New Rodent Discovered at Asian Food Market
A new family of mammals has been found roasted at a market in Laos. The specimens look like spineless porcupines, one expert says.
Scientists who went shopping recently at an Asian food market got more than they bargained for—a rodent unknown to science was being sold as meat.
Discovered in Laos, Southeast Asia, the animal is described as an "oddball rodent" with long whiskers, stubby legs, and a furry tail. But it isn't a squirrel, and it most certainly isn't a rat, says the researcher who first spotted the animal.
Although it's been called a rock rat, the name is misleading, says Robert Timmins, of the Wildlife Conservation Society, based in New York. "It's not at all closely related to typical rats and mice," he said, adding that the description "spineless porcupine" would be more apt.
The animal is believed to represent not only