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mammal extinct for 11 million years is...well.... not extinct


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#1 alonzomourning23

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 06:30 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- 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 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 group 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.

Dawson, with colleagues in France and China, report the creature's new identity in Friday's edition of the journal Science.

The resemblance is "absolutely striking," Dawson said. As soon as her team spotted reports about the rodent's discovery, "we thought, 'My goodness, this is not a new family. We've known it from the fossil record."'

They set out to prove that through meticulous comparisons between the bones of today's specimens and fossils found in China and elsewhere in Asia.
To reappear after 11 million years is more exciting than if the rodent really had been a new species, said George Schaller, a naturalist with the Wildlife Conservation Society, which unveiled the creature's existence last year. Indeed, such reappearances are so rare that paleontologists dub them "the Lazarus effect."

Another well-known example is the coelacanth, a primitive fish that existed before the dinosaurs and was thought to have gone extinct 65 million years ago, until one was caught in 1938 off the coast of southern Africa.
"It shows you it's well worth looking around in this world, still, to see what's out there," Schaller said.

The nocturnal rodent lives in Laotian forests largely unexplored by outsiders, because of the geographic remoteness and history of political turmoil.

Schaller called the area "an absolute wonderland," because biologists who have ventured in have found unique animals, like a type of wild ox called the saola, barking deer, and never-before-seen bats. Dawson described it as a prehistoric zoo, teeming with information about past and present biodiversity.

All the attention to the ancient rodent will be "wonderful for conservation," Schaller said. "This way, Laos will be proud of that region for all these new animals, which will help conservation in that some of the forests, I hope, will be preserved."

Locals call the rodent kha-nyou. Scientists haven't yet a bagged a breathing one, only the bodies of those recently caught by hunters or for sale at meat markets, where researchers with the New York-based conservation society first spotted the creature.

Now the challenge is to trap live ones and calculate how many still exist to determine whether the species is endangered, Dawson said.


http://www.cnn.com/2...r.ap/index.html
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#2 zionoverfire

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 06:36 AM

Evolution is teh wrong!

#3 SpazX

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 06:49 AM

Evolution is teh wrong!


Oh nos, scientists aren't omniscient therefore jesus!

Let's see if somebody's actually using this logic over at answers in genesis or something with this article...

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#4 PittsburghAfterDark

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 06:49 AM

Scientists discover creature they thought died 11 million years ago yet never died.

Global warming is caused by man, not natural cycles, hmmmmm.

Science is neveeeeeer wrong.
What do you call a religion where people believe if they murder non-believers they get to rape 72 virgins?

#5 SpazX

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 06:58 AM

Scientists discover creature they thought died 11 million years ago yet never died.

Global warming is caused by man, not natural cycles, hmmmmm.

Science is neveeeeeer wrong.


Damn, I thought scientists were always right (afterall they are gods, not men), but your logic is impeccable, since scientists are sometimes wrong, they must always be wrong (at least when they disagree with me).

Thanks, that wasn't the exact logic zion and I were parodying.

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#6 Fire

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 07:03 AM

Scientists discover creature they thought died 11 million years ago yet never died.

Global warming is caused by man, not natural cycles, hmmmmm.

Science is neveeeeeer wrong.


You didn't read the article now did you?

#7 Sleepkyng

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    doesn't even exist anymor

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 07:11 AM

You didn't read the article now did you?


hey, everyone has to start somewhere... some people read, other people flap their gums and beam with Merican pride.

and on a side note, so much for that great flood.

#8 Graystone

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 08:04 AM

How do we not know that, a rat accidentally banged a squirrel or vice versa.

#9 Lice

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 08:11 AM

How do we not know that, a rat accidentally banged a squirrel or vice versa.


Right, Or it never died out completely.. if its a remote region it could always of been there...

Cool stuff, but its just a dirty rat.

#10 Ikohn4ever

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 01:43 PM

Scientists discover creature they thought died 11 million years ago yet never died.

Global warming is caused by man, not natural cycles, hmmmmm.

Science is neveeeeeer wrong.



shouldnt you be at a witch burning or an earth is flat conference?
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#11 Danro

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 02:16 PM

That thing is awful cute. I guess its just good knowing its still around.
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#12 b0bx13

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    Ah, custom title.

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 03:47 PM

Or it never died out completely.. if its a remote region it could always of been there...

Yeah, that's what happened. Scientists don't think it just spontaneously appeared :lol:

#13 Maklershed

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 05:29 PM

Scientists discover creature they thought died 11 million years ago yet never died.

Global warming is caused by man, not natural cycles, hmmmmm.

Science is neveeeeeer wrong.


And neither is religion, right? Especially one with a white, bearded God?

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#14 camoor

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 06:03 PM

Scientists discover creature they thought died 11 million years ago yet never died.

Global warming is caused by man, not natural cycles, hmmmmm.

Science is neveeeeeer wrong.


Science is wrong all the time, that's why it's strongest pillars are still called "theories".

I have a severe distrust of any source that labels itself as infallible.

#15 willardhaven

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 06:17 PM

Scientists discover creature they thought died 11 million years ago yet never died.

Global warming is caused by man, not natural cycles, hmmmmm.

Science is neveeeeeer wrong.


hahahaha

this guy is hilarious.

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#16 Fire

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 12:03 AM

shouldnt you be at a witch burning or an earth is flat conference?


After reading some more of this pittsburgh guy I have to strongly agree with you. :rofl: