Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Giant Fossil Rodent Discovered

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the fire-swamp dept.

Science 47

conlaw writes "According a report in today's National Geographic News, scientists in Uruguay have confirmed that a skeleton found by an amateur paleontologist is that of the largest known rodent. Based on the 21-inch-long skull, the scientists have concluded that the creature, who lived between 2 and 4 million years ago, was about the size of a full-grown bull, weighing in at slightly over a ton. Imagine encountering one of these guys in your cozy little cave!"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Rodents of unusual size? (5, Funny)

Eevee (535658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22074724)

I don't think they exist.

That's no fossil rodent! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22074756)

That's Richard Stallman. Close though.

Top 10 things that R.S. and F.R. have in common (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22075004)

OK, ya gotta love RS, so this is just good natured teasing:

1.Still waiting for giant rodent's vapor OS 2. Emacs keyboard layout based on ancient rodent thinking patterns
3. Beady little black eyes
4. Once taken seriously, now just an interesting historical topic
5. Same ability to take input from others
6. Upstaged by superior competitors
7. HAIRY!!
8. Evolutionary dead-end
9. Makes women jump on a chair


AND FINALLY.....

10. Both MIT graduates !!

Re:Rodents of unusual size? (1)

llamalad (12917) | more than 6 years ago | (#22074764)

I admit it, your joke is better than mine.

Re:Rodents of unusual size? (1)

The Rizz (1319) | more than 6 years ago | (#22074904)

Then why are you smiling?

Re:Rodents of unusual size? (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075954)

By any chance was it a 6-fingered rat?

....2 hours later....

My name is Josephoartigasia monesi. You killed my species. Prepare to die.

   

Re:Rodents of unusual size? (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 6 years ago | (#22077680)

Prepare to die.

You succeeded 2 million years ago. Or did you forget?

Re:Rodents of unusual size? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22074906)

But are you left-handed?

Re:Rodents of unusual size? (1)

Misanthrope (49269) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075024)

I don't think that word means what you think it means.

Re:Rodents of unusual size? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22078922)

The scientific paper is available [royalsociety.org] if you want to take a look.

Who are you going to rely on for your large rodent information? The Dread Pirate Roberts or Proceedings of the Royal Society B [royalsociety.org] ? I'm sure the Royal Society can track *anything*.

Re:Rodents of unusual size? (1)

wolf68 (1013177) | more than 6 years ago | (#22082356)

they have been know about for years they were in the movie Princess Bride. also they are in adventure quest RPG under the name B.U.R.P. (big ugly rat pest)

In Pliocene-era Russia (0, Redundant)

llamalad (12917) | more than 6 years ago | (#22074738)

In Pliocene-era Russia giant rodents unearth you!

Re:In Pliocene-era Russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22079386)

Imagine a beowulf cluster of these.

well... (0, Redundant)

Hsensei (1055922) | more than 6 years ago | (#22074828)

I for one welcome our currently fossilized giant rat overlords.

Re:well... (4, Funny)

PDX (412820) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075072)

The city of Washington DC was built on a swamp. They drained away all the water but the rats never left. They evolved into lobbyists....

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/31923 [theonion.com]

According to the HGttG... (2, Funny)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 6 years ago | (#22074830)

The Ravenous Giant Rodent of Earth often makes a good meal for visiting tourists.

(This entry may need to be updated in the next edition.)

Re:According to the HGttG... (2, Funny)

gardyloo (512791) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075750)

The Ravenous Giant Rodent of Earth often makes a good meal of visiting tourists.

    You were right: it did need to be updated.

Re:According to the HGttG... (2, Funny)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076384)

The last guy they did send to verify the facts was only able to send this much:

"The Ravenous Giant Rodent of Earth often makes a good meal"

and we never heard from him again. Ford, are you working on anything right now? Other than finishing your drink, that is.

RouS? (2, Funny)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#22074910)

the scientists have concluded that the creature, who lived between 2 and 4 million years ago, was about the size of a full-grown bull, weighing in at slightly over a ton.

inconceivable!

