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Lost World of Fanged Frogs and Giant Rats

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the raise-you-one-camouflaged-spider dept.

Earth 93

pilsner.urquell writes "40 previously unidentified species were discovered inside the crater of an extinct volcano on Papua New Guinea. The finds include a hairy caterpillar, an iridescent beetle, a striped possum, and what may be the world's largest rat — the size of a 'well-fed cat,' and showing no fear of man. The extinct volcano Mount Bosavi last erupted more than 200,000 years ago." There are also an audio interview with the expedition leader and a gallery with 15 photos of the new species.

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Hrm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29347351)

Wasn't this already a movie? Don't go in, you'll never get out while horrible graphics assault you!

Re: ROUS (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29347447)

Wasn't this already a movie?

Rodents of Unusual Size [cardboardmonocle.com]

p.s. Princess Bride was arguably one of the best movies ever made.

Re:Hrm... (1)

Fallus Shempus (793462) | more than 5 years ago | (#29348769)

Or a series of books Rats [wikipedia.org] in which the original mutant came from somewhere off New Guinea...

EEEEK!

Re:Hrm... (3, Funny)

Slayer (6656) | more than 5 years ago | (#29348863)

There was a fake article about such an animal years ago on thedailymash (an English satire online publication). The article can be found here [thedailymash.co.uk] . It's shocking how accurately satire can sometimes describe future events :)

Re:Hrm... (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 5 years ago | (#29349909)

Hello, I'm Doug McClure. You may remember me from such films as "The Land that Time Forgot" and "Chupacabra, the 'yo quiero Taco Bell' heir".

world's largest rat (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29347375)

Here in the USA, we call those "lawyers". I've seen a few upside 'ah 300 lbs. You can't hunt 'em though :(.

Re:world's largest rat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29347637)

Well, you can hunt them, just don't let the "game wardens" find out :P

Re:world's largest rat (2, Funny)

nomad-9 (1423689) | more than 5 years ago | (#29347843)

Here in the USA, we call those "lawyers". I've seen a few upside 'ah 300 lbs. You can't hunt 'em though :(.

...which is surprising, since they're not listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_endangered_species_in_North_America [wikipedia.org]

:(

Re:world's largest rat (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#29349335)

which is surprising, since they're not listed as an endangered species

Neither are carrots, but they still make an excellent snack.

Vampire frogs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29347389)

Fanged frogs? Crikey... if that was coupled with a strong leap, we could be in serious trouble.

Re:Vampire frogs (1)

faffod (905810) | more than 5 years ago | (#29347585)

Better than a rabbit with large fans!

Re:Vampire frogs (1)

faffod (905810) | more than 5 years ago | (#29347595)

Fangs... and here I thought a single short line didn't need previewing *hangs head in shame*

Re:Vampire frogs (3, Funny)

Cheesetrap (1597399) | more than 5 years ago | (#29349215)

Don't hang your head, you're exposing your neck to assault!

Re:Vampire frogs (1)

mikerubin (449692) | more than 5 years ago | (#29349293)

By the Frogs !..... Riding the rats !

Re:Vampire frogs (1)

nystire (871449) | more than 5 years ago | (#29349189)

Would Greenpeace and similar organisations be considered fans?

Re:Vampire frogs (1)

douglasdoughty (1611343) | more than 5 years ago | (#29355223)

nothing a holy hand grenade couldn't take care of

Re:Vampire frogs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29349483)

Wot's 'e do, nibble yer bum?

In other news... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29347391)

The newly discovered Giant Rat was wiped out by a swarm of XP farmers.

Re:In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29348449)

Don't forget the quest for them as well. Way more gain that way besides beasts drop crap loot.

This sounds familliar... (1)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | more than 5 years ago | (#29347395)

Is there raptors in there? They are good for skinning and grinding on.
Ah... fun times in Un'goro crater...

Re:This sounds familliar... (1)

Cheesetrap (1597399) | more than 5 years ago | (#29349303)

Is there raptors in there? They are good for skinning and grinding on.

Ah... fun times in Un'goro crater...

