Andean long-tailed chinchillas are mysteriously thriving on Chile’s coast

Wednesday, May 24, 2023 - 20:22 in Paleontology & Archaeology

Camera trap footage captured a coastal long-tailed chinchilla moving about during the daytime—an exceedingly rare activity—near Antofagasta, Chile. Photo by Alejandro Peñaloza This article was originally featured on Hakai Magazine, an online publication about science and society in coastal ecosystems. Read more stories like this at In 2020, on a rocky hillside overlooking the vast swell of the Pacific Ocean near the Chilean port city of Antofagasta, a local man out walking his dog stumbled upon the sun-bleached skull of a small mammal. Curious, he pocketed it and brought it to the attention of researchers Alejandro Peñaloza and Jaime Jiménez. The scientists were shocked. The skull belonged to a long-tailed chinchilla, a species typically found deep within the Chilean Andes Mountains. As far as scientists knew, chinchillas had never inhabited the coast. “I couldn’t believe...

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