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Thread: Animal Science Thread (Non Human)

  1. #61
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    Two-Headed Shark Found by Fisherman



    This two-headed bull shark fetus was recently found by a fisherman and described in a science journal.


    We’ve written about a cyclops shark, freshwater sharks, and whorl-toothed sharks, but we have to add a new curiosity to the digital curio: a two-headed shark.

    A fisherman working off the Florida Keys recently caught a bull shark, then opened it up to find that it contained two live fetuses, including one highly unusual one with two heads. The fishermen gave it to scientists, who wrote about it in an article published in the Journal of Fish Biology this week.

    The scientists, led by C. Michael Wagner of Michigan State University, said it was the first known case of the phenomenon in bull sharks, and one of only about a half dozen recorded case of a two-headed shark anywhere.

    Two-Headed Shark Found by Fisherman – News Watch

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    Female octopuses stretch further


    Scientists in Italy developed this method of measuring octopuses' arm extensions


    Female octopuses go to extra lengths when stretching their arms to reach food, a study has found.

    Scientists in Italy measured octopuses' arm extensions as they reached up a tube towards tasty bait.

    They found for the first time that octopuses' arm elongation ability differed depending on their sex and size.

    The findings are published in the Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/21966304

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    Scientists produce disease-resistant piglet



    The laboratory which created Dolly the sheep has produced a disease-resistant piglet using a new technique which is simpler than cloning and could bring genetically modified (GM) meat a step closer.

    The piglet, known only as "Pig 26", was the first animal to be created via "gene editing" when it was born four months ago at Edinburgh's Roslin Institute.

    The new technique, which is faster and more efficient than existing methods, avoids one of the major concerns of anti-genetic modification campaigners because it does not involve the use of antibiotic-resistance genes.

    Scientists hope it could make genetic engineering of livestock more acceptable to the public and help feed the growing global population.

    Scientists produce disease-resistant piglet - Times LIVE

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    How the grouper uses gestures to get dinner



    The grouper uses sign language to advise fellow hunters of hiding prey, according to a new study


    THE roving coral grouper, a predator fish of the tropical reef, uses sign language to advise fellow hunters of hiding prey, according to a new study.

    It is the first time that a fish has been known to make "referential gestures", or specific signs that alert a partner to an object of mutual interest, it said.

    Reporting in the journal Nature Communications, a trio of biologists at Switzerland's University of Neuchatel and Cambridge University in England studied how the coral grouper works with two hunting pals.

    Previous research has shed light on the unusual relationship between the coral grouper (Plectropomus pessuliferus marisrubri), the giant moray eel (Gymnothorax javanicus) and the Napoleon wrasse (Chelinus undulatus).

    Cookies must be enabled. | The Australian

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    Prehistoric Dog Lovers Liked Seafood, Jewelry, Spirituality


    An analysis of ancient dog burials finds that the typical prehistoric dog owner ate a lot of seafood, had spiritual beliefs, and wore jewelry that sometimes wound up on the dog.

    The study, published in PLoS ONE, is one of the first to directly test if there was a clear relationship between the practice of dog burial and human behaviors. The answer is yes.

    “Dog burials appear to be more common in areas where diets were rich in aquatic foods because these same areas also appear to have had the densest human populations and the most cemeteries,” lead author Robert Losey, a University of Alberta anthropologist, told Discovery News.

    The discovery negates speculation that dogs back in the day were just work animals brought along on hunting trips.

    Prehistoric Dog Lovers Liked Seafood, Jewelry, Spirituality : Discovery News

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    Camera Traps Capture Rare and Beautiful Javan Leopards



    Javan Leopard

    Camera traps placed in the Javan rainforest have captured striking images of beautiful and critically endangered Javan leopards. While resting, grooming, and rolling around, one of the leopards resembles a bigger, spotted version of the average house cat; the others move quickly through the forest.