I wouldn't let you go dry-humping specimens on MY excavation site! Some people... *shakes head*

Re:This sounds familliar... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29358219)

I'm sad and ashamed ... but I actually got this reference. WoW on!!!

finally (1)

banffbug (1323109) | more than 5 years ago | (#29347401)

a place for all the level one warrior wannabes to gain experience.

Re:finally (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#29349323)

Giant Rats are level 9. Jeez. All these n00bs who've never played Dungeon Master, and think they know something about RPGs ;)

But seriously... give it a go. It's a very cool (abandonware) game when you get into it. The giant rats might not scare you much, but the giant scorpions, deathknights, and dragons will.

Those guys have a pair... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29347403)

Jungle Spider [guardian.co.uk]

A quick google / wiki couldn't give me any deep information about a "jungle spider". Is that guy really holding an unknown species of spider with his bare hands? That's pretty ballsy.

Re:Those guys have a pair... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29347577)

There are plenty of incredibly nasty insects crawling and flying around rainforests; a spider which you can see and carefully not antagonize is probably the least of your concerns.

Re:Those guys have a pair... (3, Funny)

EdIII (1114411) | more than 5 years ago | (#29347755)

It is certainly foolish.

I don't know why, but it reminds of an anecdote I heard quite some time ago. Well, anecdote is probably not the right word for it, but I will repeat anyways. I can't give credit to anyone, since I cannot remember where it was from in the first place.

Two aliens come upon each other in their travels. They strike up a conversation which lasts for some time. The one alien notices a strange protrusion from its new acquaintance. Bulbous with a large amount of holes of varying size and shape. It asks, "Do you mind if I have sex with that?". The other alien says, "That's exactly what I said about two hundred years ago.".

I guess you could call it more of cautionary tale than a moral one.

Re:Those guys have a pair... (1)

Onymous Coward (97719) | more than 5 years ago | (#29348165)

There's something about that story... It has a certain quality to it. What quality exactly? Ah yes, it's disturbingly bizarre.

Though apropos.

Re:Those guys have a pair... (1)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 5 years ago | (#29348535)

... don't have sex with bulbous protrusions on aliens?

What?

Re:Those guys have a pair... (4, Informative)

metlin (258108) | more than 5 years ago | (#29348987)

I believe that it's originally from Scott Adam's piece - "Life will NOT be like Star Trek" [troutman.org] .

The original goes like this:

Sex with Aliens

According to Star Trek, there are many alien races populated with creatures who would like to have sex with humans. This would open up a lot of anatomical possibilities, but imagine the confusion. It's hard enough to have sex with human beings, much less humanoids. One wrong move and you're suddenly transported naked to the Gamma Quadrant to stand trial for who-knows-what. This could only add to performance anxiety. You would never be quite sure what moves would be sensual and what moves would be a galactic-sized mistake.

Me Trying to Have Sex with an Alien

Me: May I touch that?

Alien: That is not an erogenous zone. It is a separate corporeal being that has been attached to my body for six hundred years.

Me: It's cute. I wonder if it would let me have sex with it.

Alien: That's exactly what I said six hundred years ago.

Don't need to go so far... (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#29359177)

You don't need to go into space for sexual cautionary tales like that. For instance, if I recall correctly, there's a filipino tale about a guy who made love to a hole in a tree and became obsessed with it.

Re:Those guys have a pair... (4, Insightful)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#29348547)

Probably, but you have to remember those well versed in the biology of certain species will know enough to know whether it's safe to deal with.

I have spent a lot of time studying succulent plants, and whilst members of the Cactaceae family are non-toxic, some members of the Euphorbia family have evolved in a convergent manner such that they have the same features of cacti however have a toxic sap, which can burn the skin. If I encountered a new species of plant that was succulent and spined I know enough to be able to tell you whether you can or can't safely handle or drink it's sap.

There's also the behavioural aspect in insects and animals such that they can be handled if you know how to handle them, and what the tell tale signs are to avoid them and avoid handling them.

So between understanding the biological traits of a species that define it's capabilities, and understanding the stances and movements of a species, you can judge pretty well how safe a new, previously undescribed species is to handle, and in fact, you can know a lot more about it than you might realise at first.

