When Rodents Rafted Across the Ocean

  • Published: 07 November 2018
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    The best evidence we have suggests that, while Caviomorpha originated in South America, they came from ancestors in Africa, over 40 million years ago. So how did they get there?

    This episode was written by Genevieve Perdue.

    Thanks to Ceri Thomas for the Josephoartigasia monesi reconstruction. Check out more of Ceri's paleoart at alphynix.tumblr.com and nixillustration.com

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: office-2016.info/user/pbsdigitalstudios

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    Katie Fichtner, Aldo Espinosa Zúñiga, Anthony Callaghan, Esmeralda Rupp-Spangle, Gregory Donovan, Ehit Dinesh Agarwal, الخليفي سلطان, Gabriel Cortez, Marcus Lejon, Anel Salas, Robert Arévalo, Robert Hill, Kelby Reid, Todd Dittman, Betsy Radley, PS, Colin Sylvester, Philip Slingerland, John Vanek, Jose Garcia, Noah offitzer, Eric Vonk, Tony Wamsley, Henrik Peteri, Jonathan Wright, Jon Monteiro, James Bording, Brad Nicholls, Miles Chaston, Michael McClellan, Jeff Graham, Maria Humphrey, Nathan Paskett, Connor Jensen, Sapjes, Daisuke Goto, Hubert Rady, Yuntao Zhou, Gregory Kintz, Tyson Cleary, Chandler Bass, Maly Lor, Joao Ascensao, Tsee Lee, Sarah Fritts, Ruben Winter, Ron Harvey Jr, Jacob Gerke, Alex Yan

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    Lavocat, R. “La syste´matique des rongeurs hystricomorphes et la de´rive des continents.” Comptes Rendus de l'Académie des Sciences Series D 269 (1969).
    Merali, Z., and B.J. Skinner. Visualizing Earth Science (2009). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
    Mones, A., and J. Ojasti. “Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris.” Mammalian Species 264(1986).
    Morrison, M.L., Marcot, B.G., and R.W. Mannan. Wildlife-Habitat Relationships: Concepts and Applications, 3rd ed. (2006). Washington, D.C.: Island Press.
    Nowak, R. M. Walker’s mammals of the world, 5th ed. (1991). Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
    Patton, J. L., Pardiñas, U. F. J., and G. D’Elía. Mammals of South America, Vol. 2, Rodents (2015). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
    Scotese, C.R. “A Continental Drift Flipbook.” The Journal of Geology 112.6 (2004).
    Simpson, G.G. 1940. “Mammals and land bridges.” Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences 30 (1940).
  • Science and Technology Science and Technology

Comments • 932

  • mongo moonbladder
    mongo moonbladder  1 days back

    I'll always want a capybara... 😁

    • Giovanna Aranda
      Giovanna Aranda  4 days back

      eles:"nanana... capybara"
      eu: capivara

      • Daaku Daddy
        Daaku Daddy  6 days back

        Capybaras! I'm onto your game!

        • Aaron J
          Aaron J  1 weeks back

          (someone help explain it to me) sooo... why couldn't the common ancestor have derived in Africa and when South America and Africa split, that common ancestor evolved differently on South America and the African ones stayed the same? This would mean the old world rodents evolved before the split, and when it did split they formed the new world rodents. tbh i can picture that more than a rodent rafting across loll

          • HeavyHanded `
            HeavyHanded `  1 months back

            Damn rats were cruising the damn oceans

            • OLD BIRD CHOZO
              OLD BIRD CHOZO  1 months back

              A capybara the size of a horse?!? Wahhhh!?!?!?

              • ChitaRita
                ChitaRita  1 months back

                ratatouille confirmed

                • Rams495
                  Rams495  2 months back

                  Tsunamis probably did this all the time. When you look at the crap that came to the west coast from Japan you can see that stuff can move much further than these would've had to float.

                  • li Hairo
                    li Hairo  2 months back

                    Whos the artist that drew the piece at 1:23 ?

                    • Imaginose314159
                      Imaginose314159  2 months back

                      If they were eating the rafts along way, such as twigs and leaves that would provide some moisture right?

                      • Peusterokos1
                        Peusterokos1  2 months back

                        "Lol I'm Leif Erikson"
                        - some weird fuzzy boi

                        • Chris Waters
                          Chris Waters  2 months back


                          • Wayne's Hammer
                            Wayne's Hammer  2 months back

                            Water pig=police on a boat

                            • OneofInfinity
                              OneofInfinity  2 months back

                              Chinchillas ❤

                              • Jeraboa JumpingMouse
                                Jeraboa JumpingMouse  2 months back

                                more proof that rats will get anywhere

                                • Rob Beecroft
                                  Rob Beecroft  3 months back

                                  Horse sized rodents! Wow... please do an episode about them. And please do an episode about the smallest horses too!

                                  • Clyde Balcom
                                    Clyde Balcom  3 months back

                                    How to get fresh water on the ocean? Rain. Vegetation rafts would be able to hold rainwater.

