Feeds

Explorers unearth cat-sized rat

Papua New Guinea volcano-dwelling beast

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
OK Google, do I have CANCER?
Company talks up pill that would spot developing tumors
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.