Laotian Rock Rat
The Laotian rock rat or kha-nyou (Latin: Laonastes aenigmamus), sometimes called the “rat-squirrel”, is a rodent species of the Khammouan region of Laos. Upon their initial discovery, Jenkins and coauthors (2005) considered the Laotian rock rat to represent a completely new family. Jenkins et al. (2004) did not compare the specimens to known rodent fossils. After such a comparison, Dawson et al. (2006) were of the opinion that the Laotian rock rat belongs to a previously described family which had only been known from fossils, the Diatomyidae. The discovery of the Laotian rock rat means an 11 million-year gap exists in the fossil record where no diatomyids have been found. Mary Dawson described Laonastes as the “coelacanth of rodents”.