    Researcher Age Kridalaksana, with the Center for International Forestry Research, placed 30 cameras in Gunung Halimun-Salak National Park in West Java, letting them record rainforest scenes for one month. When Kridalaksana came back to retrieve the images, he found that among the thousands of images of deer and civets and birds were three Javan leopards — two spotted, one black.

    Camera Traps Capture Rare and Beautiful Javan Leopards | Wired Science | Wired.com

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    Lavasoa Dwarf Lemur: New Species Found on Madagascar

    Biologists from Madagascar and Germany led by Dr Andreas Hapke of the Johannes Gutenberg University’s Institute of Anthropology have described a new, extremely rare species of dwarf lemur that inhabits three isolated forests in the extreme south of Madagascar.



    Lavasoa Dwarf Lemur, Cheirogaleus lavasoensis


    “Together with Malagasy scientists, we have been studying the diversity of lemurs for several years now,” Dr Hapke said.

    “It is only now that we were able to determine that some of the animals examined represent a previously unknown species.”

    Lavasoa Dwarf Lemur: New Species Found on Madagascar | Biology | Sci-News.com

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    The catchily named Nothobranchius kadleci is the fastest-maturing vertebrate species known to science. In just over two weeks, this fish can reach sexual maturity and start laying eggs — and those eggs only need another 15 days before they are ready to hatch. So why does this species need to cram an entire generation into a single month?

    The reason is that this species, native to southern Mozambique, can't count on permanent access to water, which tends to be a pretty big deal if you're a fish. (Or most any vertebrate species, really, but fish really need water if they plan on surviving for long.) N. kadleci and its cousin species live in pools in the Mozambique savanna that don't exist year-round; rather, the pools form as the rainy season deposits clumps of water into the various natural, shallow depressions found throughout the region. Yes, this is a species evolved to live in what are basically just glorified puddles, and such a tenuous existence makes for some pretty incredible adaptations.

    Because the pools tend to disappear as soon as the rainy season ends, the fish need to get through an entire life cycle as fast as possible.

    According to Dr. Martin Reichard and his team at the Czech Republic's Institute of Vertebrate Biology, the fish are capable of adding growing an additional 25% of their mass every single day, which is what allows them to reach sexual maturity after only about 17 days. Of course, even the ability to reproduce so quickly wouldn't mean much if the fish couldn't survive the times when the water disappears completely. While the end of the rainy season spells doom for the specific fish, their eggs are adapted so that they can remain tucked away in the soil throughout the dry part of the year, just waiting for the return of water to hatch and begin the super-charged life cycle anew. That supply of dormant eggs means the species can potentially even survive entire years without rain.

    Speaking to the BBC, Dr. Reichard says that his team's lab-reared fish might actually be underselling just how fast these fish can reproduce:
    "It is biologically very relevant for these fish to be able to sexually mature very fast because their habitat may dry out in three to four weeks. If they mature very fast, they can produce a new generation... I'm pretty sure if conditions are good, they would be able to sexually mature even faster in the wild. If conditions are inferior - food is less abundant, there is a high density of fish - it would take them longer but they can still complete their lifecycle."
    For more, check out the entire original paper over at EvoDevo.

    This African fish can start having babies at 17 days old

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    Default Re: Animal Science Thread (Non Human)

    Predators learn to see through incredible camouflage



    (Image: University of Exeter)


    Can you spot the nightjar? If you squint you might see her aligned across the centre of the image, beak to the left, tail feathers extending to the right. Her small rounded body is concealed beneath her mottled wing.

    The nightjar is using disruptive camouflage – its body is dappled with different patterns which help to break up its outline.

    The mantis below uses a different technique. It is a background-matcher, and here it bears an uncanny resemblance to the bark on the tree behind. This strategy leaves the creature's outline open to detection, however.




    (Image: Jolyon Troscianko)

    New research shows that even these cleverly concealed animals had better beware. Predators can learn to see through their disguises, says a study led by Jolyon Troscianko at the University of Exeter, UK. The team tested human volunteers on how good they were at spotting well-disguised simulated moths on a computer screen.

