Pharyngula

My naked little friend

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If you are wondering who that little guy is on my shoulder, you need to be enlightened. Of course they’re beautiful. I keep a model right next to my spring-loaded squid toy.


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So you want a closeup?

Comments

  1. #1 Janine
    October 30, 2007

    “Say hello to my naked little friend!”
    PZ stars in the remake of ‘Scarface’.

  2. #2 Rey Fox
    October 30, 2007

    I can barely see the little guy in that picture. Isn’t that basically a tacit admission on your part that he’s…ugly?

  3. #3 Andy J
    October 30, 2007

    I love Naked Mole Rats!…
    My first week of my first year of college while standing in line for food I asked my roommate from which animal he thought the meat of the day originated. He replied, “Naked Mole Rat”.
    We laughed hysterically for about five minutes, and then off and on all day. I actually thought he just made it up. When I asked him what struck him to create such a concept, he said “It was the first thing I saw in my biology text”. Apparently, he sat down with his first biology book and opened it to a random page. There eblazoned upon the top of the page was a blurb about the neat little colonial animal, the naked mole rat.

    To this day, it is still something of a personal totem creature.

    Thanks for that!

  4. #4 denise
    October 30, 2007

    They are absolutely adorable. I like them!

  5. #5 Kagehi
    October 30, 2007

    Hmm. PZ’s real name is Ron Stoppable? lol Seriously, most of you won’t get that joke probably. I wouldn’t either, but found myself awake late night with a lot of bad TV, and the only thing I could find to watch was “Kim Possible” on Disney. lol

    Of course, the only problem with my theory is that Ron has super monkey powers, not super squid powers. πŸ˜‰

  6. #6 Vitis01
    October 30, 2007

    Has anybody seen the Errol Morris film “Fast, Cheap & Out of Control”? It has naked mole rats in it.

  7. #7 Deepsix
    October 30, 2007

    I despise the little critters as they are a bastardization of the two animals I hate the most- rats and moles. And they’re hairless, so that’s a triple whamy. Plus they wallow in the entire colonies fecal matter and eat their own poop. Don’t let em lick you in the face! πŸ™‚

  8. #8 Zeno Izen
    October 30, 2007

    Oh smokes! You can get these?

    Not that I want one. I’m sure one of the cats would have it for lunch.

  9. #10 Umilik
    October 30, 2007

    I was in the Ueno Zoo in Tokyo recently where they have a colony of naked mole rats with their burrow right up against the glass. So you can see the whole colony doing their mole-rattish things. Very cool.

  10. #11 Rey Fox
    October 30, 2007

    Ugly!

  11. #12 Rheinhard
    October 30, 2007

    Although he may superficially resemble Ron Stoppable, it should be obvious by now that PZ actually wants to be Dr. Drakken! (Besides, who wouldn’t want Shego as a lab assistant? Rowr!)

    Actually the only reason I know about this show is that I have a number of anime fan friends who go on about it.

  12. #13 Sven DiMilo
    October 30, 2007

    NMRs are fascinating mammals for many reasons; not just the whole eusocial thing, but they also have perhaps the lowest metabolic rates among mammals and are damn near ectothermic. Very weird indeed.
    And, with an 11-yo daughter, I am quite familiar with Kim Possible (a pretty good female role model, as cartoon characters go), her friend Ron, and his pet NMR–“Rufus,” if memory serves.

  13. #14 Sven DiMilo
    October 30, 2007

    Hey, that’s Rufus in the video linked from comment #8!
    Rey Fox, you’re trollin’, dude.

  14. #15 Master Mahan
    October 30, 2007

    I personally love naked mole rats. Not only have they gone so far beyond ugly* they’ve doubled back into Cute Overload territory, but they’re the closest thing to a real-life Empire of the Ants. God deserves some sort of industry award for the Intelligent Design.

    *Mind, I’d say there’s no such thing as an ugly animal, only an interesting one.

  15. #16 K. Signal Eingang
    October 30, 2007

    I got one of those little rubber guys at the MN Zoo a while ago, but it hadn’t been home more than fifteen minutes when one of the cats decided it needed to be torn limb from limb.