                                    • Rune scape
                                      Rune scape  3 months back

                                      What if there was giant lily pads or they hitched rides on bigger things.

                                      • LucasWerewolf
                                        LucasWerewolf  3 months back

                                        Its a Huge Guinea pig.

                                        • David Ev
                                          David Ev  3 months back

                                          Yaaaay. Cali is #1. She is the best.

                                          • Diogenes of Sinope
                                            Diogenes of Sinope  3 months back

                                            This theory seems highly unlikely

                                            • Ravi Sanghvi
                                              Ravi Sanghvi  3 months back

                                              So Christopher Columbus or Amerigo Vespucci, did not discover sea route to Americas?

                                              A rat discovered sea route to Americas long ago?
                                              Americas should be celeberating "Rodent Jerry day" every year then.

                                              • Ravi Sanghvi
                                                Ravi Sanghvi  3 months back

                                                Can Tom cat win against this huge Jerry?

                                                • sharkfinbite
                                                  sharkfinbite  3 months back

                                                  Capybara don't look cute. Only you sheltered domesticated people would consider it cute

                                                  • berdeleona
                                                    berdeleona  3 months back

                                                    Why was south america so open to niches?

                                                    • J .K
                                                      J .K  3 months back

                                                      3:43 India was on a mission

                                                      • Katrina Peljo
                                                        Katrina Peljo  3 months back

                                                        Watching this with my pet degu!

                                                        • Sir Dude
                                                          Sir Dude  3 months back

                                                          I think the chain of islands and shallow water is the only theory that even remotely plausible. Not only would it explain the other "sweepstakes colonizers" it far more plausible than a raft of random debris that somehow managed to cross the open ocean in 11-8 days without breaking apart and without the passengers dieing of dehydration and possibly malnutrition. Also how can we be sure that the ocean that is half size of our modern ocean between Africa and south America is the same? I would think that it would be at least significantly different If not completely.

                                                          I understand that this is not fully understood and that PBS Eons is trying to give all the information they can

                                                          • drwnpadilla
                                                            drwnpadilla  3 months back

                                                            You're awesome thank you for your information

                                                            • Whiskey Bravo
                                                              Whiskey Bravo  3 months back

                                                              Given enough time, the unlikely becomes inevitable.

                                                              • Rios Salvajes
                                                                Rios Salvajes  4 months back

                                                                Kallie is my favorite host. She can make clear and interesting the most complicated thing. And she's gorgeous too.

                                                                • Maxine Bonadie
                                                                  Maxine Bonadie  4 months back

                                                                  Did she say...”...somehow” Like she doesn’t know exactly how🤣

                                                                  • jusk8lp
                                                                    jusk8lp  4 months back

                                                                    I want to learn about the evolution of BATS

                                                                    • Beneko '11
                                                                      Beneko '11  4 months back

                                                                      Huh.... so sea rats sailed the seas..... pi-rats

                                                                      • Twiggafinga
                                                                        Twiggafinga  4 months back

                                                                        They're adorable haha

                                                                        • Zephiris
                                                                          Zephiris  4 months back

                                                                          I prefer the flying pikachu theory. They crossed by balloons~

                                                                          • Michael Hassemer
                                                                            Michael Hassemer  4 months back

                                                                            Those hand-moves are really nice. A language in itself.

                                                                            • HonorisCreed
                                                                              HonorisCreed  4 months back

                                                                              07:30, you call dying of thirst "unpleasant"? o_o

                                                                              • Sirius White
                                                                                Sirius White  4 months back

                                                                                thanks for your video. the rodents could have drank fresh water during and after rainfall. also, if the temperature was very cold and there was ice between the continents, clearly the rodents could also have walked across the ice to find new land.

                                                                                • Andrew Dussault
                                                                                  Andrew Dussault  4 months back

                                                                                  Sounds like the prequel to Watership Down.

                                                                                  • Ruben Kelevra
                                                                                    Ruben Kelevra  4 months back

                                                                                    Columbus: I've crossed the Atlantic Ocean and discovered America!
                                                                                    Guinea Pig: Hold my running wheel

                                                                                    • guiller
                                                                                      guiller  4 months back

                                                                                      Carpincho :D

                                                                                      • Intellect, reason&Logic Use your brain

                                                                                        Its not hard to figure out that they ended up on ships made by humans and got moved around, just like rabbits mice ect

                                                                                        • Kevin Schultz
                                                                                          Kevin Schultz  4 months back

                                                                                          so then are porcupines in America and in Africa examples of convergent evolution?

                                                                                          • ꧂Oddish꧂
                                                                                            ꧂Oddish꧂  4 months back

                                                                                            I thought the video was a metaphor about European imperialism, it's not carry on.

                                                                                            • splendor Inthegrass
                                                                                              splendor Inthegrass  4 months back

                                                                                              I hate rodents...

                                                                                              • jatinder saini
                                                                                                jatinder saini  4 months back

                                                                                                They were planted there by KGB

                                                                                                • Demetrius Middleton
                                                                                                  Demetrius Middleton  4 months back

                                                                                                  This is quickly becoming my favourite YouTube channel!