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8 Dec 2017 02:35 PM EST

-by Chanel Adams, Staff Writer; Image: A rat in the NYC Subway (Image Source: m01229 via Wikimedia Commons)

New York is a city of diverse people at every corner.

Students at Fordham University have found that it's also diverse in its growing population of rats, as well.

Rats have stayed in New York City since the 1700s and they're not leaving anytime soon. Since the late 1700s, Norwegian rats have taken over New York City's alleys, parks, basements, and sewers. They were transported on ships from France and England, and they never left the city, according to a new report.

Matthew Combs, a graduate student at Fordham University, learned about the diversity of rats and found that certain areas of New York City had more genetic diversity. For example, the Lower East Side and East Harlem have more rats, while Midtown has less. Residential areas are homes to rats rather than tourist areas.

Combs wrote a dissertation about the ecology and evolution of the urban rat population in NYC. His paper was a result of two years of work and collecting DNA samples from over 200 rats in Manhattan. He wanted to learn more about rats because he wants to know how it affects human beings. Understanding their interaction can help control the rat population in New York City.

Combs also found out that the ancestors of NYC's rats came off a boat around the same time that Alexander Hamilton traveled to America. He wants to know why these rats were allowed on in the first place. He warns that rats and human interaction will have a negative effect on the city.

“Rats are territorial. But that's not necessarily the whole story,” he was quoted saying by AOL News. “It also might be that trade doesn’t happen in New York City anymore.”

Now, he wants to investigate other areas in the U.S. such as New Jersey to compare the results. Robert Corrigan, an urban rodentologist (yes, that's an actual career) and consultant, said he can't wait to see where this new research leads them.

“Let me tell you something about the rats on the Upper West Side,” he says. “They would probably have some secrets for us. Because they’re all related, and they go way, way back.”

Combs remarked this project opened up his eyes to the rat population and how it evolved over 300 years, according to Metro.

“Rats are obviously very cryptic. They're not easily seen unless in a subway tunnel and not very much is known about their ecology and biology in cities,” Combs said. “Once you know what to look for, though, you definitely see them more often.”

According to Combs, 10 percent of rats stray away from their colony by escaping through the park or across a block. As they travel, they bring their genetic information with them through their fur and fecal matter, which is how Combs was able to identify them in “clusters” throughout certain neighborhoods. The rat population will continue to grow and not slow down anytime soon unless something helpful comes out of this ongoing research.

29 November, 2017
Christmas Activities, Attractions, Shows, and More In and Around New York City

-by Chanel Adams, Staff Writer; Image: The 2016 Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in New York City (Image Source: Michael Vadon via Wikimedia Commons) It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Thanksgiving is over, and the holiday shopping season is in full force thanks to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Christmas is on everyone's minds. Soon, the Christmas... Read more

4 November, 2017
How Often Should You Shower?

Daily showering can strip the skin's outer layers of moisture. Experts say three minutes is all you need to get clean. Soap up targeted areas, not every spot on the body. When was the last time you showered? If you're like most people, the answer is probably less than 24 hours ago. There's no official protocol for how often to shower, but folks around... Read more

12 October, 2017
Jimmy Kimmel to Return to Brooklyn for Week of Shows

-by Laura Tucker, Staff Writer; Image: Jimmy Kimmel (Image Source: Selma Üsük via Wikimedia Commons) While Jimmy Kimmel has been making the headlines lately, first with his stance on healthcare and now with his stance on gun control, he'll be bringing that act back to Brooklyn starting October 16, and he'll be bringing his friends with him as well. The... Read more

11 October, 2017
Ed Sheeran And Taylor Swift To Perform Together Again

Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran will perform together again at Jingle Ball 2017. The two musicians are close friends and have previously toured together, performed at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show together, and joined together at Jingle Ball in 2012. iHeartRadio's holiday festival in New York City and Los Angeles has a star-studded line-up including... Read more

29 August, 2017
Cobra Club to Host Bulleit Auction to Benefit LGBTQ Community after Company's Homophobia Comes to Light

-by Drew Kolar, Editor; Image: Flier for Cobra Club's auction event (Image Source: Cobra Club on Facebook) After Hollis Bulleit, daughter of the founder of Bulleit Frontier Whiskey, accused her family of homophobia and of forcing her out of the company because she identified as a lesbian, the beverage industry and the LGBTQ community were up in arms. The... Read more

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