    So now I’ve got a legless bucktoothed sausage.

    Still moderately awesome I guess.

  16. #17 n
    October 30, 2007

    It looks roughly like a walking penis with large teeth. Now that’s
    not a nice thing to think of.

  17. #18 Jason J Brunet
    October 30, 2007

    I have a real one! http://jeffthefish.com/images/pi_rat/002.jpg

    Well, it looks similar πŸ™‚

  18. #19 Geta
    October 30, 2007

    They are cute! Don’t have them either the real thing or fake.. but do have actual, live naked neck chickens(often AKA Turkens) which are just as cute!

  19. #20 Hank Fox
    October 30, 2007

    Somebody got down on me recently for knowing the lyrics to the Thundercats theme song, so I’ll carefully refrain from quoting the Kim Possible theme. πŸ˜€

    But Kim rocks. And so do Ron and Rufus.

  20. #21 Heather
    October 30, 2007

    My 8-yr old daughter saw a special on these critters a while back on Animal Planet. They freaked her out big time, and she had nightmares about naked mole rats. The thing that scared her most was that they could chew through concrete. She figured (correctly, I would assume) that any creature capable of chewing through concrete would have no trouble chewing through an 8-yr old girl.

    She still talks about them from time to time. If you ask her what the most dangerous animal in the world is, she’ll tell you it’s a naked mole rat.

  21. #22 jre
    October 30, 2007

    I find it mind-blowing that some mammals, while not actually being haplodiploid, have managed to evolve the same social structure as bees. Apparently they share over 50% of their genes, and the eusociality followed, or went hand-in-hand with the inbreeding. Could some remote, inbred mountain community do the same thing? I seem to recall an old X-Files episode along those lines.
    What actual haplodiploidy in an intelligent species would mean was explored brilliantly by James Tiptree, Jr. (Alice Sheldon) in Your Haploid Heart.

  22. #23 thomis
    October 30, 2007

    Heh, I named my photobucket for the raging naked molerat.
    Feisty creatures, they are.
    (clicky my username above to see a nice pic)

  23. #24 Hairy Doctor Professor
    October 30, 2007

    And, with an 11-yo daughter, I am quite familiar with Kim Possible (a pretty good female role model, as cartoon characters go), her friend Ron, and his pet NMR–“Rufus,” if memory serves.

    I totally agree about the role model bit: I also have an 11-daughter, although I watch KP more than she does. KP is considerably brighter than Ron, but then so is Rufus…..

  24. #25 Moses
    October 30, 2007

    Hmm. PZ’s real name is Ron Stoppable? lol Seriously, most of you won’t get that joke probably. I wouldn’t either, but found myself awake late night with a lot of bad TV, and the only thing I could find to watch was “Kim Possible” on Disney. lol

    Of course, the only problem with my theory is that Ron has super monkey powers, not super squid powers. πŸ˜‰

    Posted by: Kagehi | October 30, 2007 1:36 PM

    If you have the Disney Channel and elementary school kids, “Kim Possible” is actually a relatively good show. Much better than most of the crap on children’s TV.

  25. #26 Moses
    October 30, 2007

    Not my day for tags… Messed up #24.

    ……

    “Too many comments have been submitted from you in a short period of time. Please try again in a short while.”

    “Bite me” flood control.

  26. #27 Dawn
    October 30, 2007

    My kids love Kim Possible, too. I watch it with them if I have time. And I love Rufus. He’s the smartest of them all, I think.

  27. #28 Zarquon
    October 30, 2007

    But but but that’s a horrible vertebrate

  28. #29 tacitus
    October 30, 2007

    This video is a wonderful recruiting tool… for atheists.

    This is the reason why belief in the existence of Hell is always considerably lower than belief in God (even in the US). The more Christians push this type of stuff on their kids, the more they will reject the faith of their fathers. It’s already happening, and this type of thing will only accelerate the process.

    Curiously, I have been working on a short story with a similar theme–a young person gets killed in a car crash and finds himself suffering almost indescribable torments in the Lake of Fire. The reveal at the end of the story is that he, and all the others around him are children barely beyond the “age of accountability” and are only guilty of things that a real parent would forgive in a heartbeat. Of course, it also turns out that Stalin repented on his deathbed (or maybe Hilter, I haven’t decided yet) and is enjoying an eternity in Heaven while the kids all languish in torment.

