Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wednesday Science Blogging

Degu Gothic

Yet another example where the old saying about humans still having, evolutionary speaking, "one hand in the tree," might be giving us a little TOO much credit...instead, you could make the argument that we aren't much more than rodents with shoes:

Degus are highly social, intelligent rodents native to the highlands of Chile. They adorn the openings of their burrows with piles of sticks and stones, have bubbly personalities and like to play games.

But in a laboratory setting, degus can do much more than play hide-and-seek, according to a study in the online journal Plos One ( They can learn to use tools.

Specifically, degus have been trained to reach through a fence, grab hold of a tiny rake and pull their favorite food, half a peeled sunflower seed, close enough to reach with their mouths. After two months of practice, researchers say, the degus can move the rake as smoothly and efficiently as croupiers in any Las Vegas casino.

Nothing on whether they manage to bully their way into the presidency then lie a country into an unwinnable war...but maybe that just means we humans aren't quite as advanced as we think...

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