July 28, 2010

An unusually icky prehistoric find this week in East Timor, where scientists have unearthed an ancient rat the size of a small dog.

The Australian team uncovered the rat and found that it would have weighed in at 13 pounds or so. Bigger than my cat. You'd need quite a hard core exterminator to take care of these!

Said one of the scientists about this prehistoric pest, "Rodents make up 40 percent of mammalian diversity worldwide and are a key element of ecosystems, important for processes like soil maintenance and seed dispersal. Although less than 15 per cent of Timor?s original forest cover remains, parts of the island are still heavily forested, so who knows what might be out there?""

Giant Dog Sized Rat

Australian archaeologists have documented the remains of ancient giant rats the size of small dogs which were discovered in a remote East Timorese cave. Ken Aplin of government science agency CSIRO said the rats, detailed in the Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History this week, grew up to six kilograms (13 pounds) -- nearly the size of an adult Jack Russell. The remains of the super-rats, three times the size of the largest living species, were among 13 types of rodents discovered during years of research in East Timor. Aplin told AFP the rats lived there until 1,000 to 2,000 years ago, and were likely wiped out by changes in agricultural practices and habitat clearance.

Giant Dog Sized Rat

Posted at July 28, 2010 6:22 AM