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Field Museum biologist helps discover seven new species of mice

PhoApomys Brownorum one seven new mammal species thgroup American Filipino biologists recently discovered Philippines.

Photo of a Apomys Brownorum, one of seven new mammal species that a group of American and Filipino biologists recently discovered in the Philippines.

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Updated: June 18, 2011 7:23AM

On a volcanic island that’s home to the world’s largest bat, wild pigs and iridescent blue earthworms more than a foot long, perhaps it’s hard to get too excited about a little mouse.

Actually, that’s seven mice — all newly discovered species found on the Philippines’ Luzon Island between 2004 and 2009 by a team of biologists that includes Lawrence R. Heaney, curator of mammals at the Field Museum.

The team’s findings — published in May’s edition of the scientific journal, “Fieldiana” — are expected to help conservation efforts in a nation in which natural resources have been “very, very poorly managed,” Heaney said.

“People get very excited when told something lives in their backyard and doesn’t like anywhere else in the world, even if it’s some silly little mouse,” Heaney said.

When biologists have previously announced the discovery of a new species, it’s led the Philippine government to declare those areas in which the creatures live natural parks, Heaney said.

“We’re hopeful that will happen for two of the areas where the new species of mice come from,” Heaney said.

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