Loation Rock Rat once believe to have gone extinct

9:44 PM Posted In Edit This

Another good article:

Retired professor captures a 'Living Fossel' -- Loation Rock Rat once believed to have gone extinct.

ScienceDaily (Jun. 14, 2006) — The first images of a live specimen of a small, furry animal once believed to have gone extinct more than 11 million years ago have been captured during a Southeast Asian expedition led by a retired Florida State University researcher.

The remarkable video and photos shot by David Redfield, a professor emeritus of FSU's science education faculty, and Thai wildlife biologist Uthai Treesucon are being hailed as historic images documenting a true "living fossil," the Laotian rock rat.

The Laotian rock rat is so called for its only known habitat -- limestone outcroppings in Central Laos -- and the appearance of the animal's head and face, which sport long whiskers and beady eyes like those of a rat. (To view photographs and video of the Laotian rock rat, visit www.rinr.fsu.edu/rockrat.)

Redfield's video shows a docile, squirrel-sized animal covered with dark, dense fur and bearing a long tail that's not as bushy as that of a typical squirrel. Perhaps the most striking observation is how the animal walks -- like a duck. Clearly not adapted to climbing trees, the rock rat exhibits a duck-like waddle with its hind feet splayed out at an angle to its body. An avid but otherwise amateur wildlife observer, Redfield has traveled the world since retiring in 1988 from a career in teaching and research at FSU. A passion for bird watching in the 1990s segued into an interest in seeing some of the world's rare mammals in their native habitats. When he learned about the discovery of the Laotian rock rat last year -- and that no one had seen a live specimen -- Redfield set out on a personal quest to accomplish the feat.

"We were extremely fortunate in so many ways to be able to do this," Redfield said of the discovery. "It's easily one of the most gratifying experiences of my life, and I hope these pictures will help in some way to prevent the loss of this marvelous animal."

Known as kha-nyou (pronounced "ga-noo") in Lao villages near its habitat, the animal was first described scientifically in the April 2005 issue of the journal Systematics and Biodiversity. Identified as a member of an entirely new family of mammals, the rock rat made news around the world. It gained international attention again on March 10 of this year when scientists published a paper in Science magazine re-identifying the animal as a "living fossil" whose last remaining relatives went extinct 11 million years ago.
Mary Dawson, curator emeritus of vertebrate paleontology at the Carnegie Museum and primary author of the paper published in March in Science, recently reviewed Redfield's images and confirmed their authenticity. "This is a truly exciting discovery," Dawson said. "Dr. Redfield's sighting of the living animal is the first to be recorded scientifically. These are the first photographic images of the recently discovered 'living fossil' Laonastes aenigmamus."

Dawson led the team of scientists who used fossilized remains collected from sites in Pakistan, India, Thailand, China and Japan to prove that, instead of being completely new to science, the rare animal actually was the last known relative of a long-extinct family of rodents known as Diatomyidae. Dawson's paper described the rock rat as an example of the "Lazarus effect," a reference to the Biblical character Lazarus who returned from the dead. Biologists use the term to refer to those rare instances when animals long thought to be extinct turn up alive and well in some remote habitat.

"Dr. Redfield's discovery and these images are extremely important scientifically, showing as they do an animal (with) such markedly distinctive anatomical and functional attributes," Dawson said. "These are amazing pictures."

Redfield used some of his contacts in Southeast Asia -- made from numerous bird-watching field trips to the region over the years -- to help coordinate his trip to Laos this past May. Using native guides and interpreters, he succeeded in gaining the confidence of local hunters near a Central Laotian village close to the Thai border. After four failed attempts, the hunters finally captured a live rock rat. Redfield and his hosts returned the animal safely to its rocky home after photographing and videotaping it.

Redfield credits Treesucon, a renowned biologist and birder, with coordinating the logistics of the expedition that culminated in the successful capture of the animal on May 17 near the Laotian village of Doy.

Year of the Rat: Furry Creatures misunderstood, Vet Says

9:37 PM Posted In Edit This

Good Article:

ScienceDaily (Jan. 30, 2008)
— It’s the Chinese Year of the Rat, and if there’s ever been an animal that needed a total image makeover, it’s the rat. Many people loathe rats and associate them with disease and filth – hardly a four-star recommendation for the furry creatures. But the truth is, they are highly intelligent animals, have been amazingly beneficial in medicine and can be very affectionate pets, says a Texas A&M University veterinarian and rat expert.Dr. Kristina Kalivoda, a small animal instructor in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, believes rats are among the most misunderstood of all animals and are not the horror from the sewer people tend to think they are.

