Hi, Mr. Nature here–with the giant dormouse. It’s closely related to the little sleepy dormouse you know from Alice in Wonderland. But these dormice were the size of large rats, lived on islands in the Mediterranean (Majorca, Minorca, and Malta), and are now extinct.
These animals are an example of the rational order of God’s creation, as seen in island life.
On Mediterranean islands long ago, we find animals that are usually very large, such as elephants and hippos, scaled down to a size more easily accommodated by the island. But then we find animals that are normally very small, like dormice, grown large when they live on islands and predators are not abundant. Up in the Russian Arctic, Wrangel Island had pygmy woolly mammoths that stuck around until sometime around 2000 B.C.
Island ecosystems are fascinating, but also fragile. The giant lemurs of Madagascar, and the even more gigantic moas (birds bigger than grown men) of New Zealand are no more, thanks to humans, dogs, and cats. And that, scientists think, is what happened to the giant dormice.