Gerbils, not rats, 'gave Europe the Black Death' BLACK rats might not be responsible for the plagues that killed millions of people across medieval Europe, research suggests. Instead scientists believe that repeated outbreaks of the Black Death may in fact be traced to gerbils arriving from Asia. [more inside]
Gerbil-stuffing, urban legends, celebrity gossip, and homophobia: Jane Hu in The Awl with A Complete History Of Gerbiling So Far. [more inside]
In 2003, the BBC reported that a population explosion of Great Gerbils had destroyed more than 4 million hectares of grasslands in China's north-western Xinjiang region -- an area about the size of Switzerland. By 2005 the damage covered 5 million hectares, and the Xinjuang Regional Headquarters for Controlling Locusts and Rodents were reported to be breeding and attracting pairs of golden eagles to curb the gerbil population. So McSweeney's Joshuah Bearman was assigned to the story. His report: An Investigation Into Xinjiang's Growing Swarm of Great Gerbils, Which May or May Not be Locked in a Death-Struggle With the Golden Eagle, With Important Parallels and/or Implications Regarding Koala Bears, The Pied Piper, Spongmonkeys, Cane Toads, Black Death, [and] Text-Messaging..
Operation Probe: a top-secret, drug-sniffing gerbil program developed in the early 1980s.