Re:RouS? (1)

SSonnentag (203358) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076164)

"I do not think that word means what you think it means."

Re:RouS? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076742)

slightly over a ton. [inconceivable!]

Not really. EVERY living mammal most likely evolved from rodent-like ancestors. During the age of dinosaurs, almost all the mammals were puny.
     

Re:RouS? (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22077344)

According to various lists of giant fauna, the largest land-based mammal weighed upwards of 20 tonnes. The largest mammal that has ever lived is, of course, the Blue Whale, which is the descendant of a relative of the modern hippo. The cetaceans are unusual in that they are aquatic life descended from land life. The manatees are also descended from land life (they are relatives of the giraffe). I don't know of other examples. The contest for the largest rodent seems fierce, with competition from at least one other continent and the (at the time) giant island of Anguila, with rodents estimated as comparable in size to a grizzly bear. There may well be larger examples, as it seems clear the largest known (extinct) rodent is below the maximum size mammalian life supports.

The land to water transition among mammals (1)

1336 (898588) | more than 6 years ago | (#22079704)

"The cetaceans are unusual in that they are aquatic life descended from land life. The manatees are also descended from land life (they are relatives of the giraffe). I don't know of other examples."

Manatees are NOT close relatives of the giraffe. The closest aquatic relatives of the giraffes are, again, the cetaceans.

The land to water transition among mammals isn't terribly uncommon though:

manatees are Afrotherians, closely related to elephants (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afrotheria [wikipedia.org] )

seals, walruses, sea lions and other Pinnipeds (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pinniped) are carnivores related to bears and dogs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caniformia)

sea otters (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_otter) are marine weasels

Other mammals show distinct adaptations towards an aquatic lifestyle, e.g. rodents like the capybara, muskrat and beaver

an extinct ground sloth (http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v375/n6528/abs/375224a0.html)

the monotreme platypus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platypus)

the marsupial yapok (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Water_Opossum)

if you go past mammals, you have penguins (which 'fly' underwater), sea snakes, the Galapagos marine iguana, and the various giant extinct marine reptiles

etc. etc.

If there's success to be had in a given lifestyle, life will evolve branches in that direction.

Found in unusual place (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22074972)

Well, step aside my friend
I've been doing it for years
I say, sit on down, open your eyes
And open up your ears

Say
Put a tree in your butt
Put a bumblebee in your butt
Put a clock in your butt
Put a big rock in your butt
Put some fleas in your butt
Start to sneeze in your butt
Put a tin can in your butt
Put a little tiny man in your butt
Put a light in your butt
Make it bright in your butt
Put a TV in your butt
Put me in your butt
Everybody say

I, hey, that's, man, I ain't putting no trees in nobody's butt,
no bees in nobody's butt, putting nothing--
You must be out your mind, man,
y'all get paid for doing this?
Cause y'all gotta get some kind of money
Cause this don't sound like the kind of--
I'd rather golf, to be perfectly honest,
than put somethin in somebody's butt
to be truthful

Well step aside my friend and let me
show you how you do it
When big bad E just rock rock to it

Put a metal case in your butt
Put her face in your butt
Put a frown in your butt
Put a clown in your butt
Sit on down in your butt
Put a boat in your butt
Put a moat in your butt
Put a mink coat in your butt
Put everything in your butt
Just start to sing about your butt
Feels real good

Re:Found in unusual place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22082472)

Where's the "Hot cup of Brim / Fill it to the rim / and stick it in your butt" line?

Re:Found in unusual place (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22086386)

Truncation due to lameness filter and poster laziness. :( A few other random lines are missing, too.

Glass-half-full types could view this as an opportunity for the adventurous reader to discover a hidden treat, though!

Giant Fossil Rodents? (3, Funny)

rueger (210566) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075012)

Honestly, some of us are really tired of the endless coverage of the US election primaries. Especially the Republicans of which you speak...

Re:Giant Fossil Rodents? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22075900)

I don't think you deserve to be a troll. I'm laughing . . .

Re:Giant Fossil Rodents? (2, Insightful)

Cheapy (809643) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076006)

See what I don't understand is this:

Is it a giant Fossil Rodent? I thought they turn to fossils after they die, not before.

