Species Of Manus Island Rat Weirdly Named After Detainees & Not Dutton

A new species of rat discovered on Manus Island has been named after detainees in a show of solidarity.

Rattus detentus – which is Latin for “detained” – is believed to have lived on the island for hundreds of thousands of years.

Aussie scientist on the team and former Australian of the Year Professor Tim Flannery – who has spent 30 years looking for this (possibly endangered) rat – was the one who originally suggested the name to his colleagues, The Guardian reports, and they immediately agreed.

“It’s not very often as a scientist you get to make a statement like this, but I wanted to express my sympathy and my solidarity for the people held in the detention centre on Manus,” he said. “I wanted to say to them, in this small way, ‘You are not forgotten’.”

Even the paper announcing the species (published in the Journal of Mammalogy) lays it out, explaining that the decision to name it detentus was in reference “to the recent use of the island to detain people seeking political and/or economic asylum in Australia.”

It describes the rat as being of a large size, with a short tail and course, spiny dark hair, although there are conflicting reports that it look more like a potato and answers to the name ‘Peter‘.

Source: The Guardian.

Photo: Journal of Mammalogy.