    The results showed that at first, predators might be fooled more often by the disruptive camouflage of the nightjar than the background-matching of the mantis. However, over time the human observers learned to see through disruptive camouflage more quickly – which means that animal predators might, too.

    The better the camouflage of prey animals is at duping their predators, the more likely they are to survive to pass on their genes, producing generations of animals that fade undetected into their habitats. Now you see them… now you don't.

    Journal reference: PLoS ONE, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0073733

    Predators learn to see through incredible camouflage - life - 11 September 2013 - New Scientist

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    Default Re: Animal Science Thread (Non Human)

    Big-Brained Birds May Stress Less




    An Australian raven


    Bird species with larger than average brains have lower levels of a key stress hormone, an analysis of nearly 200 avian studies has concluded. Such birds keep their stress down by anticipating or learning to avoid problems more effectively than smaller-brained counterparts, researchers suggest.

    Birds in the wild lead a stressful life. Constantly spotting predators lurking in the trees or sensing dramatic changes in temperature is essential for survival, but can leave birds on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Reading these cues triggers changes in the birds’ metabolism, particularly increases in the stress hormone corticosterone. A sharp release of the hormone within one to two minutes after a cue triggers an emergency response and prepares birds to react quickly to the threat. However, regular exposure to the dangers of the wild and, hence, to high levels of this hormone, has serious health consequences and shortens life expectancy.

    Not all birds respond to stress in the same way, however, notes Daniel Sol an ornithologist at the Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications in Cerdanyola del Vallčs, Spain. He and colleagues have for years looked at the differences between big-brained birds, such as crows and parrots, and those with smaller brains, such as chickens and quails. The former survive better in nature and are also more successful at establishing a community in a new environment.

    In their new work, they connect brain size to handling stress. Sol; Ádám Lendvai, an evolutionary biologist at the College of Nyíregyháza in Hungary; and colleagues scoured the avian research literature to find studies that had measured corticosterone levels in birds in varying situations. They found 189 reports published before 2010 with comparable corticosterone and whole brain mass measurements for 119 bird species.

    The analysis, reported in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, revealed that birds with large brains have lower circulating levels of the stress hormone, which rise only slightly in response to challenging situations, whereas these values can skyrocket in birds on the opposite end of the “brainy” scale.

    An enlarged brain might be costly to develop and maintain, but could increase the bird’s ability to face new challenges and cope with unpredictable situations. Higher cognitive skills “can be seen as an alternative mechanism to hormonal responses,” Sol explains. After all, he says, in multiple animal species “learning has long been associated with a reduction in stress.”

    However, the literature review leaves lots of questions unanswered. The ultimate goal is to “try to understand what might be the mechanism that lowers the stress response” in larger brained birds, says Michaela Hau of the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Munich, Germany. It would be interesting to zoom in on a particular bird family, including species with different cognitive abilities, teach individuals a certain challenging task, and see if the bigger brained birds’ stress response is smaller, she says. Still, Hau says, Sol’s hypothesis “is a cool idea.”

    Big-Brained Birds May Stress Less - Wired Science

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    Default Re: Animal Science Thread (Non Human)

    Flies live in Matrix time: How the insect sees rolled up newspaper moving in slow motion and buzzes away from danger quickly

    Flies avoid being swatted in the same way that Keanu Reeves dodges bullets in the film The Matrix – by watching time pass slowly.

    To the insect, that rolled-up newspaper moving at lightning speed might as well be inching through thick treacle.

    Like Reeves side-stepping slow motion bullets, the fly has enough time to escape.




    Research led by Trinity College Dublin suggests that time perception is related to a creature's size


    Of course, time is really passing at the same speed.

    But the fly’s eyes send updates to its brain far more frequently than a human’s eyes, and its mental processes are similarly much more rapid than ours.

    The result is that a fly sees objects moving slowly in comparison to its own rapid reactions.

    It makes a decision and buzzes away from danger far more quickly than a human can follow it with a newspaper.

    But flies are not the only species to perceive time differently.




    Many animals smaller than us see the world in slow motion. For instance, flies can perceive light flickering up to four times faster than we can



    A dog's visual system has a refresh rate higher than that of the TV screen so all they see is a flicker of lights


    HOW TIME MOVES FOR THESE ANIMALS COMPARED TO HUMANS

    Housefly- 6.8 times slower
    Rhesus macaque- 2.4 times slower
    Dog- 2 times slower
    Cat- 1.4 times slower
    Tiger salamander- 1.3 times faster
    Blacknose shark- 2.2 times faster
    Leatherback turtle- 2.7 times faster
    European eel- 2.8 times faster


    Research led by Trinity College Dublin, in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh and the University of St Andrews, suggests that time perception is related to a creature's size.

    For instance, dogs process information at twice the rate of humans, which is why they usually aren't interested in television.

    Television screens flicker to provide the illusion of constant images to humans.

    But a dog's visual system has a refresh rate higher than that of the TV screen meaning that all they see is a flicker of lights.

    Smaller, more agile creatures had the most refined ability to perceive information in a unit of time, said the researchers writing in the journal Animal Behaviour.

    In other words, they were able to see more flickers of light per second.

    In a similar way, time seems to speed up for larger creatures.

    An example is the leatherback sea turtle which perceives time 2.5 times faster than a human.

    However, the researchers highlight the tiger beetle as one animal who doesn't fit this rule.




    The leatherback sea turtle is thought to perceive time at a rate that is around 2.5 times faster than a human


    'The tiger beetle is an unusual one,' Dr Luke McNally told MailOnline.

    'They take in very little information with their eyes, and run faster than their eyes can keep up.

    'They essentially blind themselves, and take a stop-start approach to finding prey, hurtling towards them in the hope they'll hit something.'

    'Another strange one is the swordfish. When they are hunting their time perception is almost the same as humans, as they deliberately heat up their eyes.

    'The rest of the time, time goes around five times faster for them. This is because they perceive one fifth of the information we do per second,' added Dr McNally.

    Time perception is just another aspect of evolution and survival, the scientists believe.

    Scientists worked this out by flashing a light in rapid flickers in front of animals.

    If the flashes are close enough together, an observer sees them as a continuous blur.

    But researchers found that the flicker speed at which flashes seemed to merge together was different for different species.

    ‘A lot of researchers have looked at this in different animals,’ said Dr Andrew Jackson of Trinity College Dublin.

    ‘Interestingly, there’s a large difference between big and small species.

    ‘If you look at flies, they can perceive light flickering up to four times faster than we can. You can imagine a fly literally seeing everything in slow motion.’

    The animals studied as part of the research covered more than 30 species, including rodents, eels, lizards, chickens, pigeons, dogs, cats and leatherback turtles.

    'Having eyes that send updates to the brain at much higher frequencies than our eyes do is of no value if the brain cannot process that information equally quickly,' added Professor Graeme Ruxton, from the University of St Andrews.

    'This work highlights the impressive capabilities of even the smallest animal brains.

    'Flies might not be deep thinkers, but they can make good decisions very quickly.'

    Some animals may exploit differences in time perception to their advantage, according to Dr McNally.

    'For example, many species use flashing lights as signals, such as fireflies and many deep-sea animals,' he said.

    'Larger and slower predator species may not be able to decode these signals if their visual system isn’t fast enough, giving the signallers a secret channel of communication.'

    Dr Jackson added that this could also explain why time seems to speed up as we get older but move slower for children.

    Time doesn't fly... if you're a fly! How the insect sees rolled up newspaper moving in slow motion and buzzes away from danger quickly | Mail Online

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    Default Re: Animal Science Thread (Non Human)

    4 New Legless Lizard Species Discovered In California, Have Existed For ‘Millions Of Years’



    Four new species of legless lizards evolved to be limbless so that they could burrow into the sand.


