A group of scientists found on a small island off the west coast of Australia a mouse believed to be extinct more than 150 years ago, publishes a study on Tuesday.
The Gouldian mouse (Pseudomys gouldii) was believed to have disappeared shortly after the arrival of the colonizers to Australia by the introduction of invasive species or clearing of agricultural land, indicates the study published in the scientific journal PNAS.
However, scientists found that the DNA of this previously extinct rodent is identical to that of the Shark Bay mouse (Pseudomys fieldi), which lives on several small islands off the coast of the state of Western Australia.
The researchers came across the finding when compare samples of DNA of eight extinct Australian rodents and 42 of their living relatives, in order to analyze the decline of native species since the arrival of Europeans in Australia.
The Gould mouse find “is good news given the disproportionately high rate of extinction for indigenous rodents, accounting for 41 percent of the extinction of Australian mammals since European colonization in 1788,” said lead author Emily. Roycroft.
The Australian National University scientist, however, warns about the high risk that other Australian species will still disappear that are currently threatened and calls for greater protection.