Very pleased to see my former colleagues at the ANU featured in this news – the discovery of the largest rat fossils ever, from East Timor.
The largest to have existed – giant rat fossils
ANU, 06 November 2015
Dog-Size Rats Once Lived Alongside Humans
LiveScience, 06 November 2015
Archaeologists with The Australian National University (ANU) have discovered fossils of seven giant rat species on East Timor, with the largest up to 10 times the size of modern rats.
Dr Julien Louys of the ANU School of Culture, History and Language, who is helping lead the project said these are the largest known rats to have ever existed.
“They are what you would call mega-fauna. The biggest one is about five kilos, the size of a small dog,” Dr Louys said.
“Just to put that in perspective, a large modern rat would be about half a kilo.”
The work is part of the From Sunda to Sahul project which is looking at the earliest human movement through Southeast Asia. Researchers are now trying to work out exactly what caused the rats to die out.