As kids, we spent hours fascinated with the time in which dinosaurs roamed the Earth. But now, thanks to a new study published in the journal Mitochondrial DNA, we here at Guff have moved on to an obsession with the solenodon.
You can be forgiven if you've never heard of solenodons before. They're very rare, rodent-like mammals native to Cuba and Hispaniola. In many ways, they're similar to shrews, but with one big, big difference.
In fact, Alfred Roca, a professor of animal sciences and member of the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, describes the solenodon as a "giant rat with Freddy Krueger claws." Now we're talking!
Even more amazingly, according to that new study we told you about earlier, these little guys have been causing mayhem (and attacking children in their dreams, probably) since the time of the dinosaurs!
When reached for comment, the report's co-author Adam Brandt said, "It's just impressive it's survived this long... It survived the asteroid; it survived human colonization and the rats and mice humans brought with them that wiped out the solenodon's closest relatives."
So how did these guys end up all the way in the Caribbean? Alfred Roca speculated, "Whether they got on the island when the West Indies ran into Mexico 75 million years ago, or whether they floated over on driftwood or whatever else much later is not very clear."