Category: Follow Me


Can animals predict earthquakes?

Toad

Image from BBC Nature News.

Interesting observations of amphibians possibly sensing chemical changes in groundwater before an earthquake and anecdotal observations of strange behavior from the animal kingdom pre-earthquake found here.

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Follow Me To Baby Animal Cuteness

Baby Lynx

A tagged baby lynx. Image by the USFWS.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has a beautiful baby animal post on their blog right now. Click here to check it out.

penguin

Penguin picture stolen from i09.

So, turns out one of the tricks to emperor penguins being able to stay under water so long is that they can metabolize anaerobically-that is, without oxygen. Not so surprising for bacteria (at least we’ve known about that for a while), but for a bird, pretty awesome adaptation. Read about it here, and find out about the technical mechanisms and triggers for the switch here.

And They All Go Marching Down

ants

Spiky ant. Image taken in Iquitos, Peru.

Two exciting stories of ants for you. The first is how some species of ants have designated food testers to make sure a food supply is not poisonous before the rest of the group gets it. You can read about that one here. The second is about a study suggesting that ants are capable of performing simple arithmetic calculations. Here is the actually publication, if you want the sciency version and here is the link to Discovery’s summery.

The Lands of Naked Penguins

naked penguin

A naked penguin chick in the arms of a researcher. Image by Jeffrey Smith.

A mysterious feather loss disorder has been hitting penguin chicks. These chicks also grow slower than feathered chicks and don’t find shelter from the sun like feathered chicks do. Find out more about it here.

Don’t Look Down

wasp

An invasive species, this wasp thrives partially because of its ability to handle its competitors. Image by Nigel Jones.

This wasp has been observed in an interesting competitor-handling behavior. When it’s at a food station, enjoying its noms, and some ants come by to take part in the feast, these wasps will pick them up, fly them away and then drop them from the sky. Despite being quite a far fall, the ants usually survive, but with a lesson well learned. They will usually abandon the feeding station in search of safer, less painful foods. Before you take pity on the ant, it’s important to know that these ants will bite and spray acid on their competitors. You can see why the wasp doesn’t want them around. Read more about it here.

Spider Trees

spider tree

In Pakistan, trees are covered in spider webs. Image by Duncan Geere of Wired UK.

After major flooding in Pakistan, spiders took to the trees, resulting in these awesome web covered trees. Read more about it here, and be sure to check out the gallery of crazy spider trees!

Wisdom’s Chick

albatross

Mama albatross on her chick. Image from the USGS.

This albatross is the oldest wild North American bird, as far as science knows, at over 60 years old and she just successfully hatched yet another chick! This is the fourth year in a row that she’s hatched a chick, which is amazing considering that most albatross take a year off between raising one chick and hatching the next. Her name is Wisdom and you can read more about her here.

microscope

Images from an iphone microscope. Image stolen from Wired Science.

The fascinating world of microscopic life is now reachable to everyone with a phone camera and $10-$20 worth of parts. These microscopes are powerful enough to even see blood cells. The inventors are even creating an app that can stitch images together to find out blood oxygenation levels. For step by step instructions on how to turn your phone into a microscope, check this out.

Cooperative Elephants

elephants

Elephants at the Oregon Zoo.

Elephants show scientists that they know how to cooperate with each other in some amazing puzzles that require working with a partner. Details released in this Associated Press article.