“Rats are very smart and are known for their problem-solving skills,” says Kalivoda, an admitted rat fan.

“Many people believe they are nasty, filthy creatures, and that’s not true at all. In fact, rats wash themselves several times a day, about as often as most cats.”

The name itself poses a rat problem.

Rats are rodents, and rodent comes from the Latin word meaning “to gnaw.” Rats do like to chew and they are constantly searching for food. They tend to live where humans live for two reasons – food and shelter.

They have been parodied by Hollywood – who can forget James Cagney’s immortal line, “You dirty rat!” – while last year’s hit film Ratatouille showed the humorous side of the creatures, and Disney’s Mickey Mouse has been appealing for decades, as have Tom and Jerry.

Comedian David Letterman often jokes about New York City’s countless rats, bragging that “our rats can whip your honor students.”

Some rat facts include:

  • Their lifespan is between 1-3 years;
  • They have no gallbladder;
  • Rats have a bellybutton;
  • Rats can’t vomit;
  • They are prolific breeders: A pair of rats can produce 15,000 descendants in their lifetime, and female rats spend almost their entire lives pregnant;
  • Rat teeth are incredibly strong and can chew through walls, plumbing and even concrete.
  • Rats come in different colors such as silver, blond, grey, black and albino. Some have short ears and some have floppy ears;
  • The largest rat, the African rat, can be 3 feet in length – about the size of a small dog;
  • Rats are expert swimmers;
  • Rats can laugh and do so with a high chirping sound when amused.

“Rats are very smart and they can figure out things quickly,” Kalivoda adds. “If you put them in a maze, they can find their way out in no time at all. They are social creatures and can be very affectionate. They are also easily trained and many can do tricks.”

The difference between a rat and a mouse, Kalivoda explains, is size. Rats are much larger than mice, often three to four times as large, and mice don’t live as long as rats.

Despite their frisky mannerisms, many rats have internal health issues, mainly cancerous tumors. Kalivoda says rats often develop mammary tumors or other cancers, and rats also frequently suffer from respiratory illnesses.

But their benefits in medicine have been phenomenal. In research laboratories around the world, rats have contributed to more cures than any other animal, and in that regard, have no doubt saved millions of lives.

“In my opinion, rats do a get a bad rap,” Kalivoda believes.

“I can tell you firsthand that rats can make great, fun pets. A lot of people have rats as pets, and they will tell you they’re the best pets they’ve ever had.

New Holiday drawing from Mat Kaplin

6:06 PM Posted In , Edit This

Happy Easter Everyone!

This Pinkish Template

3:26 PM Posted In Edit This
Well, i think i am happy with this Template and color for now. Hey, and it kinda fits the Holiday (easter) doesn't it. I didn't even realize that till after i finished changing the colors.

So i think I'll keep this for a while. At least until such time i find the perfect template and look for it.


WARNING: Adorableness Alert !!

3:18 PM Posted In Edit This

Omg these are some amazing rattie photo's. And what a great photographer this person is. I take professional style photo's of my rats but they never come out quite this good. Above are 3 of the photo's but you can see more here" http://www.redbubble.com/people/ellen/art/everything/tags/rat

Temporary Templates

12:11 PM Posted In Edit This
I'm in the process of finding a new template for Wonderful World of Rats. Remember, i was only using the Ratatouille template for WWR's debut. Yea, it was a cute template but it had a few bugs and it didn't fit the screen properly, at last not for me.

So now i am in the process of finding a new template for WWR. But, i am a tad frustrated because every time i find a template on line that i really like it doesn't work for some reason. I get errors when i try to upload it and I've tried it both ways- Uploading and cut and paste. I do know how to put templates into Blogspot but some of them just don't want to work or something is missing or wrong with the html/xml code and i don't know enough about html or xml to go inside the codes and fix it.

But, eventually i will find the right template for this blog. Over the next few days you may see the template change. Although blogspot offers previews of templates with your content before you pick it i still like to see how it will actually look... so as i said, you may see this page change a lot over the next few days.

I'm really looking for a clean and simple medium blue, light blue template for this blog... so that is what i am searching for. I did fine a few beautiful templates but they were for Wordpressarghhhh and i did try it anyway... but it didn't work.

Let me know if the black text is to hard to read on this template i have on today.

Sorry for any inconvenience.... oh and yes... the blog will still be active and i will be posting threw all this construction so continue to check back often.

Thank you