Thursday, March 09, 2006


Good lord, it is getting to be very Night of the Living Dead-esque out there in the world's forests. First there was the ivory-billed woodpecker in the southern U.S. that came back from extinction, and now the rat-squirrel (isn't that like a double-negative?):
It has the face of a rat and the tail of a skinny squirrel — and scientists say this creature discovered living in central Laos is pretty special: It's a species believed to have been extinct for 11 million years.

The long-whiskered rodent made international headlines last spring when biologists declared they'd discovered a brand new species, nicknamed the Laotian rock rat.

It turns out the little guy isn't new after all, but a rare kind of survivor: a member of a family until now known only from fossils.

Nor is it a rat. This species, called Diatomyidae, looks more like small squirrels or tree shrews, said paleontologist Mary Dawson of Pittsburgh's Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

If you see a dodo walking down the street with rotten flesh falling off its bones, avoid it but do not be alarmed. It'll just be another species coming back from the dead. If you see a (tree) rat-squirrel, shoot it. We don't need no more stinkin' tree rats.

No comments: