If rats listen to Dutch and Japanese in reverse are they Devil worshippers?

I had despaired recently, wondering if anyone would ever do anything again of which I could make fun. I need not have worried. If all else fails, a scientist will always come through.

In a recent Reuters story, headlined in Washington D.C. (where else), researchers in Spain have determined that rats can use the difference in the rhythm of a language to differentiate between Dutch and Japanese being spoken. This has to be knowledge worth millions.

Supposedly, this is the first time any animal other than a human or monkey had shown this ability.

How do they know? Has anyone ever spoken Japanese or Dutch to a Red Spotted Newt? These little creatures might have volumes to tell us.

But, in a far-reaching assessment, the researchers have determined the questionable abilities of these rats indicate that animals, especially mammals, learned some of the skills of language before language had even evolved. Say what?

You know what this means? Eons ago, an especially philosophical rat turned to his buddy as they were gnawing on a piece of cheese and said, “Hey Norm; I just figured out that in a couple of billion years, we'll be able to understand why the Dutch like warm beer and the Japanese crave Saki.”

Norm's response wasn't recorded for posterity.

In any case, 64 adult male rats were separated into four groups and tested; one group heard each language spoken by a native, one synthesized speech, another either language spoken by different speakers and the last group heard the languages played backwards.

The “study” learned that; the rats could discriminate natural sentences when uttered by a single speaker, but not by others, and none of them could tell the languages apart when played backwards.

(There was no information about the researchers having played Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven in reverse to see if they became Satanic worshipers.)

However, the rats which were rewarded with food for listening to Japanese, would not respond to Dutch and vice-versa. Am I the only one who sees a flaw here? Sure, put food into the equation and what do you expect?

If you really want to see if these rats have learned anything just have one of the researchers whisper, “We're sending you guys to the “Fear Factor” blender.” If you see panic in their eyes, you know they've understood. Now that , would be a scientific achievement worthy of the news.

The word for the week is ludicrous.

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