Viking Mice Invaded North Atlantic Like Crazy, Too

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March 20 2012 3:25 PM

Viking Mice Invaded North Atlantic Like Crazy, Too

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(A member of the Viking Jarl Squad attends the annual Up Helly Aa Festival in the Shetland Islands of Lerwick on January 31, 2012. New research suggests that mice stowing away aboard Viking ships also spread throughout the North Atlantic.)

Photo by Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images

Pillaging and plundering is bad, but is there a scourge worse than spreading a mouse invasion?

New research shows that 1,000 years ago, fierce Vikings were accompanied on their conquests by mice. An international research team of experts from Iceland, Denmark, and the United States found that the spread of Viking genes remarkably mirrored those of mice through the North Atlantic region. A study of archeological sites suggests the mice stowed away on Norsemen’s ships, visiting Scotland, Ireland, Iceland, and Greenland. The only place both Norsemen and Norse mice failed to successfully take hold in? Canada.  

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Still, who knew mice were so hardcore? In light of this new research, maybe Disney should give us an edgier Mickey in Viking Boat Willie.

Video produced by Jim Festante.

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.

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