Saturday, 23 May 2015

Meets the James Bond rodent

It's the size of a cat and looks like an oversized guinea pig, but the James Bond hutia has managed to avoid detection until now

Presented by
Melissa Hogenboom

A new cat-sized rodent has been discovered on the Caribbean island Hispaniola.

It weighs more than a kilogram, and has soft-brown fur and a short tail. It is also nocturnal and lives in small burrows or caves, which might explain why it has avoided detection for so long.

Its name: Bond, James Bond. Or at least that's the version that rolls off the tongue. Its scientific classification is Plagiodontia aedium bondi.

This may require some explanation.

James Bond was a real-life ornithologist based in the Caribbean. When Ian Fleming created his fictional master of sneak, he took his name from the ornithologist.

Bond discovered that there was a barrier running across Hispaniola, on either side of which the animals are noticeably different.

Centuries ago, there was a shallow sea channel running across the island, which prevented animals from moving freely. The barrier became known as "Bond's line".

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