A new HBO series (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29347427)

"Lost World of Fanged Frogs and Giant Rats"

Okay the vampire stuff is getting out of control.

Re:A new HBO series (1)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#29349357)

Sookie? Is that you? Aah told yah tuh stay inside.

Is it possible (1)

barocco (1168573) | more than 5 years ago | (#29347439)

that bacteria and/or viruses there also evolved separately and most humans are not immune to them? Shouldn't we quarantine the expedition team for a reasonable period of time after they got out?

Re:Is it possible (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29347575)

Viruses tend to rely critically on their hosts' genome, so there really isn't any danger of a new lethal human virus: we are too different. Bacteria, on the other hand, is undoubtedly a living organism, so it's quite possible it is robust enough to nail our immune system. OTOH, it hasn't been exposed to any antibiotics, so infections would probably be highly treatable.

Takes guts to hold a new species of spider... (1)

srothroc (733160) | more than 5 years ago | (#29347475)

If I found a new species of spider, I sure wouldn't be letting it crawl around on my bare hand. I wouldn't want to be the first known victim of a new species.

Re:Takes guts to hold a new species of spider... (1)

lastgoodnickname (1438821) | more than 5 years ago | (#29347871)

But no one ever remembers who finishes second.

Re:Takes guts to hold a new species of spider... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29352267)

That's what she said.

Pest control (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#29347477)

The finds include a hairy caterpillar, an iridescent beetle, a striped possum, and what may be the world's largest rat

Note to self, cancel all plans for a vacation on Mount Bosavi.

Re:Pest control (1)

bryguy5 (512759) | more than 5 years ago | (#29352523)

Don't worry. You have to get past the other common species in Papua New Guinea such as the the salt water crocodiles on the coast, the aggressive cassowary, huge insects such as the rhino beetles, and over 80 different species of poisonous snakes (most of them venomous). All before you get anywhere near Mount Bosavi.

Missing Tag (2, Funny)

HW_Hack (1031622) | more than 5 years ago | (#29347481)

I mean really - rodents of unusual size -- clearly a tag of Fire Swamp is required

Re:Missing Tag (1)

flydude18 (839328) | more than 5 years ago | (#29348443)

youkeepusingthattag

Re:Missing Tag (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29353631)

I don't think it exists...

World's Largest Rat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29347515)

I would be surprised if it was the world's largest rat. There are already Montaine rats in New Guinea that are bigger than the one pictured.

Re:World's Largest Rat? (1)

cailith1970 (1325195) | more than 5 years ago | (#29348163)

An earlier article said around 1.5 kilograms (no I can't find it again). Our cat is reasonably small at 3 kilograms, so this rat would hardly be the size of a "well fed cat."

Having said that, I doubt I'd want it trying to take a chunk out of my leg.

All well and good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29347523)

All well and good but where's my GIANT ENEMY CRAB?

Re:All well and good... (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 5 years ago | (#29348287)

I wanna be a popstar.....

Re:All well and good... (1)

Cheesetrap (1597399) | more than 5 years ago | (#29349337)

All well and good but where's my GIANT ENEMY CRAB?

www.parishilton.com

Pristine Ecosystems (3, Interesting)

zlel (736107) | more than 5 years ago | (#29347579)

Do newly discovered ecosystems also represent new ecosystems of viruses, bacteria and diseases?

Re:Pristine Ecosystems (3, Insightful)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 5 years ago | (#29347659)

Do newly discovered ecosystems also represent new ecosystems of viruses, bacteria and diseases?

IANAB* but, yeah they probably have new/different bacteria, viruses and diseases but most of those are probably tailored to the animals living there and aren't going to cause human problems until some mutations occur.

* I am not a biologist.

Re:Pristine Ecosystems (0, Troll)

magarity (164372) | more than 5 years ago | (#29348333)

viruses, bacteria and diseases?
 
Great - As if I didn't worry about my health enough... now there are diseases IN ADDITION to viruses and bacteria.

Re:Pristine Ecosystems (2, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#29348651)

Perhaps ignorance is contagious?

Aaargh, it's all over my face!

