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Rats

  1. Being Lazy May Not Be Your Fault, Say Scientists Who Aren’t

    Good news, couch potatoes! It may not be your fault that you don't want to get off your butt and be productive. In a display of not at all being lazy themselves, researchers at the University of Missouri have deduced that genetic traits might make some people prone to low motivation and inactivity.

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  2. To Sniff or Not to Sniff: Animals Display Social Hierarchy Through, Well, You Get the Idea

    We all know that animals have great noses -- especially bears, sharks, rats, and dogs -- and that they're far superior to our own lousy sniffers. We know this because we use man's best friend as trackers and detection dogs, because we're afraid of sharks if even a drop of blood hits the water, and because in 3rd Edition D&D most animal stat blocks include the Scent (Ex) special ability. But there's more to sniffing than just sheer olfactory might. According to a new study, the act of sniffing itself communicates the complex social status between animals.

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  3. Iran Rolls Out Teams of Snipers to Battle Enormous Mutant Rats

    The Iranian capitol of Tehran is suffering from a pest problem we don't envy -- Rodents of Unusual Size have come to plague the city. While they're not the nearly human sized creatures native to the Fire Swamp, Iranian officials have reported that the "genetically mutated" creatures weigh in at up to 11 pounds. That's larger than some of the cats that prowl the city's streets, and big enough to warrant government backed teams of snipers whose job is to hunt down the voluminous vermin, because of course they're resistant to traditional poison. Of course they are.

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  4. Wired Telepathy: Neural Implants Let Two Rats Share One Thought

    Researchers at Duke University have successfully wired together the brains of two rats, allowing the animals to share a response to a stimulus -- hitting a switch when a light flashes, for example -- even when only one of them is actually exposed to it. And the connection isn't just for deliberate decision making --after a prolonged period of connection, rats were even able to feel and respond to researchers stroking the whiskers of the rat they are brain linked to.

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  5. Japanese Researchers Build Robotic Rat Literally Just To Terrorize Actual Lab Rats

    Life as a lab rat isn't exactly great. The digs are nice and the food is good, sure, but it's a lifetime of being poked, prodded, put through mazes, having electrodes put in uncomfortable places, and eventually probably being dissected to see what effect all those things had on your poor brain. So while we're all for suffering in the name of scientific progress, it seems a little much that researchers at Japan's Waseda University have created a robotic rat specifically designed only to terrorize their organic lab rats, inducing stress and depression that they can then study.

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  6. Bionic Whiskers Could Teach Humans A New Sense

    Have you even wondered  what life would be like if you could SEE with your BEARD? No? Us neither, until we came across a paper released recently in the Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers at the Weizmann Institute in Israel are teaching blindfolded subjects an entirely new sense, similar to one rats and mice use to orient themselves in space with their whiskers. To bring about this new form of sensory input in humans, they're using a set of bionic whiskers made for people.

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  7. Mutant “Super-rats” Invade England, Are Immune To Standard Poisons

    Are you looking for a pretty sure sign of the coming apocalypse? We've got you covered. The British town of Gloucestershire is being overrun by mutated "super-rats" that are immune to conventional poisons, according to a new study. We're pretty sure this was also covered in Revelations somewhere, if we know our Bible. Which we certainly don't.

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  8. Rare Rodent Resurfaces 113 Years After Its Last Sighting

    The red-crested tree rat is a South American rodent that was first discovered by taxonomists in 1898, and described in 1899. But alas, they've been shy since: Those two specimens discovered in 1898 were the only ones known to modern science for over a century, and subsequent taxonomic work has only been able to refer to those specimens. It was an open question whether and how it should even be categorized as a species at all, given the lack of data. But all that changed earlier this month when volunteers at Columbia's El Dorado Nature Reserve discovered a red-crested tree rat, pictured above -- or rather, it discovered them.

    The animal was rediscovered by Lizzie Noble and Simon McKeown - two volunteers with ProAves monitoring endangered amphibians. It posed for photographs - including close-ups -before calmly proceeding back to the forest. "He just shuffled up the handrail near where we were sitting and seemed totally unperturbed by all the excitement he was causing. We are absolutely delighted to have rediscovered such a wonderful creature after just a month of volunteering with ProAves. Clearly the El Dorado Reserve has many more exciting discoveries waiting," said Lizzie Noble from Godalming, England.
    Following this discovery, the red-crested tree rat is likely to be classified as a critically endangered species. (Fundacion ProAves via Wired)

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