No one has had a Gold Rat for over 150 years (Pseudomys gouldii) I have seen. Therefore, the species has always been considered extinct. A study now appears in PNAS by Emily Roycroft of the University of Melbourne and her teamthat rodents survived. However, they were by no means a separate species, as the study of their genomes showed. Instead, the Shark Bay rat cannot allow animals at all (false fields) That has survived to this day on some islands off the western coast of Australia.
Originally, the biologists wanted to learn more about the decline of a total of eight species of rodents that had disappeared on the fifth continent since European colonization in 1788. They then matched the genomic analyzes with data from 42 species that still exist. They discovered that Goulds and Shark Bay rats were quite similar. “Indigenous rodents are disproportionately high in Australia. They make up a large part of the species that have disappeared here,” says Roycroft.
However, it also shows how dramatic the collapse of many species is. The Shark Bay rat was once widespread in Australia, but is now only found on a few islands. Small species are among the favorite and most common victims of introduced cats and foxes. In addition, there have been changes in the habitat.
The other seven rodent species studied showed a high level of genetic diversity before the extinction. So they had a good population, but did not adapt to new predators. At least 34 mammal species have died out in Australia in the past 230 years, more than any other continent since the dawn of the modern era. Dozens of other mammals are considered threatened. “Our biodiversity is in serious danger, but we’re not doing enough to protect it,” Roycroft says.