Researchers working in the Horn of Africa have rediscovered the Somali elephant shrew, a tiny mammal with a “trunk” that was lost to science half a century ago.
The little creature looks like a cross between a mouse and a set of needle-nose pliers, with a long, thin trunk, a scaly tail, powerful hind legs and big, glassy black eyes that will melt your heart. It’s roughly the same size as a mouse but it’s actually a distant cousin to elephants, aardvarks and manatees, which helps explain the nose.
It can hop around at 30 kilometres per hour and it uses its long nose to suck up ants. The Somali elephant shrew, also known as the Somali sengi or Elephantulus revoilii, was lost to scientists approximately 50 years ago, with only a few dozen preserved specimens left behind at museums around the world. It’s one of a few variants of the sengi on the Global Wildlife Conservation’s lost species list, which is used to help determine whether an animal has gone extinct.