Cuscomys oblativa Eaton, 1916:87

Machu Picchu arboreal chinchilla rat



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Abrocoma oblativa Eaton, 1916:87; Cuscomys oblativus Eaton, 1916:87


Conservation Status

Last record: 1600 (Fisher & Blomberg, 2012); 400+ years ago

Rediscovered in 2009 or 2012

IUCN RedList status: Data Deficient


Previously only known from two sub-fossil skulls, apparently collected "in the Inca tombs of Machu Picchu" (Thomas, 1920:220). Edmund Heller attempted to recover further specimens of this species but was unable to locate any (Ibid.). Live specimens are believed to have been recorded in 2009 and 2012 (Hance, 2014).



Machu Picchu, Peru


Biology & Ecology










Original scientific description:

Eaton, George F. (1916). The collection of osteological material from Machu Picchu. Mem. Conn. Acad. Arts Sci. 5: 3-96 + 39 pl.


Other references:

Emmons, Louise H. (1999). A new genus and species of abrocomid rodent from Peru (Rodentia: Abrocomidae). American Museum Novitates 3279: 1-14, 10 figs, 1 table.

Fisher, Diana O. and Blomberg, Simon P. (2012). Inferring Extinction of Mammals from Sighting Records, Threats, and Biological Traits. Conservation Biology 26(1): 57-67.

Hance, Jeremy. (2014a). In the shadows of Machu Picchu, scientists find 'extinct' cat-sized mammal. (September 25, 2014).

Hance J. 2014b. 'Extinct' cat-sized chinchilla found alive in shadows of Machu Picchu. The Guardian.

Ochoa, José A. et al. (2020). Confirmación de la presencia de la enigmática “rata chinchilla arborícola de Machupicchu” Cuscomys oblativus (Abrocomidae). Revista peruana de biología 27(2): 251-254.

Pacheco, V., Zeballos, Z., Vivar E. & Dunnum, J. 2008. Cuscomys oblativa. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. ( Downloaded on 17 July 2011.

Patton, J.L. and Emmons, L.H. 2015. Family Abrocomidae G.S. Miller and Gidley, 1918. In: Patton, J.L., Pardinas, U.F.J. and D'Elia, G. (eds), Mammals of South America , The University of Chicago Press.

Rivera A. 2014. Not so extinct: Cat-sized chinchilla found near Machu Picchu. Living in Peru.

Roach, N. (2016). Cuscomys oblativa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T136658A22182152. Downloaded on 04 September 2016.

Thomas, Oldfield. (1920). Report on the mammalia collected by Mr. Edmund Heller during the Peruvian expedition of 1915 under the auspices of Yale University and the National Geographic Society. Proceedings U. S. National Museum 58: 217-249 + pl. 15.

Turvey, Samuel T. (2009). Holocene mammal extinctions, pp. 41-61. In: Turvey, Samuel T. (ed.). Holocene Extinctions. Oxford, UK & New York, USA: Oxford University Press. xii + 352 pp.

Turvey, Samuel T. and Fritz, Susanne A. (2011). The ghosts of mammals past: biological and geographical patterns of global mammalian extinction across the Holocene. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 366(1577): 2564-2576. [Supplementary Information]

Voss, R.S. 2015. Family Erethizontidae Bonaparte, 1845. In: Patton, J.L., Pardiñas, U.F.J. and D'Elía, G. (eds), Mammals of South America, pp. 786-805. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago. [relevant citation?]

Wilson, D.E. & Reeder, D.M. 2005 Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Third edition. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press.

Woods, C.A. and Kilpatrick, C.W. 2005. Infraorder Hystricognathi. In: Wilson, D.E. and Reeder, D.M. (eds), Mammal Species of the World, pp. 1538-1599. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, MD, USA.


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