Friday, January 9, 2009

From the Fire Swamp come Rodents of Unusual Size

Looking remarkably like the Rodents of Unusual Size familiar to some from the Fire Swamp in The Princess Bride film comes the first ever video of an ancient lineage of mammals known as a Solenodons.  The video features  Solenodon paradoxus, a relict population that persists on the island of Hispanola in the caribbean.  One of the many curious aspects of Solendons are that they possess a toxic saliva with a salivary duct placed at the base of a lower incisor.  Not rodents at all, Solenodons are in their own family and traditionally placed in the order Insectivora, though recent treatments place them in the order Soricomorpha, which includes many shrews.