Newly Discovered Mouse-Like Mammal and Elephants Are Long Lost Cousins

Jun 27, 2014 11:32am
GTy Micus Elephant TG 140626 16x9 608 Newly Discovered Mouse Like Mammal and Elephants Are Long Lost Cousins

(Galen Rathbun/California Academy of Sciences | Getty Images)

Imagine the family reunion: In one corner, a three-ton elephant, in the other, a mouse-like mammal weighing in at about one ounce.

The small creature, which was discovered in Namibia, looks like a mouse at first glance. However, it is more closely related genetically to elephants, according to researchers from the California Academy of Sciences.

Photos: Amazing Animals From Around the World

Like its distant relative, the tiny round-eared elephant shrew has a trunk, however the outward resemblance seems to end there.

However, genetic testing revealed the creature was a newly discovered species and had ties in the animal kingdom to elephants, manatees and aardvarks.

Scientists believe the mouse-like mammal went undiscovered so long because it lives in an isolated area and has rust-colored fur, allowing it to blend in with the terrain of western Africa.

“It’s exciting to think that there are still areas of the world where even the mammal fauna is unknown and waiting to be explored,” Jack Dumbacher,  the Academy’s Curator of Ornithology and Mammalogy, said in a news release.

It’s certainly not the first time two seemingly unrelated animals — or people for that matter — have been connected.

President Barack Obama and Brad Pitt are distant cousins, according to researchers at the New England Historic Genealogical Society.

Playboy founder Hugh Hefner is the ninth cousin of President George W. Bush and Secretary of State John Kerry. Hef is twice removed from George W., and a slightly closer relation to Kerry, being only once removed.

 

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