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Blind “Daredevil” Rats Given Superpowered Senses

Sightless rodents given an extra-sensory boost thanks to Japanese scientists.

image via (cc) flickr user eltonharding

On April 10 Netflix will begin streaming Daredevil, their addition to the Marvel cinematic universe that’s already home to big screen heroes like Thor and Captain America. Lawyer-by-day/vigilante-hero-by night Matt Murdock, Daredevil’s titular protagonist, compensates for his chemically induced blindness with a superhuman sensory system, which not only boosts his remaining four senses, but also affords him a form of human echolocation; He can navigate his way through the world around him, “seeing” without his eyes.

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Giant Rats Finally Useful for Something: Detecting Tuberculosis

Scientists in Mozambique are training the rodents to detect TB bacteria at a far lower cost than other detection methods.

Image via APOPO.

“Giant rats” score high on my list of “Animals I Never Want to Ever Encounter” but it turns out the dingy rodents have at least two redeeming qualities (the first one being that they are great food for our cats). At the Eduardo Mondlane University, scientists are training kitten-sized rats to sniff out the bacteria that causes tuberculosis. In Mozambique, one of the World Health Organization’s 22 high-burden countries for tuberculosis, this kind of rat-powered detection process could prove to be much more practical—and far less costly—than GeneXpert, a diagnostic technology that can cost a cool $17K.

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Could Giant Rats Eliminate Land Mines in Thailand?

A Tanzania-based nonprofit that trains rats to sniff out land mines is seeking to expand to Thailand.

Across the world, African giant-pouched rats are replacing dogs as man’s best friend. For 11 years, Tanzania-based nonprofit APOPO has trained rats to sniff out hidden land mines or life-threatening tuberculosis. Now, APOPO wants to bring its "HeroRATs" from Africa to Asia.

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