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C. subspinosus, I presume?

C. subspinosus, I presume?

An unusual animal has beenrediscovered in the tropical forests of eastern Brazil, after being "lost" for more than30 years. The thin-spined porcupine, Chaetomys subspinosus, had not been sighted by scientists for decades and was feared extinct until a Brazilian biologist sigted it in December.

A local hunter led the biologist,Ilmar Bastos Santos, to a tree containing two of the nocturnal porcupines, according to a report by the World Wildlife Fund. Santos's photos are only the second set ever taken of a live thin-spined porcupine. The first was taken in 1952.

In addition to proving the species is not extinct, rediscoveryof the animal gives scientists more opportunity to solve some mysteries surrounding C. subspinosus. With hairs more like bristles than spines, the thin-spined porcupine may not even be a porcupine, but a member of the spiny rat family instead. Or it may have a unique niche between the porcupine and spiny rate familiies, says a report by Santos and others.

World Wildlife Fund officials caution that the fact that theanimal is not extinct is no guarantee it will escape the spreading destruction of the tropical forest region where it lives. According to World Wildlife Fund Vice-President Russell A. Mittermeier, "the species will require special attention if it is to survive." The endangered forested area also is the only home of species like the maned sloth and golden-headed lion tamarin monkey.
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Title Annotation:unusual porcupine found in eastern Brazil
Publication:Science News
Date:Feb 7, 1987
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