Re:Pristine Ecosystems (1)

itsanx (1534709) | more than 5 years ago | (#29348905)

Several diseases are related to nutrient defiency [wikipedia.org] , like scurvy [wikipedia.org] . These are certainly diseases in addition to viruses and bacteriae.

Re:Pristine Ecosystems (1)

itsanx (1534709) | more than 5 years ago | (#29348921)

Sorry, that's "nutrient deficiency". Seems I was low on caffeine while writing that.

Re:Pristine Ecosystems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29349169)

Sure, so they exist, but did they find a nutrient deficiency in the crater? Is scurvy part of the ecosystem?

Re:Pristine Ecosystems (1)

mikechant (729173) | more than 5 years ago | (#29350639)

Don't forget fungal infections!

Re:Pristine Ecosystems (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29349257)

Prions, parasites, fungi, radiation, autoimmune, genetic, many kinds of chemicals. I probably missed a few.

Have a nice day.

Re:Pristine Ecosystems (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 5 years ago | (#29356721)

The joke here, that no one got, is that "disease" is caused by viral and/or bacterial infections. All these other things are "disorders" and other types of medical problems but are not diseases.

Re:Pristine Ecosystems (1)

MightyDrunken (1171335) | more than 5 years ago | (#29376929)

Well not according to Dorlands medical dictionary. Disease is a general term for infections, disorders etc. E.g. Coeliac disease Anyway even if you were right that disease==infections what about fungi, protozoa and other parasites?

Re:Pristine Ecosystems (1)

Reservoir Penguin (611789) | more than 5 years ago | (#29349485)

Obviously, the only way to be safe is to nuke the whole crater from orbit.

ROUS's... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29347641)

I don't think they exist...

Oh no... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29347649)

Gremlins ! [guardian.co.uk] ... better not feed it after midnight....
Now where's my good ol' American tractor...

Ah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29347683)

So they finally found the ancestors of the Chuck-e-cheeses rat?

Watch Tonight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29347883)

You can watch a documentary on this on the BBC tonight at 9. I'll definately be taking a look.

Finally (1)

tru3ntropy (1632547) | more than 5 years ago | (#29348275)

A story i can sink my teeth into.

BBC has a video of the rat (5, Informative)

blau (759804) | more than 5 years ago | (#29348285)

Here... [bbc.co.uk]

Re:BBC has a video of the rat (1)

ManlySpork (1542827) | more than 5 years ago | (#29348829)

Is it just me or am I hearing gunfire/explosion like echos in the distance in the first part of that video?

Re:BBC has a video of the rat (1)

TheDugong (701481) | more than 5 years ago | (#29360743)

Volcanos do that.

Re:BBC has a video of the rat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29349363)

Why don't they just observe it instead of fucking petting it?
'New' animals are discovered and the first thing people want to do is stroke them...

By the beard of Darwin!

Re:BBC has a video of the rat (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#29349781)

Well, that tells you something about their behaviour! And it's quite amazing how docile this one is. I had pet hamsters who were nowhere near as friendly (some who'd try to eat the flesh out of your fingers given any chance).

Re:BBC has a video of the rat (1)

dow (7718) | more than 5 years ago | (#29349997)

Why do I suspect a rat that is tame enough to pet is probably ill. As if you'd want to pet a wild rat in the first place, let lone one which is dying already.

What delicate wonders (1)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 5 years ago | (#29348359)

have died out of the world, for want of the strength to survive.

vulnerable (3, Insightful)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 5 years ago | (#29348387)

The first thing that crossed my mind is that all these species are localized to one particular area and hence rather vulnerable if the environment changes in any way.

You only need to introduce 1 badly chosen predator and its the Stephens Island Wren all over again.

Re:vulnerable (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29349967)

One badly chosen predator, i.e. homo sapiens?

Hope they didn't use the old discovery method... (1)

yourtallness (1183449) | more than 5 years ago | (#29348403)

a.k.a.: "Wow, a new species, let's shoot it with a rifle and discover its @ss"

"He's like a little puppy." (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#29348531)

Favorite line in the video: "He's like a little puppy."

