For people who ever been in the subways of New York, you know that rats can actually get pretty big and intimidating. However, according to some recent finds, they are nothing compared to their relatives that lived in Southeast Asia.
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These rats, which were studied by the Australian National University, were up to 10x bigger than modern rats - yes, even the ones in New York. That would make them roughly the size of small dogs and the largest rats that have ever existed.
"They are what you would call mega-fauna. The biggest one is about five kilos, the size of a small dog," said ANU’s Julien Louys, who is helping lead the project, in a statement.
"Just to put that in perspective, a large modern rat would be about half a kilo (2.2 pounds),” he said of the findings that were presented to the Meetings of the Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology in Texas last month.
The study is a part of a project called From Sunda to Sahul - a study that looks at some of the earliest human movement through Southeast Asia. Researchers are trying to discover things like diets and why certain animals died out. They are also trying to find out about the role humans had in any of that.
According to the findings reported by Fox News, the earliest records of humans on East Timor date back about 46,000 years. They lives with rats for many thousands of years.
"We know they're eating the giant rats because we have found bones with cut and burn marks," he said. "The funny thing is that they are co-existing up until about a thousand years ago. The reason we think they became extinct is because that was when metal tools started to be introduced in Timor, people could start to clear forests at a much larger scale."