Friday, March 31, 2017
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help   RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos
Find: in

Rats could evolve to be as big as sheep


Posted on Tuesday, 4 February, 2014 | Comment icon 28 comments

How big can rats get ? Image Credit: CC BY-SA 2.0 Chris Barber
The extinction of several large mammal species could pave the way for super-sized rats.
Being highly adaptable, rats could soon grow to huge sizes if other larger mammal species disappear. The largest rodent species alive today is the capybara which can weigh up to 80kg, however in the past there have been even larger specimens - the extinct Josephoartegasia monesi for example grew to be the size of a large cow and weighed over a ton.

"In the Cretaceous Period, when the dinosaurs lived, there were mammals, but these were very small, rat and mouse-sized, because dinosaurs occupied the larger ecological niches," said geologist Dr Jan Zalasiewicz. "Only once the dinosaurs were out of the way did these tiny mammals evolve into many different forms, including some very large and impressive ones: brontotheriums, horses, mastodons, mammoths, rhinoceri and more."

If something similar happens in the future, animals like rats could become free to grow, spread and diversify. With gigantism being a common consequence of a smaller animal stepping in to fill the shoes of a larger species that has gone extinct, it is not outside the realm of possibility that we could be seeing rats the size of sheep or even bigger in the not-too-distant future.

Source: Independent | Comments (28)

Tags: Rats


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #19 Posted by spud the mackem on 4 February, 2014, 22:37
A couple went into a Hong Kong restaurant with their small dog,they ordered, and said could you feed the dog. The dog was presented on a plate within the hour cooked and ready to eat...true it made Time Magazine.
Comment icon #20 Posted by Eldorado on 4 February, 2014, 22:56
A couple went into a Hong Kong restaurant with their small dog,they ordered, and said could you feed the dog. The dog was presented on a plate within the hour cooked and ready to eat...true it made Time Magazine. Did they finish it or take some home in a doggy-bag?
Comment icon #21 Posted by DecoNoir on 5 February, 2014, 1:47
Simple solution: bullets! The bigger they are the easier they are to hit!
Comment icon #22 Posted by Awake2Chaos on 5 February, 2014, 2:27
I could of gone the rest of my life without entertaining this thought. LOL, and right before bed.
Comment icon #23 Posted by avs76 on 7 February, 2014, 16:31
I'm wondering if the rats legs/feet/ankles will need to adapt to this evolution. To me it seems that their feet and ankles would not handle the increased weight if they were to grow in size. I just had a visual of the Rodents of Unusual Size in the Fire Swamp in The Princess Bride - anyone else remember that? What a great movie ...
Comment icon #24 Posted by Azznerak the Black on 9 February, 2014, 18:26
Well, Detroit is screwed....HA!!!
Comment icon #25 Posted by Scheming B on 9 February, 2014, 18:37
Huh, so itd be fair to say these would be rodents and their size would best be described as unusual. ....seems like there should be a name for something like this.
Comment icon #26 Posted by Mikko-kun on 18 February, 2014, 20:12
I doubt we'd see them in cities because people fear them, they'd shoot them. But I'd love to have them on the countryside, though they could be quite devastating to the crops. The problem is rats can chew their way outta pretty much anything, I've heard some go through even metal, but usually concrete and metal make them choose some other way or place. They could make good guards though. My 1kg rat could make me bleed if he wanted but he's a gentle boy so he just cuddles... but if he wanted he could do some damage. An 80kg rat, you wouldn't wanna mess with that, would bite your limb off pretty... [More]
Comment icon #27 Posted by acute on 18 February, 2014, 20:22
'Ere, is that rat tart? Disgusting.
Comment icon #28 Posted by psyche101 on 19 February, 2014, 6:21
These guys used to find big rats tasty......


Please Login or Register to post a comment.


  On the forums
Forum posts:
Forum topics:
Members:

5874352
252564
166440

 
James Webb telescope to undergo testing
3-30-2017
The successor to the Hubble Space Telescope is set to be placed inside a huge thermal vacuum chamber.
Tyrannosaurs used 'sixth sense' to hunt prey
3-30-2017
The giant two-legged carnivores of the Cretaceous had more than just big teeth and jaws in their arsenal.
'Miraculous' find of rare tigers in Thailand
3-30-2017
Scientists have confirmed the discovery of ten ultra-rare Indochinese tigers in Thailand's eastern jungle.
Man eats pancakes in the middle of the road
3-29-2017
A prankster was charged this week after being filmed tucking in to pancakes at a busy intersection.
Featured book
 
By Guy Lyon Playfair
A look at the story of Peggy Hodgson and her four children who, between 1977 and 1979, were at the center of one of the most terrifying poltergeist cases ever documented.
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
Man climbs stairs on his head
Posted 3-30-2017 | 4 comments
China's Li Longlong breaks a world record by climbing up a staircase standing on his head.
 
Bird of paradise courtship spectacle
Posted 3-29-2017 | 0 comments
A look at the extreme lengths birds of paradise go to in order to attract a mate.
 
Mythical monsters
Posted 3-28-2017 | 1 comment
Jeremy Wade investigates the stories behind some of the world's best known monster myths.
 
6ft rockets in slow motion
Posted 3-27-2017 | 0 comments
The Slo Mo Guys use their high-speed camera to record some rocket launches.
 
Most watched animal on YouTube
Posted 3-26-2017 | 2 comments
Maru the cat has accumulated more views than any other animal on the video sharing site.
 
 View: More videos
Stories & Experiences
Am I going crazy ?
3-30-2017 | South Africa
 
 
Sleep paralysis or my father ?
3-30-2017 | Los Angeles
 
My nightly occurrences
2-28-2017 | Manchester, UK
 
Saved by a stranger
2-7-2017 | Green River Wyoming
 
Spooky sense
2-4-2017 | India
 
Ghost car
2-4-2017 | Chicago, IL, USA
 
Mysterious powder
2-4-2017 | USA, North Carolina
 
Puerto Rico UFO sighting
2-4-2017 | Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico
 
Phantom vehicle
1-6-2017 | Ramer, United States
 

         More stories | Send us your story
 
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.7 Unexplained-Mysteries.com 2001-2017
Privacy Policy and Disclaimer   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