Weird Science: Bad Hare Day

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Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 9:00 AM
click to enlarge Not N. rex. Even scarier, the Donnie Darko bunny.
  • Not N. rex. Even scarier, the Donnie Darko bunny.

Enormous bunny rabbits, six times the size of today's rabbits, roamed Minorca three to five million years ago, reports Discovery News. Too big to hop, the well-marbled creatures, ominously known as N. rex, dragged their cottontails around the Catalan island like twitchy-nosed Barcaloungers, exerting themselves only to harvest the roots and tubers on which they fattened themselves like wagyu beef.

Paleontologists Josep Quintana, Meike Kohler and Salvador Moya-Sola wrote about recently found fossils of the elephantine thumper in Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Quintana describes N. rex as a "very robust and peculiar rabbit.'' The ancestors of the porcine bunnies, who found themselves in a predator-free paradise when the Mediterranean filled with seawater 5.3 million years ago, evolved into a species that lost not only its hops, but also its floppy ears and its darling, big eyes.

Where does a 26-pound rabbit sit? Anywhere it wants to.

The discovery of N. rex is undoubtedly important contribution to the study of the evolution of island species, and Quintana suggests the rotund lagomorph be considered as a mascot for Minorca - also, perhaps, a killer remake of Night of the Lupus, although the late Rory Calhoun is apparently no longer available to reprise his starring role. But this is Squid Ink. What we want to know is how N. rex would taste stuffed with rosemary, garlic and pancetta.

- Jonathan Gold

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