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The Animal Kingdom

New species of mouse and bird discovered

By Genet Berhane | October 19 , 2006

new species of mouse
A new species of mouse, named Mus cypriacus, was discovered in Cyprus. (Photo: AP Images)

October 19, 2006

One scurries across land, and one flies through the sky. What do they have in common? They’re both recently discovered mammals—a mouse and a bird—that have captured the attention of conservationists across the globe.

Mighty Mouse

Archaeologist Thomas Cucchi discovered the new mouse while working in Cyprus in 2004. Its head, ears, eyes, and teeth are larger than those of European mice.

DNA testing has confirmed that it is a new species, named Mus cypriacus. According to Cucchi, the mouse lives in the mountains of Cyprus.

In order to learn more about the history of the new mouse, Cucchi and his team compared the teeth of the new mouse with those from mouse fossils. Cucchi’s research revealed that the new mouse species had inhabited Cyprus several thousand years before the arrival of man.

“The discovery of this new species and the riddle of its survival offers a new area of study for scientists," said Cucchi, a research fellow at Durham University in northeast England.

Bird of Many Colors

new bird species
The bright yellow and red-crowned Yariguies Brush-Finch, is named for the Yariguies tribe that once lived in the region. (Photo: Blanca Huertas/AP Images)

Colombia, in South America, is the second hotspot for a recent discovery—a colorful new bird.

“There are about two to three new birds found in the world every year,” said British researcher Thomas Donegan. “It’s a very rare event.”

Donegan and his Colombian research partner, Blanca Huertas, came across their find while exploring a region of Andean cloud forest in 2004. The bird, a yellow and red-crowned Yariguies Brush-Finch, is named for the Yariguies tribe that once lived there.

A new bird is exciting, but there might be even more news to come from the team in Colombia.

"This is just the first of several new species that we will be describing from the Yariguies Mountains, including several new butterflies,” said Huerta.

Researchers consider the new bird a member of a nearly endangered species. After being examined and photographed, it was released unharmed.

Columbia is reportedly home to more than 1,800 species of birds.

 

Critical Thinking Question

Read today's news story, and then answer the following question.



The Animal Kingdom

What do you think scientists can learn from new species of animals?

Join a discussion of this question on our bulletin board.

 

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