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December 12, 2009


Leon  Garcia G.

Wonderful documents, both this one and the one about the pig trial. Are these trials a phenomenon of the early modern period? I wonder if there is anything comparable in Spain. I love the fact that the court treats the mice here as moral persons, and even grants a compassionate extension of stay to pregnant mice.

John Ballard

Reminds me of an Asian problem I never know about until lately. Bamboo forests apparently replicate twice a century, putting out so many seeds the rodent population gets out of control.




From that last link...

South Asian bamboo masting story

Happens once every 48 years simultaneously over large tracts of bamboo forest

* 30-80 tonnes of bamboo seed per hectare
* Flowering and seed masting began in 2004 in Mizoram and moved southwards, reaching the CHT and Myanmar in 2007.

* Rat outbreaks in these upland habitats near bamboo are still happening in Bangladesh and Myanmar this year and next (new flowering has recently been observed).
* Many farmers loose 100% of their crops
* In some areas all the bamboo masts in one year, in other years the masting event takes 2-3 years to complete, prolonging the famine. It is not clear whether this difference in synchrony is related to different strains of the same bamboo species.
* Although flowering in patches of forest is synchronous, seed maturation may be variable, earlier seed fall may result in larger rat outbreaks.
* The rodent species involved in the outbreaks have been identified. There are still many gaps in our knowledge of the breeding biology and dynamics of these species.
* We know precious little of their movement patterns and over what scale they can move.

John Ballard

Another historic problem involving mice has vexed Roman Catholic theologians for years: What happens to the Eucharist (the transubstantiated body of Christ) if a mouse eats it by accident? (The accident, of course, would be that of the cleric. The mouse would be eating it deliberately.)

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