Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania on September 17, 1990 · Page 8
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Indiana Gazette from Indiana, Pennsylvania · Page 8

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Indiana, Pennsylvania
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Monday, September 17, 1990
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Page 8
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Page 8 —Thursday, September 18, 2003 NATION (iazcttc Clues to giant rodent unearthed By PAUL RECER AP Science Writer WASHINGTON — It would be an exterminator's worst nightmare: A 1,545-pound rodent with a voracious appetite and big teeth. Resembling a guinea pig grown to the size of a buffalo, the animal lived millions of years ago in a South American swamp and is thought to be history's biggest rodent, researchers say this week in the journal Science. "Imagine a weird guinea pig, but huge, with a long tail for bal- ancing on its hind legs and continuously growing teeth," said Marcelo R. Sanchez-Villagra of the University of T\ibingen in Germany. He is the first author of the study. The formal name of the rodent is Phoberomys pattersoni. The last term is in honor of Brian Patterson, a Harvard professor who led a fossil-collection expedition to Venezuela in the 1970s. Informally, the skeleton is called Goya. It was unearthed in a semi- desert area of Venezuela, about 250 miles west of Caracas. Sanchez-Villagra said that when Goya lived, some 6 million to 8 million years ago, the area was a lush paradise for the large plant eater. "At the time it was forested and swampy with a big river and a lot of vegetation," he said. The giant rodent grazed on grasses, which he must have eaten in large amounts to support his great size. Goya had fur, a smooth head with small ears and eyes, and that large tail that enabled it to balance on two hind legs to watch for predators, said Sanchez-VUlagra. And there were a lot of meat eaters who probably preyed on Goya, he said. "We know that there were crocodiles in the same location where we found this animal," said Sanchez-VUlagra. "They were some of the largest crocs ever — more than 10 meters (33 feet) long." Goya also had to worry about large carnivores called marsupial cats, and huge flesh-eating birds called phorracoids, he said. (On the Net: Science, www.sci encemag.org) Seen in this artist rendering, Phoberomys pattersoni is believed to be the largest rodent that ever lived. (AP photo/Copyright Science/Illustration: Carin L Cain) . JAMIL AHMED SPECIALIZING IN INTERNAL MEDICINE AND GERIATRICS Admitting To Indiana Regional Medical Center The Ben Franklin Medical Center Shelly Drive Indiana, PA 15701 724-349-3433 PLAYI Melanle Barber. Office Manager *1OO CAS With Your Next Vehicle Purchased At DAILY Best Results. 1055 Pmm, ST., INDIANA MUST PRESENT THIS COUPON AT TIME OF SALE! Expires Sept. 30, 2003 Biut'a Auta So£eo Visit us at www.budsautosaies.com to see our stock of over 300 late model vehicles. Bud's is family owned & operated always standing behind every car sold for 25 years. Beaverdale, PA 10 minutes from both Johnstown & Ebensburg (8 14) 487-4889 (814) 487-73 75 The WATCH WORD® Puzzle is sponsored by the Area Businesses Listed and will appear in The Indiana Gazette Monday thru Saturday. 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