During a trip to a local market in Laos, Southeast Asia, zoologists on a fact-finding mission to look for new species of rodents previously not known to exist, stumbled across a previously not known to exist species of rodent for sale on a butcher's block. They were completely stunned as finding a new species of rodent doesn't happen every day.
"We were completely stunned," said chief zoologist Darwin Charles. "Finding a new species of rodent doesn't happen every day."
The rodent, which looks a bit like a chinchilla, has a squirrel's head, a rat's body and a long hairy tail like a small cat with a long hairy tail, so isn't really like a chinchilla at all, as a chinchilla has all the anatomy of a normal chinchilla making it unmistakeably chinchilla-like, unlike this non-chinchilla-like, chinchilla-like rodent.
"At first we thought it was a chinchilla," continued the renowned zoologist. "However, on closer inspection, it wasn't like a chinchilla at all. The locals call it a ‘kha-nyou', which doesn't even sound like chinchilla, even with a lisp, so we knew we weren't looking at a chinchilla; we were looking at a kha-nyou."
The local Laotian meat seller was able to shed light on matter. "Of course it wasn't a chinchilla," he told a translator who happened to be passing by. "We only do chinchilla on Mondays, Wednesdays and alternate Fridays. Today is Saturday, so it's kha-nyou, unless it's the first Saturday of the month which is my day off."
When asked what a ‘kha-nyou' was in English, the translator said, "How should I know? It's only just been discovered….. although it does look a bit like a chinchilla."
The Royal Zoological Society was ecstatic at the discovery. "There is so much of the world we haven't discovered yet, mainly because we don't know how much is left to be discovered because it hasn't been discovered yet. However we know that it is there to be discovered when we keep discovering previously undiscovered discoveries," said a spokeman.
Sir Richard Attenborough was unable to comment. "You've got me mixed up with my brother David. He's the chinchilla expert in the family."