Archive for the ‘Animals’ Category
The new flu virus that has exploded onto the global radar is already showing signs that it is adapting to mammals, suggesting what was once a bird virus is now probably spreading in a mammalian host, an influenza expert said Tuesday.
And while it’s not clear what that mammalian host is, the two most obvious choices are pigs or humans, said Dr. Richard Webby, head of the World Health Organization’s influenza collaborating centre at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
“I think that’s what’s concerning about this …This thing doesn’t any longer look like a poultry virus,” Webby, a swine flu expert, said in an interview.
“It really looks to me like it’s adapted in a mammalian host somewhere.”
Halt! Put down that leftover Easter candy. You might want to read this first.
Before today, the most of your worries were whether or not ants managed to dig their way into your colorful plastic eggs, but it turns out the most terrifying part of one popular Easter treat actually comes from within.
According to the Huffington Post, Cadbury Crème Eggs contain an artificial sweetener called castoreum, commonly listed as “natural flavoring” in vanilla and raspberry-flavored treats and which is derived from, yes, the anal gland excretions of beavers.
Except a look on the castoreum Wikipedia page says the anal glands and castor glands are separate and that castoreum is actually used along with beaver urine to mark territory, so I’m not really sure which to believe.
But if I had to choose, I think I’d much rather have the latter. I mean, that’s like choosing between eating poop and drinking pee right? And it only makes sense to pick . . . pee . . . right?
A rare four-inch fragment of a dodo bone will go on sale in Britain in April, around 300 years after the flightless bird and icon of obsolescence was hunted to extinction.
Auctioneers Christie’s said on Wednesday it was hoping to raise as much as 15,000 pounds for the piece of a bird’s femur.
The last sale of dodo remains the auction house could find took place in London in 1934 – and it was expecting considerable interest from a highly specialised band of collectors and enthusiasts.
“It is so rare for anyone to part with these prized items,” said James Hyslop, head of Travel, Science and Natural History at Christie’s auction house in South Kensington, London.
“From its appearance in “Alice in Wonderland” to the expression ‘dead as dodo’, the bird has cemented its place in our cultural heritage,” he added.
The Western world first heard of dodos in 1598 when Dutch
A Gulf of Mexico fisherman opened the uterus of an adult bull shark and found a two-headed shark pup inside. According to Michigan State University researchers, this is the first two-headed bull shark confirmed by scientists. “”Given the timing of the shark’s discovery with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, I could see how some people may want to jump to conclusions,” Michael Wagner, MSU assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife, wrote in a report in the Journal of Fish Biology. “Making that leap is unwarranted. We simply have no evidence to support that cause or any other.”
Birds do it, bees do it — but how did 3-ton dinosaurs with sharp, pointed spikes on their backs and tails get it on?
Very carefully, say some researchers, who believe mounting a female from behind would have proved deadly for the males of dinosaurs like Stegosaurus.
“The females could not raise their tails, because the bones at the top end were fused,” Brian Switek, a dinosaur researcher and writer, told the Sunday Times. “Also, some species had lethal spikes on their backs, which would have been impossible to get past.”
Deep in the heart of Assam, a remote northeastern province of India, a group of 150 guards watch for poachers in Kaziranga National Park, home to three-quarters of the world’s one-horned rhinoceroses.
But with an area of 330 square miles (855 sq km) to cover, the guards can’t be everywhere. Last year poachers killed 22 rhinos. And another 13 have already been killed this year.
The Indian federal government is granting $7 million in additional aid to help protect the rhinos, reports the Wall Street Journal (paywall). The state government has sent in another 500 special guards.
And it will soon deploy drones.
Drones are not a common sight in India’s skies. But as rhino sanctuaries go, Kaziranga is not unique—reserve administrators around the world are increasingly turning to unmanned aerial vehicles to help guard their beleaguered rhinos. In January, a reserve in Kenya used crowdsourcing site Indiegogo to raise half of the $70,000 it needed to buy a drone. The World Wildlife Fund, a conservation group, is also planning to deploy a drone somewhere in either Africa or Asia this year, followed by another one next year, backed by money from a Google grant.