Or is it a giant rodent fossil?

Re:Giant Fossil Rodents? (2, Funny)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22076826)

I think it's a Giant Fossil. I'm curious as to
who this lifeform called Rodent is that discovered it.

What are we going to do tonight, Brain? (2, Funny)

msauve (701917) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075110)

The same thing we do every night, Pinky, try to take over the world!

Well.. (1)

Indes (323481) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075250)

Are these related to the rodents of unusual sweetness??! [worldofrats.com]

Re:Well.. (3, Funny)

jamesh (87723) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075534)

there is no way i'm clicking on a link labeled "world'o'frats"!!!

Re:Well.. (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075934)

I dared to click the link, and my brain died a little from the bad puns. Thanks a lot.

How does this compare with... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22075718)

...theo other giant rats, such as Amblyrhiza Inundata [news.ai] from Anguila?

Re:How does this compare with... (1)

Jonathan_S (25407) | more than 6 years ago | (#22097552)

...theo other giant rats, such as Amblyrhiza Inundata from Anguila?
Well, (according to wikipedia; use appropriate grains of salt) the Amblyrhiza Inundata grew between 50 and 200 kg, and according to the linked article (yes, I must be new here) this new giant rodent was believed to be 1000 kg.

So quite a bit bigger than the Amblyrhiza Inundata.

Re:How does this compare with... (1)

jd (1658) | more than 6 years ago | (#22103082)

Sodium salt, potassium salt or lithium salt? You're right, that's what the wikipedia page says, but the analogous sized animals used to compare the rodents with modern life (a grizzly bear versus a bull) would seem to be far closer than the x5 - x20 difference that the given masses of the rodents would imply, hence my confusion. Either one (or both) analogies is way off, or the relative masses were far closer together.

I guess the other point of confusion is that Amblyrhiza Inundata was credited for being large because it was on an island and mammals (generally) are believed to get larger in island environments. South America is no island, so either the theory of islands is incorrect OR South America had some truly weird characteristics, making it viable for a rodent to grow large anyway. However, I've seen nothing to suggest South America had anything particularly abnormal about it. The biodiversity, predetation, etc, seem to have been fairly typical, which would in turn seem to make it a Really Bad Place for oversized mammalian life. Obviously, the giant rodents lived there, and where facts contradict theory, one should never change the facts to suit the theory, only the theory to suit the facts. But which theory is the theory that's wrong?

damn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22076778)

Tough to even find a hardware store where I can get 7000 glue traps, and they better be on sale.

Think of the music! (3, Funny)

Tr3vin (1220548) | more than 6 years ago | (#22077068)

Imagine the music you could play with those things, that is if you could find a mallet that was large enough.

Re:Think of the music! (1)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22079408)

WHOOOOSH!

(mods duck as one of the more obscure Python references this week makes a fly-by)

Nice one!

I, for one... (3, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22077352)

... say goodbye to our old giant rats overlords.

History repeating... (1)

Loibisch (964797) | more than 6 years ago | (#22078472)

This tells us tales of a past long gone, mostly "don't fuck with the genepool of labrats or our civilization, too, will come to an end just like 2 to 4 Million years ago".

Or to quote the lyrics from "Propellerheads - History Repeating":

"The word is about, there's something evolving,
whatever may come, the world keeps revolving
They say the next big thing is here,
that the revolution's near,
but to me it seems quite clear
that it's all just a little bit of history repeating.
"
Just a scary coincidence? I think not!

Finally... (1)

slider3618 (1211542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22078970)

I get to build a better mousetrap !!! Ummm, a bigger mousetrap at least.

giant rodent? (1)

kevin.fowler (915964) | more than 6 years ago | (#22080292)

I can't tell you how many of these things I had to grind to get to level 5.

Richard Gere (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 6 years ago | (#22080902)

When news of this reached him he put on a really big shit eating smile.

Elementary, my dear Watson (1)

unitron (5733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22088928)

What, no "Giant Rat of Sumatra" jokes yet?
Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?