Tag Archives | Giant Rats

Uncovering The Biology Of Cities

rats The New York Times discusses a growing science subculture — the urban evolutionist. These brave souls are charting the growth of the super-strong mutant rats, fish, bacteria, and bugs that will someday overrun planet:

A small but growing number of field biologists study urban evolution — not the rise and fall of skyscrapers and neighborhoods, but the biological changes that cities bring to the wildlife that inhabits them. For these scientists, New York is one great laboratory.

White-footed mice, stranded on isolated urban islands, are evolving to adapt to urban stress. Fish in the Hudson have evolved to cope with poisons in the water. Native ants find refuge in the median strips on Broadway. And more familiar urban organisms, like bedbugs, rats and bacteria, also mutate and change in response to the pressures of the metropolis.

Pollution has driven some of the starkest examples of evolution around New York. Hudson River fish faced a dangerous threat from PCBs, which General Electric released from 1947 to 1977.

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Young Children In South Africa Eaten By Giant Rats

article-1393836-0C62598500000578-803_468x286A chilling urban legend from New York City comes terribly true on the opposite side of the globe, as three-foot rats run amok, feasting on human babies. The Daily Mail writes:

Giant rats as big as cats have killed and eaten two babies in separate attacks in South Africa’s squalid townships this week.

Lunathi Dwadwa, three, was killed as she slept in her parent’s shack outside Cape Town and another girl was killed in Soweto township near Johannesburg the same day. Bukiswa Dwadwa, 27, said: ‘I can’t forget how ugly my child looked after her eyes were ripped out. ‘She was eaten from her eyebrows to her cheeks, her other eye was hanging by a piece of flesh.’

Residents of South Africa’s impoverished townships say the giant rats grow up to three-foot long, including their tails, and have front teeth over an inch long. The suspects in the baby attacks are believed to be African Giant Pouched Rats, the biggest in the world.

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Giant Rodents Lead Scientists To Discover Ancient Face Carvings In East Timor

Face carving found in Lene Hara Cave. Photo: John Brush (CC)

Face carving found in Lene Hara Cave. Photo: John Brush

CSIRO News reports:

Ancient stone faces carved into the walls of a well-known limestone cave in East Timor have been discovered by a team searching for fossils of extinct giant rats.

The team of archaeologists and palaeontologists were working in Lene Hara Cave on the northeast tip of East Timor.

“Looking up from the cave floor at a colleague sitting on a ledge, my head torch shone on what seemed to be a weathered carving,” CSIRO’s Dr Ken Aplin said.

“I shone the torch around and saw a whole panel of engraved prehistoric human faces on the wall of the cave.

“The local landowners with whom we were working were stunned by the findings. They said the faces had chosen that day to reveal themselves because they were pleased by the field work we were doing.”

The Lene Hara carvings, or petroglyphs, are frontal, stylised faces each with eyes, a nose and a mouth.

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