Friday, 19 May 2017

New species of South American rabbit discovered




Date: May 16, 2017
Source: Portland State University

A Portland State University researcher discovered that a rabbit known for centuries to exist in South America is different enough from its cousins to be its own unique species.

"At a time when species are going extinct every day, it's encouraging to know we can add one back on the list of survivors," said PSU biology professor Luis Ruedas.

His findings will be published May 17 in the Journal of Mammalogy.

Ruedas made his discovery after studying rabbit specimens at the Naturalis museum in Leiden, in The Netherlands. The specimens, collected in 1983 from the small country of Suriname on South America's northeast coast, were labeled as South American cottontails.

Ruedas studied the anatomy of the museum specimens and determined they were larger and shaped differently than other rabbits throughout South America -- so much so that they deserved to be classified as a distinct species.

The creature will be only the third new rabbit species named in South America since the start of the modern classification system 260 years ago.

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