FunNature & AnimalThey discover the mammal that lives at the highest...

They discover the mammal that lives at the highest altitude

Not mountain goats or anything like that. The highest living animal on the planet is nothing but a rodent, an adorable little one called the yellow-eared mouse ( Phyllotis xanthopygus rupestris ).

It has been a team of researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln who have confirmed this record after catching a live specimen at an altitude of 6,739 meters. The mouse was first seen in 2013 when researchers filmed a small rodent through the rocky landscape of Llullaillaco, a dormant volcano on the western edge of the Andes Mountains along the Argentina-Chile border.

In a later expedition they managed to capture one on the summit of Llullaillaco at this dizzying altitude. While big-eared pikas had been observed at close to 6,000 meters in the Himalayas, there has never been live evidence of mammals permanently staying at such an altitude.

These mice must endure subzero temperatures as low as -65 ° C and desperately low oxygen levels, about 45% less oxygen than at sea level. Food is also scarce , so it is likely that they are feeding on insects and lichens.

Experts hope to study this species further to see how it survives and thrives in this extreme environment.

Reference: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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