The red-crested tree rat is a South American rodent that was first discovered by taxonomists in 1898, and described in 1899. But alas, they've been shy since: Those two specimens discovered in 1898 were the only ones known to modern science for over a century, and subsequent taxonomic work has only been able to refer to those specimens. It was an open question whether and how it should even be categorized as a species at all, given the lack of data.
But all that changed earlier this month when volunteers at Columbia's El Dorado Nature Reserve discovered a red-crested tree rat, pictured above -- or rather, it discovered them.
The animal was rediscovered by Lizzie Noble and Simon McKeown - two volunteers with ProAves monitoring endangered amphibians. It posed for photographs - including close-ups -before calmly proceeding back to the forest.
"He just shuffled up the handrail near where we were sitting and seemed totally unperturbed by all the excitement he was causing. We are absolutely delighted to have rediscovered such a wonderful creature after just a month of volunteering with ProAves. Clearly the El Dorado Reserve has many more exciting discoveries waiting," said Lizzie Noble from Godalming, England.
Following this discovery, the red-crested tree rat is likely to be classified as a critically endangered species.
(Fundacion ProAves via Wired)