|.: Fluffy bunny tale
The only full skeleton of an Isle of Man Rabbit ever discovered is currently on show at the Manx Museum.
The specimen is almost four feet tall to the shoulder and was given the latin name cuniculus manximia when it was discovered by archaeologists at Scarlett Point in Castletown in 1962.
The skeleton caused great controversy in the scientific world when it was unearthed by Dr Graeme Qualtrough. He claimed the sheer size of the rabbit meant it was likely to have been the common ancestor of many other Manx mammals, including the Island’s trademark tailless cats.
However, German professor Dr Klaus von Vaffelschnauss was in the Isle of Man at the time and decided to investigate the Scarlett site further. He managed to find two complete human skeletons in strata which was 23 million years old. This led him to postulate the theory that somehow a Manx time machine had been invesnted, its creators had travelled into the past and bred the rabbits for food.
More recently, advances in DNA sampling and genetic technology allowed boffins to clone the rabbit from ancient traces of marrow. They hoped to settle the argument about the animal’s origin once and for all.
But there was great dismay when researchers discovered their specimens missing on the day they were due to mature into adults – and the reinforced cages were severely damaged.
A further batch was created – but in the meantime some leading biologists at the Manx government laboratories claimed the rabbits suffered from an extreme allergenic reaction to sunlight and had exploded as dawn filtered through the windows. This, they said, explained the rarity of the fossils and the animal’s sudden (almost overnight) extinction.
A round-the-clock watch was put on the ancient bunnies, which were kept in a sealed room covered by more than twenty CCTV cameras. This led to one of the most incredible scientific breakthroughs of the twentieth century as the cameras captured the rabbits vaporising with an actinic flash.
Later analysis showed the rabbit’s hadn’t in fact exploded – but they had disappeared. Further scans of the laboratory showed they had spontaneously travelled backwards in time.
A bug in the DNA replication was blamed for the phenomena, and there was a huge amount of scientific activity as various investigators attempted to discover whether the principle could be used to send humans backwards in time.
But the first experiment on a single-celled amoeba proved disastrous when the entire laboratory was all but destroyed in a huge explosion which not only destroyed the subject but also vaporised all of the research data.
Fortunately, nobody was hurt in the blast, but to this day the question remains whether the rabbits existed before the scientists managed to send two batches of them back into the primeval ages.
Labels: Douglas, isle of man, manx, manx rabbit
Written at 16:04 by
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