A French archaeologist says he has identified a new species of mouse on Cyprus, marking what could be the first discovery of a new mammal in Europe for many years.
Thomas Cucchi says the "Cypriot mouse" has a larger head, ears, eyes and teeth than other known species of European mice. He made the discovery while studying modern and ancient mice in Cyprus in 2004.
Cucchi says the finding is exciting because scientists generally believed every species of mammal in Europe had already been identified. He says new species are usually discovered in regions of Southeast Asia that are hot spots of biodiversity.
The French scientist, who works for Durham University in Britain, says the Cypriot mouse appears to have been present on the island for several thousand years, predating the arrival of humans.
He says the survival of the mouse is highly unusual, because the other endemic mammals of the Mediterranean died out after humans settled in the region.Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.