INTERNATIONAL: Scientists unearth fossils of rats the size of small dogs in Australia

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INTERNATIONAL: Scientists unearth fossils of rats the size of small dogs in Australia
fossil of a giant rat from the Eocene period
fossil of a giant rat from the Eocene period
fossil of a giant rat from the Eocene period

HUFFINGTON POST – Archaeologists with the Australian National University have discovered the fossils of seven different species of giant rats, one of which could grow to be up to 10 times the size of the critters that scurry through New York City subways.

“The biggest one is about five kilos, the size of a small dog,” Dr. Julien Louys of the ANU School of Culture, History and Language said Friday in a press release.

Archaeologists found the fossils in East Timor while working on a project examining early human movement in Southeast Asia. These fossils are around 44,000 years old, according to The Washington Post. Evidence suggest that humans, who lived in Timor as much as 46,000 years ago, would hunt and eat the mega-rats.

It’s not clear exactly when archaeologists first found the fossils, and ANU didn’t immediately return a request for comment from The Huffington Post.

Researchers say one of the most interesting aspects of the rats is how scientists suspect they died out — and the implications that could have for life today.

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