Vikings Spread the Humble House Mouse During Ancient Conquests
Four-legged stowaways hitched a ride aboard the wooden 10th- and 11th-century Viking ships that braved the northern seas. The probably numerous passengers aboard hailed from Mus musculus domesticus, the small, fleet-of-foot rodent otherwise known simply as the house mouse.
Opportunistic hangers-on have accompanied human migrations throughout history. From the louse to the mouse, scientists have started using detailed DNA evidence from these species to see how these animals have spread along with our own settlements. A new study, published online March 18 in BMC Evolutionary Biology, shows that Norwegian Vikings brought mice along in their conquests, some of whose descendants persist to this day in the far-flung destinations visited.
Read more of the article at Vikings Spread the Humble House Mouse During Ancient Conquests | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network.
Story by Katherine Harmon – Scientific American; Photo by George Shuklin – WikimediaGoogle+