Feeds

Explorers unearth cat-sized rat

Papua New Guinea volcano-dwelling beast

New hybrid storage solutions

A BBC camera crew backed by biologists has identified a new species of giant rat. The massive rodent has been discovered living exclusively inside the crater of an extinct Papua New Guinea volcano.

The team first spotted the beast on footage from an infrared camera trap inside the crater of Mount Bosavi, in the country's southern highlands. Kasua tribe trackers accompanying the explorers then managed to capture a live specimen.

Cameraman Gordon Buchanan noted: "I had a cat and it was about the same size as this rat."

Team member Dr Kristofer Helgen, a mammalogist from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, said: "This is one of the world's largest rats. It is a true rat, the same kind you find in the city sewers."

The example in question was an 82cm-long individual, weighing in at 1.5kg. It was captured at an altitude of over 1,000m and sports "a silver-brown coat of thick long fur" to help it survive the cold.

The giant rat from the Foja Mountains. Pic: Bruce Beehler / Conservation InternationalInitial investigation suggests the new "giant woolly rat" belongs to the genus Mallomys. A 2007 Conservation International excursion to New Guinea identified "another closely related giant woolly rat (pictured), which can weigh up to 1.4kg", albeit in the Foja Mountains in the north of the Indonesian half of the island.

Neither CI's monster nor the latest discovery have been formally named, although the latter has provisionally been dubbed the "Bosavi Woolly Rat". The other members of the genus Mallomys native to New Guinea are the Alpine Woolly Rat (Mallomys gunung), De Vis's Woolly Rat (Mallomys aroaensis), Rothschild's Woolly Rat (Mallomys rothschildi) and the Subalpine Woolly Rat (Mallomys istapantap).

The Bosavi Woolly Rat will make its TV debut on 22 September, as part of the The Lost Land of the Volcano series, which kicks off on BBC One tomorrow at 21:00 BST. The BBC has further details on the find, plus footage of the Bosavi Woolly Rat, right here. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Chelyabinsk-sized SURPRISE asteroid to skim Earth, satnav birds
Space rock appears out of nowhere, buzzes planet on Sunday
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
'Duck face' selfie in SPAAAACE: Rosetta's snap with bird comet
Probe prepares to make first landing on fast-moving rock
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.