When Rodents Rafted Across the Ocean

  • Published on: 06 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 http://alphynix.tumblr.com and http://nixillustration.com

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: http://youtube.com/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).
  • Runtime : 10:20
  • dinosaurs dinos paleo paleontology scishow eons pbs pbs digital studios hank green john green complexly fossils natural history Caviomorpha guinea pigs capybara chinchillas porcupines South America Africa Hystricognathi infraorbital foramina hystricognaths Caviomorphs old world new world molecular clock Eocene Gondwana rafts Rio Grande Rise Walvis Ridge Atlantic Ocean adaptive radiation sweepstakes colonization


  • J Garberg
    J Garberg   4 days ago

    Dumb humans, animals could walk across before the flood..that did occur in our past. Supposed science majors gotta have someone else wipe for them

  • Mikee 1234444
    Mikee 1234444   5 days ago

    My uncle owns 4 capybara up on his farm in Pennsylvania.

  • Richard Willette
    Richard Willette   1 weeks ago

    maybe they made tiny little boats to get to S America but lost the technology over millions of years

  • ronkirk50
    ronkirk50   1 weeks ago

    This hypothesis should be tested to get a general idea how long the trip might have taken.

  • Aaron J
    Aaron J   1 months ago

    (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

  • Rams495
    Rams495   2 months ago

    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 ago

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

  • Imaginose314159
    Imaginose314159   2 months ago

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

  • Peusterokos1
    Peusterokos1   2 months ago

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

  • Rob Beecroft
    Rob Beecroft   3 months ago

    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 ago

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

  • Rune scape
    Rune scape   3 months ago

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

  • David Ev
    David Ev   3 months ago

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

  • Ravi Sanghvi
    Ravi Sanghvi   3 months ago

    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 ago

    Can Tom cat win against this huge Jerry?

  • sharkfinbite
    sharkfinbite   3 months ago

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

  • berdeleona
    berdeleona   4 months ago

    Why was south america so open to niches?

  • J .K
    J .K   4 months ago

    3:43 India was on a mission

  • Sir Dude
    Sir Dude   4 months ago

    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   4 months ago

    You're awesome thank you for your information

  • Whiskey Bravo
    Whiskey Bravo   4 months ago

    Given enough time, the unlikely becomes inevitable.

  • Rios Salvajes
    Rios Salvajes   4 months ago

    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 ago

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

  • jusk8lp
    jusk8lp   4 months ago

    I want to learn about the evolution of BATS