    Such is the logic of fundamentalist Christianity.

  29. #30 tacitus
    October 30, 2007

    Oops – how the heck did that happen?

    Sorry, wrong thread!!

    LOL!

  30. #31 Skemono
    October 30, 2007

    Naked mole rats are the best proof that God exists–no creature could possibly be so ugly without having been on the wrong end of divine wrath.

  31. #32 Rey Fox
    October 30, 2007

    We all trollin’ all up in here!

  32. #33 skyotter
    October 30, 2007

    i’z on ur blog, waytun 4 naked LOLrat jokz

  33. #34 ichthyes
    October 30, 2007

    Spring loaded squid toy?? Please, oh please, tell me such a thing exists! πŸ˜€

  34. #35 Dan
    October 30, 2007

    At first I though, “Oh neat! PZ’s got a fake naked mole rat.”

    Then I realized, “Who would make a fake naked mole rat?”

    Needless to say, this latest epiphany finds me embarcing the stark realization that you, sir, have some very odd pets.

    Cute little bugger, though. And, that’s a nice, smart, young man haircut you’ve got there Dr. Myers.

  35. #36 dc
    October 30, 2007

    I admit that pictured next to you, they don’t look quite so ugly.

  36. #37 windy
    October 30, 2007

    I find it mind-blowing that some mammals, while not actually being haplodiploid, have managed to evolve the same social structure as bees.

    The big boys told me that haplodiploidy has lost favor as “the” explanation for eusociality. Termites are diploid, too.

  37. #38 Janine
    October 30, 2007

    How old is everyone here? I make a joke about PZ being Al Pacino. ‘chirp’ ‘chirp’ Someone makes a joke about some Disney(?) cartoon and people are falling over themselves. If you are going to use a cartoon, at least let is be something as funny as ‘The Tick’.

  38. #39 Dan
    October 30, 2007

    If you are going to use a cartoon, at least let is be something as funny as ‘The Tick’.

    Posted by: Janine

    Spoooooooon!

    PZ? Why are my comments being moderated? Have I caught The Dumb? I promise I will not pass it on to anyone.

  39. #40 AJ Milne
    October 30, 2007

    I was just into the small mammal house at the DC zoo, where they have a colony you can watch… tho’ a screaming two year old sorta cut the experience short. It was sorta: oh, look… eusocial mammals… and there they go, while I deal with a much larger, more antisocial specimen.

  40. #41 windy
    October 30, 2007

    It looks roughly like a walking penis with large teeth. Now that’s not a nice thing to think of.

    Teeth – they’re not just for vaginas anymore.

  41. #42 lithopithecus
    October 30, 2007

    ALL HAIL THE NAKED MOLE RAT!!!!!!!!!!!

    (sorry, not shouting, just jubilant)

  42. #43 Coturnix
    October 30, 2007

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V_UDTzG-6Qo

    and thanks for the Pharyngulanche πŸ˜‰

  43. #44 Mike from Ottawa
    October 30, 2007

    Naked mole rats are ugly. They’re fascinating and wonderful, but they’re bug ugly. Now, Damaraland mole rats, those are cute.

  44. #45 Sili
    October 30, 2007

    That doesn’t look particularly naked to me.

    Oh …

    The little one …

    Actually, they don’t seem too bad , but I think I prefer moles and rats rather than that hodgepodge.

  45. #46 tim gueguen
    October 30, 2007

    No doubt the references to dear KP on this thread will lead to this blog getting a whole bunch of new visitors.

  46. #47 Tulse
    October 30, 2007

    Oh my, I believe I have that exact model (along with two other far-less-lifelike NMR toys). Mine is from the Toronto Zoo, which has a collection of the adorable little critters. I too see them as a totem of mine.

