Everyone knows that the Japanese are engineering the imminent robotic destruction of Earth What you might not know is that's only stage one of their plan. When the dust settles and the last surviving humans claw their way out of the rubble, they'll immediately be enslaved by their new overlords: tool-using rats.
For reasons best known to their psychologists, researchers at the Japanese RIKEN facility spent two months teaching rats how to use a small rake. Bush-tailed rats, specifically, and although the species (known as Degu) is technically an Octodon, quibbling over the exact genus of rodent the scientists just trained to replace us isn't the important point here.
Placed in cages divided by a fence, food was placed just out of reach of the rodent. So far, so funky - torturing small animals is an established and respected scientific tradition - but the mistake the researchers made was giving the rats rakes. Within sixty days, all six degus involved in the trial mastered the tools and were able to quickly acquire the food. You might notice that sixty days is a hell of a lot faster than our monkey forbears managed. The status of the six vermin, soon to be known as "They Who Began The Dark Days", was not indicated in the report - we can only assume that desperately nibbled rebels from the future time travelled back to kill them.
Someone needs to explain to RIKEN the basic rules of being a dominant species:
a) Get to the top of the food pyramid
c) Do not, and this is important, train smaller, faster breeding creatures in a key ability that will allow them to kill larger animals.
In the short term, expect exterminator rates to go through the roof with charges like "Bulletproof vest insurance" and "Evading large roborat hunter-killers". In the long term, might we recommend our new book "How to please your new Rat Master (includes free squeaking language course)".
Posted by Luke McKinney.
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