour.

[Source: A Hog-Nosed Shrew From Sulawesi Island, Indonesia and LSU Museum Curator Discovers New Species]