We describe a new genus and species of large-bodied murine from archaeological deposits at Liang Bua, a limestone cave in western Flores, East Nusa Tenggara, Indonesia. Among a large assemblage of murine remains, several mandibular elements recovered from mostly Holocene sediments show a distinct anatomy, with a long and robust jaw, massive proodont incisors, and relatively small molars. These morphological features are unusual among murines but most similar to terrestrial and carnivorous species of the Indo-Pacific, colloquially referred to as shrew rats (Philippines, Sulawesi) or moss mice (New Guinea), and indicate a potential carnivorous dietary adaptation, perhaps specializing in a vermivorous diet. The size of the mandible indicates that this murine is the largest shrew rat yet known. Although presumed extinct, targeted field research is needed to determine if this rat still lives on Flores today.
Veatch, E. Grace, Pierre-Henri Fabre, Matthew W. Tocheri, Thomas Sutikna, E. Wahyu Saptomo, Guy G. Musser, and Kristofer M. Helgen. 2023. A new giant shrew rat (Rodentia: Muridae: Murinae) from Flores, Indonesia and a comparative investigation of its ecomorphology. In Contributions to Mammalogy and Zooarchaeology of Wallacea, ed. K. M. Helgen and R. K. Jones. Records of the Australian Museum 75(5): 741–764.