This Animal Species Has Been Hiding Undetected in Turkey for Up to 3 Million Years

By: Lauren Fokas | Last updated: Oct 17, 2023

A recent discovery in Turkey of two completely new species of moles who may have been hiding undetected for three million years has made headlines. 

With over 6,500 mammal species identified on Earth, most people believe that scientists have a complete understanding of the mammals who live here, but this new finding shows that they can still be surprised.

Where Were the Moles Found?

Researchers from the Ondokuz Mayis University in Turkey, Indiana University in the US, and the University of Plymouth, UK, found the moles in the mountains of southeastern Turkey—specifically, the Hakkari region. 


Source: Getty Images

Since discovering the moles, the team has collected extensive research and completed a detailed analysis of their DNA in order to determine whether or not they actually are their own species. 

What Makes These Moles Different?

After the research was complete, they determined that they did in fact find two new species of moles, naming them Talpa hakkariensis and Talpa davidiana tatvanensis. 


Source: Beeki/Pixabay

While the moles look much like the others belonging to a familiar group of invertebrate-eating mammals found across Europe and Western Asia, their DNA and morphology are distinctly different from any other moles on Earth. 

Why Is This Discovery So Important?

Professor David Bilton of the University of Plymouth explained why this discovery is ground-breaking. “It is very rare to find new species of mammals today,” he said. 


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“Our study highlights how, in such circumstances, we can underestimate the true nature of biodiversity, even in groups like mammals, where most people would assume we know all the species with which we share the planet.’‘

How Could the New Species Have Gone Unnoticed?

Because these moles can thrive in temperatures of up to 122 ºF and live buried six feet below the snow in the winter, researchers believe they have comfortably hidden themselves in the mountains of Turkey for more than three million years.


Source: 4FR/Getty Images

Without this team that specifically set out to look for new mammal species, these moles could have gone unnoticed for another million years!