OLBRICHT, G. & SLIWA, A. (2014)

Elephant shrews (sengis) - neither rodent nor shrew: A historical perspective.

Navorsinge van die Nasionale Museum Bloemfontein 30(2): 18-30. ISSN 0067-9208.


We provide an overview of the family Macroscelididae, commonly known as elephant shrews or sengis, starting with their fossil history in the mid-Cretaceous period to their phylogenetic placement in the supercohort Afrotheria. The currently accepted taxonomy of modern macroscelids, with four genera and 18 species, is presented. A summary of their current conservation status in the wild, according to the 2012 Red List of Threatened Species, is also provided. This is followed by an overview of past and present research relevant to: i) the history of sengis in captivity, ii) the establishment of breeding colonies, iii) their role and value in zoological collections and, iv) their contribution to research into longevity, reproductive biology and postnatal development of small mammals.


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