Topic ID #8204 - posted 7/27/2010 3:09 AM

Archaeologists Discover Biggest Rat That Ever Lived: Weight of About 6 Kilograms (Over 13 Lb)



Jennifer Palmer

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Archaeologists Discover Biggest Rat That Ever Lived: Weight of About 6 Kilograms (Over 13 Lb)

ScienceDaily (July 26, 2010) — Archaeological research in East Timor has unearthed the bones of the biggest rat that ever lived, with a body weight around six kilograms.

The cave excavations also yielded a total of 13 species of rodents, 11 of which are new to science. Eight of the rats weighed a kilogram or more.

"East Indonesia is a hot spot for rodent evolution. We want international attention on conservation in the area," CSIRO's Dr Ken Aplin says.

"Rodents make up 40 per cent of mammalian diversity worldwide and are a key element of ecosystems, important for processes like soil maintenance and seed dispersal. Maintaining biodiversity among rats is just as important as protecting whales or birds."

Carbon dating shows that the biggest rat that ever lived survived until around 1000 to 2000 years ago, along with most of the other Timorese rodents found during the excavation. Only one of the smaller species found is known to survive on Timor today.


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Post ID#17954 - replied 7/31/2010 9:12 AM



DesertSuperRat

I am of the opinion that the significance of the roles played by rodent species...and most especially...rats in ecosystems shared with hominids and early humans has been woefully underestimated by most researchers.

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