Tuesday, March 20, 2018
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:


Did a mystic predict Putin's rise to power ?
During a meeting in 1979, blind mystic Baba Vanga allegedly predicted that Putin would 'rule the world'.
New study hints at 'Oumuamua's origins
Researchers believe that it is very likely that the interstellar asteroid came from a binary star system.
Ghostly figure filmed aboard the HMS Victory
Tony Ferguson had been visiting the historic vessel in Portsmouth when he caught something strange on film.
Giant yellow inflatable duck goes missing
A swimming club in Australia has appealed for ships to keep a look out for its recently escaped mascot.
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
Monkeys learn to socialize
Posted 3-18-2018 | 0 comments
These young vervet monkeys must learn to socialize before being released in to the wild.
Why don't birds get frostbite ?
Posted 3-16-2018 | 0 comments
How do birds stop their legs from getting frostbitten during freezing temperatures ?
Most straws in a beard
Posted 3-15-2018 | 2 comments
Kyle Kozemchick stuck 215 straws in to his beard for this bizarre world record attempt.
Michio Kaku on asteroid mining
Posted 3-13-2018 | 1 comment
Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku discusses the possibility of mining asteroids in space.
Fastest people in slow motion
Posted 3-12-2018 | 1 comment
A look at the world's fastest card thrower and an amazing fast draw world champion.
 View: More videos
Stories & Experiences
Three knocks
3-8-2018 | Canada
Two shadows of me
3-8-2018 | Bellflower, LA
I think I know what I saw
3-5-2018 | Near Sultan, Washington
Ghost, or something else ?
3-5-2018 | Ohio, USA
Black hole in Bismarck
2-14-2018 | Mandan
Trapped and chased
2-9-2018 | Saskatchewan canada
Someone calling my name
2-9-2018 | Budd Lake NJ
Strange feeling
1-18-2018 | Different places

         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