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A new rat species discovered that cannot chew

In Indonesia a brand new type of a few-toothed rodent was found that cannot chew or gnaw, so how and what does it eat then?

  Author: Sheeva | Source: discovermagazine.com | 22nd August 2012  

It is always great news when new animal species are found and this funny looking rat is no exception, even if you are not the biggest rat fan. A shrew-rat as the Jacob Esselstyn, the guy who found it is calling it, was found on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, the same island where also a scary looking giant wasp was discovered just recently.

So what is so special on the shrew-rat? Well as already said, this perculiar only a few inches long rat cannot chew or gnaw on anything. Its main feature is a long snout, where on the end of the lower jaw it has the typical flat incisor teeth and on the lower jaw a pair of bicuspids - teeth similar to the ones next to your pointy canines. And these are all the teeth a shrew-rat owns, this means unlike any other rodent out there, it has no molars to chew its food with.

So what and how does this shrew-rat eat?  Earth worms and similar soft food that does not require to be chewed on. It uses its two front incisor teeth to cut the worms into smaller pieces and then simply swallow them down. A shrew-rat is another prove of evolution dumping the body parts that are not needed anymore for a specific species to survive.

On the picture above we can see skull and jaws of a shrew-rat, notice there are no molars present, where if you take a look at the brown rat side of the picture, you can clearly see the molars on the upper and lower jaw.


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