Fangless (1)

s1lverl0rd (1382241) | more than 5 years ago | (#29348655)

Why is the frog photographed with mouth closed? How are we supposed to see the fangs?

"showing no fear of man" (1)

sa1lnr (669048) | more than 5 years ago | (#29348789)

They'll learn.

Large rats (2, Interesting)

aclarke (307017) | more than 5 years ago | (#29349125)

This is slightly OT, but in high school in Kenya, some guy came by who was buying frozen rodents for dissection in American college biology classes. He was paying something like $0.50 or $1 per rodent. We got him as many bats as he could handle (which was less than we'd hoped for) but my friend put out a bounty out to the local community on rodents. He said he'd pay them something like $0.15 per rodent they brought him.

I guess he didn't specify DEAD rodents so someone assumed he meant alive. According to the who brought the rat, he had his 4 year old son go into a hole and pull out a giant rat that was so big that it had to be folded up to fit in a shopping bag. My friend got this rat in the bag, which I saw. It was still alive, barely. My friend stopped the bounty at that point as he didn't want to be responsible for some kid getting seriously injured for $0.15.

Re:Large rats (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29353849)

and that guy grew up to be President of the United States.

Gives us a timeline of the rate of change (1)

immakiku (777365) | more than 5 years ago | (#29350015)

To me the interesting piece of information was that 200,000 years in this new ecosystem causes such big changes. I'm not familiar with how well we know the timescales of other types of adaptation changes but now we know rats can become huge and beetles iridescent in less then 200k years.

Rodents of unusual size? (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#29350059)

I don't think they exist. *pounce*

The R.O.U.S. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29350265)

Oh so they discovered the Fire Swamp where the ROUS lives.

Yes, but... (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 5 years ago | (#29350747)

There's bigger rats than that, and they aren't all that rare. They're widely distributed in North America, but tend to congregate in Ottawa and Washington in Parliament, the Senate and Congress.

Favorite quote (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 5 years ago | (#29350951)

"It was mind-blowing to be there and it is clearly time we pulled our finger out and decided these habitats are worth us saving," said Dr George McGavin who headed the expedition.

What a great call to action for the world over... "pull your finger out" and get back to work!

Re:Favorite quote (1)

dwywit (1109409) | more than 5 years ago | (#29359509)

It's quite common here in Oz - "extract digit" being a modern variation.

Forget the rats and frogs! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29351399)

Everyone here seems to be missing the an important part of TFA. Here's the paragraph with what I'm refering too, emphasis added on the important part:

They found the three-kilometre wide crater populated by spectacular birds of paradise and in the absence of big cats and monkeys, which are found in the remote jungles of the Amazon and Sumatra, the main predators are giant monitor lizards while kangaroos have evolved to live in trees. New species include a camouflaged gecko, a fanged frog and a fish called the Henamo grunter, named because it makes grunting noises from its swim bladder.

I didn't know that Paupa New Guinea had kangaroos at all, much less any that lived in trees!

Re:Forget the rats and frogs! (3, Informative)

douglasdoughty (1611343) | more than 5 years ago | (#29355265)

It may not be exactly what you are thinking... at least it wasn't what I was thinking
http://www.greenexpander.com/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/new-species-tree-kangaroo.jpg [greenexpander.com]

Re:Forget the rats and frogs! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#29360841)

My God... That's the cutest kangaroo I've ever seen!
I need one in my handbag!

Kilometre-deep? (1)

Captain Courteous (1339339) | more than 5 years ago | (#29351581)

Might be tricky to get the logging equipment in there.

Speak (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 5 years ago | (#29357961)

and what may be the world's largest rat -- the size of a 'well-fed cat,' and showing no fear of man.

Bigger than a capybara?

I wonder how The Tick will respond to this revelation.

Wonder what else is out there. (1)

EroticPotato (1633437) | more than 5 years ago | (#29364587)

This is interesting to me. I'm sure there are places that no one has ever seen before that have species just waiting to be discovered. It is kind of exciting to me just wondering what else is out there. More and more species are being discovered every year and unfortunately more and more are becoming extinct as well. I think we should be making more of an effort to seek out new life and preserve the life we have now.
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