Hamsters got Horns? Whoda Thunk It?

Prehistoric horned hamsters!

http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=mg18725094.900
Those horns…do you think they can play the St. Louis Infirmary Blues? :wink: :smiley:

When I read this, I immediately heard the voice of Napoleon Dynamite inside my head, saying, “Do the chickens have large talons?”

-foxy

I knew hamsters were evil… :eek:

I couldn’t see the picture of the horned hamsters, dammit.

I saw a show quite a while ago that showed a proto-deer with fangs. That was totally cool.

There is no picture.

There are still some current species, like the Chinese water deer that have tusks too.
As for the article, Hopkins shouldn’t rule out sexual combat just because both sexes were horned. Female rhinos have horns too, y’know. The theory of the horns as defensive weapons is perfectly plausible and probably true, but it doesn’t mean the other uses can’t also apply.

Well how big were these hamsters? Were they the size of a volkswagon? Because then horns would make sense. But if they were just teeny things like today’s hamsters, then that’s just silly. No not the beep beep kind of horn. A giant hamster could be just as dangerous as a rhino, flipping antelope or whatever into the air. A wee horned hamster would just get hurt trying that sort of stunt. And the antelope would just laugh.

Hey! Maybe that’s why the boards run slow sometimes. Our hamsters are horned! The horns get caught in the wheels, the board slows down. Also, that would mean the hamsters were quite elderly, being pre-historic and all.

I dunno. A cat I used to have displayed what may have been an ancestral memory of this. When my ex would put her hamster in the ball to run around, Sammi would go hide. Hmmm…

Given that they were the smallest known mammals with horns, and snakes were mentioned as a possible predator, I’m guessing the hamsters were not much bigger than their modern counterparts. Off the top of my head, the smallest mammals I can think of that have horns (aside from those hamsters) are various small goats and such. In which case, the largest estimate for the prehistoric hamsters would be maybe that of a medium-sized dog, if even that big. But I think that’s still a bit unlikely.

Now, if they could only prove the existence of prehistoric saber-tooth hamsters…

Hmmm indeed, I think what you had there was a fake cat. Modern house cats are directly decended from saber tooth cats (cite: The Flintstones). Sammi, if an actual cat, would have pounded that hamster. If you’ve still got Sammi around, you could check her lining and the stitching, just to be sure. In fake cats the lining is cheap and the stitching irregular and generally indicative of shoddy workmanship.

People who traffic in knock-off cats make it difficult for legitimate cat breeders to make a living and raise the price of real cats for the rest of us. No moral person would ever knowingly own a fake cat. Next time remember: when the guy selling cats out of the trunk of his car offers you a deal to good to be true, it probably is. Surely Sammi will soon start to lose fur, if she hasn’t already. Try to love her anyway. Sammi may be fake, but her heart is real.

[sup]I can’t believe I wrote all of that with a straight face-- I crack me up! It also means I need to cut back on the caffeine so I don’t annoy the nice Dopers with my ‘humor’[/sup]