In the Shadows of Machu Picchu, Scientists Find ‘Extinct’ Cat-Sized Rodent
by Jeremy Hance
Below one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world, scientists have made a remarkable discovery: a living cat-sized mammal that, until now, was only known from fossils.
The Machu Picchu arboreal chinchilla rat (Cuscomys oblativa) was first described from two enigmatic skulls discovered in Incan pottery sculpted 400 years ago. Dug up by Hiram Bignham in 1912, the skulls were believed to belong to a species that went extinct even before Francisco Pizarro showed up in Peru with his motley army.
Yet, all that changed in 2009 when a park ranger, Roberto Quispe, found what was believed to be a living Machu Picchu arboreal chinchilla rat near the original archaeological site.”In Conservation Biology this type of rediscoveries is called the Lazarus effect,” writes a team of Mexican and Peruvian scientists in a press release, who years later sought to confirm Quispe’s discovery…
(read more: MongaBay)
photograph by Roberto Quispe