> Laonastes aenigmamus
Laonastes aenigmamus (Laotian rock rat)
The Laotian rock rat or kha-nyou (Laonastes aenigmamus), sometimes called the "rat-squirrel", is a rodent species of the Khammouan region of Laos. The species was first described in a 2005 article by Paulina Jenkins and coauthors, who considered the animal to be so distinct from all living rodents, they placed it in a new family, Laonastidae. It is in the monotypic genus Laonastes.In 2006, the classification of the Laotian rock rat was disputed by Mary Dawson and coauthors.
The kha-nyou was discovered by scientists visiting a market in Lao PDR in 2005. It was subsequently shown to be a living fossil the sole surviving member of an ancient group of rodents that was previously considered to have gone extinct some 11 million years ago. The kha-nyou is extremely distinct from all other mammal species, having separated from its closest living relatives, the gundis of Africa, 44 million years ago. It resembles a cross between a squirrel and a large rat, with its elongated head, small, rounded ears and bushy tail. Known only from an area of limestone karst in Khammouan Province in Lao PDR, the species is thought to be under pressure from hunting practices and possibly habitat degradation resulting from logging and the collection of firewood.
Uniqueness Scale: Similiar (0)
Uniqueness & Vulnerability Scale: Similiar & Secure (0)
Unique & Vulnerable (100)
ED Score: 44
EDGE Score: 5.89
Protected Areas provided by Le Saout, S., Hoffmann, M., Shi, Y., Hughes, A., Bernard, C., Brooks, T.M., Bertzky, B., Butchart, S.H.M., Stuart, S.N., Badman, T. & Rodrigues, A.S.L. (2013) Protected areas and effective biodiversity conservation
. Science, 342, 803–805