June 25, 2008

On rats

This passage has been discussed before and no doubt will be again, but never mind.

"In 1849, hungry gold miners crossing the Nevada desert noticed some glistening balls of a candy-like substance on a cliff, licked or ate the balls, and discovered them to be sweet-tasting, but then they developed nausea. Eventually it was realized that the balls were hardened deposits made by small rodents, called packrats, that protect themselves by building nests of sticks, plant fragments, and mammal dung gathered in the vicinity, plus food remains, discarded bones, and their own feces. Not being toilet-trained, the rats urinate in their nests, and sugar and other substances crystallize from their urine as it dries out, cementing the midden to a brick-like consistency. In effect, the hungry gold miners were eating dried rat urine laced with rat feces and rat garbage."

Who wrote that and where? No Googling.


Samir said...

Jared Diamond in "Collapse". Didn't Google or anything, I promise. :)

Anonymous said...

Talking of rodents, I wanna know why are commies opposing the n-deal? Any insight?