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An Animal Thought to Be Extinct is Still Living

By Celina Yin

Mice native to Australia, called the Gould’s mouse, that was thought to have been extinct for over 150 years, was found in Shark Bay, Western Australia. Scientists have discovered that the Gould’s mouse was visually and genetically the same as the mice found in Shark Bay. The Gould’s mouse was last seen in 1857, and has never been seen again, so scientists thought it was extinct. “It’s very exciting, I think everybody likes the idea of removing a species from the ever-growing list of extinct species in Australia,” said the leader of the study, Dr Emily Roycroft.

34 Australian mammals have been declared extinct since the Europeans arrived in 1788. “We get to take a name off that list, which is great, but at the same time is quite sobering,” Dr Roycroft said. The Australian National University’s research team’s goal was to compare eight other extinct mammals of native Australia to 42 living rodents to examine the decrease of the mammals since Europeans arrived. The team discovered the surprising connection between the Gould’s mouse and mice of Shark Bay on a museum’s preserved specimen of a Gould’s mouse. The Shark Bay mouse, known also as Djoongari, could keep its name, but its scientific name would be the Gould’s mouse’s scientific name, Pseudomys gouldii. The “extinct” species is now living peacefully in Shark Bay, out of reach of extinction.

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