A seriously cute new species of elephant shrew — described as a cross between "a miniature antelope and an anteater" and resembling a fat mouse with a super-long snout — was recently discovered by researchers at the California Academy of Sciences, who unveiled their discovery in the Journal of Mammology this week. Named Macroscelides micus, the adorable little guy is actually more closely related to the elephant than it is to a mouse, as research associate Dr. Galen Rathbun tells CBS 5.

Rathburn and colleagues were exploring a remote part of Namibia when they found what they believed might be a new species of round-eared sengi or elephant shrew. After collecting specimens and comparing them to those in natural history collections in London, Los Angeles, South Africa, and their own, they were able to compare that it was indeed a new species. And they were surprised to learn through observation that the little creatures are monogamous, which is fairly rare in nature.

In a statement from the museum, Rathburn says: "With only about a dozen new species of mammal discovered in the wild each year, it is amazing that the Academy has been involved in describing three new sengis in the last decade." Rathburn is headed back with the team to Namibia in September to study how the animal survives in the harsh, Mars-like conditions of this part of the world.

A taxidermy Macroscelides micus is now on display in the Namib Desert diorama exhibit in the Academy’s African Hall, if you want to go take photos with it.

Here's one more photo below.


[CBS 5]
[Academy of Sciences]
[Journal of Mammalia]

Photo via the Academy of Sciences.