In the Namibian desert a new species of elephant shrew (or round-eared sengi) has been found. This is the third new species of sengi discovered in the last decade. It inhabits a volcanic formation in the desert, a rocky, remote and desolate place. Researchers at the California Academy of Sciences discovered the new species and genetic analysis has shown that it is more closely related to the elephant, manatee and aardvark than to a mouse. Not only has this exiting discovery been made, but it was also established that the Macroscelides micus is monogamous, which is rather rare in nature. Their rust coloured fur helps the sengi blend into the rocky surroundings.
John Dumbacher, one of the scientists behind the discovery and curator of birds and mammals at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco has likened the sengi to an anteater in the way it hunts and the prey it chooses and an antelope in terms of its conformation (long, spindly legs) and sleeping habits. The sengi does not burrow into the earth but sleep next to bushes like antelopes. Similar to the anteater, the sengi sweeps the ground for insects.
“Genetically, Macroscelides micus is very different from other members of the genus and it’s exciting to think that there are still small areas of the world where even the mammal fauna is unknown and waiting to be explored,” Dumbacher said.