Giant East Timor Rat Was The Largest Ever, Lived Among Humans

Giant East Timor Rat Was The Largest Ever, Lived Among Humans

Archaeologists from the Australian National University found fossils of the largest giant rat species ever discovered in East Timor.

Rats aren't usually the dangerous vermin pop culture makes them out to be, as represented by your first enemies in many classic RPGs. But while they didn't have anything to do with the Black Plague, perhaps there's another reason rats make us nervous, as a giant version uncovered in East Timor may show. Archaeologists from the Australian National University recently dug up fossils of the largest rat we've ever seen, the largest of which is the size of a small dog.

"They are what you would call mega-fauna," ANU lead researcher Julien Louys explained. "The biggest one is about five kilos [or 11 pounds] ... Just to put that in perspective, a large modern rat would be about half a kilo."

Louys' research wasn't initially about rats themselves. The university's expedition was intended to learn more about early migrations of humans in Southeast Asia, roughly 46,000 years ago. Giant rats were a regular part of human life at that time - in fact, they were likely a regular food source considering cut and burn marks on the bones. The East Timor rats lived among humans for millennia until they went extinct only a thousand years ago.

"The reason we think they became extinct is because that was when metal tools started to be introduced in Timor," Louys said. "People could start to clear forests at a much larger scale."

What's more, these fossils are among seven newly-discovered giant rat species. So while this particular East Timor rat is the biggest we've seen, they were far from unusual in the region. In other words, don't be surprised if giant rats become a common enemy type for any video game set before 1000 AD.

Source: Discovery News

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Apparently none of these people ever heard of the Capybara. The largest rodent . amout the size of a large dog, weighs about as much too.

As for why the giant rats went extinct. Probably not due to forest clearing since rats, are one of the few spiecies that have been found to readily adapt to human cohabitation. Unless these were the big retard rats that couldn't figure that out in which case.. yay darwinism?

Seriously though. Megafauna tend to die out because they are most sensitive to fluctuations in resources. It doesn't take much to starve a giant.. Another reason could be more obvious. People may at some point started eating the darned things. Oh don't make that face. Have you seen the parts of the pig or cow that go into a hot dog?

We humans have proven to be one of the most dietarily adapatable species on the planet. Didn't even need to be a cultural thing. A bad drought or harvest one year or two creatres a famine and when you're starving and desperate... rats look pretty darned edible. iT's either you eat the rat or the rat nibbles on your corpse in a few day's time, , or you cook the guy across the street. Yeah suddenly rat eating is the lesser of three evils, just behind cannibalism.

And at 11 lbs, that's not a bad meal. 2 or 3 and you're good for a day.

Surely its the Giant Rat of Sumatra not East Timor

Would've loved to have one of those :D
Walking along with my MEGArat in its leash across town...
Never found a leash for my petrat I had :/

MonsterCrit:
Apparently none of these people ever heard of the Capybara. The largest rodent . amout the size of a large dog, weighs about as much too.

Well, they specified Rat, not Rodent.

voltair27:

MonsterCrit:
Apparently none of these people ever heard of the Capybara. The largest rodent . amout the size of a large dog, weighs about as much too.

Well, they specified Rat, not Rodent.

In which case they should come to my country. Our bush rats are tremendous. NO joke. A rat and a cat meet in an alley and it's an even ager which one walks out. The only way we know them from Mongoose is the tail.

Actually, rats can be pretty dangerous under certain circumstances. Mostly involving you being sickly to the point of incapacitated, or an infant, or things like that.

There are stories of soldiers in the trenches of WWI being attacked by rats if they got sick or wounded and couldn't be carried away to hospitals. Though, now that I mention it, I don't remember if any of those reports are confirmed.

MonsterCrit:
In which case they should come to my country. Our bush rats are tremendous. NO joke. A rat and a cat meet in an alley and it's an even wager which one walks out. The only way we know them from Mongoose is the tail.

Where the hell do you live? Catachan or something? Jesus, I thought the park rats in my city were big.

The Coypu is a rat of sorts and it weighs between 8 and 10 kg. Cute little fellas.

 

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