    I have always thought that a glass “naked mole rat farm”, like an ant farm but with NMRs, would make a great conversation piece. The only downside would be the size…

  47. #48 Alan Kellogg
    October 30, 2007

    Ron Stoppable is not stupid, Ron stoppable suffers from a lack of confidence. He is Jewish, a bit of a nerd, and the insecure son of highly competent parents. Naturally he got picked on when he was younger. Kim Possible is the first real friend he’s ever had. The first person who accepted him for himself, and possibly the first non-Jew to accept his faith as a matter of course.

    PZ’s friend? It’s a miniature gorgonopsid. Only a gorgonopsid would be too stupid to protest being posed like that, with its front paws sort of off PZ’s knuckles.

  48. #49 Barn Owl
    October 30, 2007

    #6-

    Has anybody seen the Errol Morris film “Fast, Cheap & Out of Control”?

    I thought it was brilliant, both the cinematography style and the soundtrack. Though I preferred the topiary animals to the naked mole rats running through the habi-burrow. Errol Morris is a filmmaking genius.

  49. #50 Heather Kuhn
    October 30, 2007

    I wonder how many zoos have colonies of these critters. Adde the Philadelphia Zoo to the list.

  50. #51 AleieX
    October 30, 2007

    Oh, naked mole rats… how peculiar creatures yet so cute and ugly at the same time. My zoology techer loves to mention them, I wonder why he chose bees instead of n.mole rats.

  51. #52 JM
    October 31, 2007

    Not that I’m a Trekkie, but doesn’t PZ like a young William Riker? Star Trek TNG The Prequel, anyone? The mole rat could co-star as an alien ambassador.

  52. #53 JM
    October 31, 2007

    look like a young William Riker of course – apologies for the accidental omission.

  53. #54 Drhoz!
    October 31, 2007

    Invented a Naked Mole Rat cardgame once. Spaghetti junction, the object being to create and seal off a tunnel network containing one queen and one turnip, before the snake card turns up. Meanwhile, your opponents are building their Network, and trying to screw over yours.

    Worked as solitaire, too. Also as Java, but that’s still in production.

  54. #55 Apikoros
    October 31, 2007

    @JM- Riker was my first thought, too!

    Except Riker didn’t get the beard until later, about the same time he started wearing a girdle.

  55. #56 Sven DiMilo
    October 31, 2007

    I have always thought that a glass “naked mole rat farm”, like an ant farm but with NMRs, would make a great conversation piece. The only downside would be the size…

    the only downside? um…the smell?

  56. #57 Rey Fox
    October 31, 2007

    “Adde the Philadelphia Zoo to the list. ”

    And the Oregon Zoo.

  57. #58 CortxVortx
    October 31, 2007

    A couple of years ago, a friend sent a picture of a naked mole rat and opined, “How would you like to go through life looking like a penis with teeth?”

    Can’t. Erase. Mental. Image.

    — CV

  58. #59 marc
    October 31, 2007

    Forget the rat, PZ looks like the living dead. Get some sleep, man! Or are you dressing up as a zombie for Halloween?

  59. #60 Goldrush
    November 1, 2007

    #51 I wonder why he chose bees instead of n.mole rats.

    Maybe nobody was studying them. They were only discovered 100 years ago, and they live underground in the Horn of Africa. Might have been daunting back in the day.

    I’m reminded of those who didn’t study geology back in the 60s because the academic side of the discipline was still ruled by the dead hand of uniformitarianism. While they’d accepted continental drift, it was important during the Cold War that they not give in to a revolutionary hypothesis like plate tectonics as the first mover.

  60. #61 Mena
    November 1, 2007

    I bought one of these a year or two ago at the Brookfield Zoo, which also has a colony. My only complaint is that it’s too cute. It needs to have smaller eyes, the lower teeth need to be bigger, and there aren’t enough wrinkles. Fuglify it, Platte River Trading! Well, make them look as good as nature intended them to be. ;^)

  61. #62 JJR
    November 2, 2007

    I seem to recall a Naked Mole Rat Rap being put out by the Kim Possible franchise awhile back…

    I’m a 36 year old male, and yes, I will sit through an episode of Kim Possible and enjoy it. For an animated chick, she’s hot πŸ˜‰

    And Ron & Rufus are pretty good comic relief.

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