Give Now

A Moment of Science

How Humans Are Like Rats

Anyone ever call you a dirty rat? Well maybe they weren't that far off.

rats huddling

Photo: Tatiana Bulyonkova (Flickr)

rats huddling

Anyone ever call you a dirty rat? Well maybe they weren’t that far off. Today, on a Moment of Science, how humans are like rats.

One argument against scientific experiments involving animals is that physiological differences between humans and other species is so great that an animal’s response to a certain procedure or medication actually tells us nothing about the likely human response. Sound familiar?

Surprisingly, humans and rats are actually more alike than they are different. For one thing, we’re both mammals and give birth to living young. We’re both warm blooded, and rats eat everything we do…  and live where we live.

More importantly, rats and humans often suffer from the same diseases. That’s because humans and rats have the same basic physiology, similar organs, and similar body plans. We both control our body chemistry using similar hormones, we both have nervous systems that work in the same way, and we both react similarly to infection and injury. There’s absolutely no doubt that research on rats and other species has done a lot to advance modern medicine.

Despite the medical advancements made from rat testing, the ethics of animal testing can be pretty murky. But that’s certainly isn’t because animal testing tells us nothing about humans, but rather because it so often does.

  • critterridderaz

    In the Midwest, the common house mouse spends the summer months outdoors, enjoying the warm weather and abundance of food and shelter available. As temperatures start to cool down and fall approaches, they start looking for places to spend the winter and often the most inviting place to overwinter is inside your home. The common house mouse is small, usually gray or brown and ranges from between five and a half to seven and a half inches long, which includes a tail that is around three or four inches long. They have the ability to squeeze through openings as small as the diameter of a pencil; about one quarter of an inch. Once inside your home, they will nest inside the walls, destroying drywall and sometimes chewing through wires and they will sneak out into your kitchen and the other rooms of your home in search of food.

  • Natalie

    What does this have to do with rats being like humans?

  • Wooo Zin Zong

    Some people even look like rats ,its like they were once a rat and now a human rat

  • Jaden Timoti

    You savage bastard you. :3

Stay Connected

What is RSS? RSS makes it possible to subscribe to a website's updates instead of visiting it by delivering new posts to your RSS reader automatically. Choose to receive some or all of the updates from A Moment of Science:

Support for Indiana Public Media Comes From

About A Moment of Science

Search A Moment of Science