    Four new species of legless lizards have been uncovered in some very unassuming locations in California.

    California biologists found the reclusive legless lizards in a vacant lot in downtown Bakersfield, in oil derricks in the lower San Joaquin Valley, on the margins of the Mojave Desert, and at the end of a runway at Los Angeles International Airport, according to a statement from University of California Berkeley.

    “You don’t have to go to remote places to find biodiversity,” Ted Papenfuss of UC Berkeley's Museum of Vertebrate Zoology said. “California has so much biodiversity we’re not even aware of.”

    The species, described in a paper published in Breviora, resemble a slithering snake and were initially believed to belong to a single species, but this latest discovery proves otherwise. Over the past 15 years, Papenfuss and his colleague James F. Parham of California State University, Fullerton, collected samples of the legless lizards throughout the state and began analyzing their DNA, finding they were actually four new species, each with unique DNA, belly color, number and arrangement of scales, and number of vertebrae.

    While the four species had been previously collected and displayed in collections around California, when preserved in alcohol they lost their distinctive markings and looked identical.

    “These are animals that have existed in the San Joaquin Valley, separate from any other species, for millions of years, completely unknown,” Parham said. “If you want to preserve biodiversity, it is the really distinct species like these that you want to preserve.”

    The legless lizards, which are represented by more than 200 species worldwide, evolved to become limbless in order to burrow into sand like snakes. They're rarely seen because they spend most of their time underground eating insects and larvae. To lure them into view, Papenfuss set up pieces of cardboard throughout the state to act as resting or hunting grounds for the reclusive lizards. He found three new species this way, each named after UC Berkeley naturalists.




    Distribution of the five species of legless lizard in California. A. pulchra was already known from a wide range in the central part of the state, but four others are newly described by UC Berkeley and Cal State-Fullerton herpetologists.




    The four locations where the new legless lizard species were found.


    A. alexanderae, named after Annie Alexander, who endowed the UC Berkeley museum in 1908 and added 20,000 specimens to its collections; A. campi for Charles Camp, because of his early-career discovery of the Mt. Lyell salamander in the Sierra; and A. grinnelli after Joseph Grinnell, first director of the zoology museum.

    The fourth species, found under a pile of leaves near the Los Angeles International Airport, was named A. stebbinsi after Robert C. Stebbins, a nationally known Berkeley lizard specialist.

    "These four new species must have once been abundant everywhere in the state," Papenfuss said, "but now it looks as though the unrestricted and growing spread of buildings everywhere has restricted their habitat severely -- more evidence of a serious threat to California's biodiversity."

    And the California biologists insist they’re not finished looking for legless lizards. “This is only the beginning of the story,” Parham said. “We need to further study each species’ distribution. At this point, each species has quite small ranges, and if that’s truly the case, more monitoring of their habitat needs to be done. If we lose those small spaces, we’ll lose those species.”

    4 New Legless Lizard Species Discovered In California, Have Existed For ?Millions Of Years? [PHOTOS]

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    Sierra Madre Ground-Warbler: New Species of Bird from Philippines

    An international team of ornithologists has discovered a new species of ground-warbler on Luzon Island of the Philippine archipelago.



    Three ground-warbler species from Philippines: Bicol Ground-Warbler, top, the newly discovered Sierra Madre Ground-Warbler, center, and Cordilleran Ground-Warbler.


    “The ground-warblers are very unique birds. They’re only known from the northern Philippines, and they have no close relatives,” explained Pete Hosner, a graduate student at the University of Kansas and a lead author of the paper describing the new bird in the Cooper Ornithological Society’s journal Condor.

    “As the name suggests, they’re ground-walking songbirds and it appears that they can barely fly. They tend to inhabit dense forest understory, where they feed on insects. Their song is extremely high in pitch, and ventriloquial – it’s almost impossible to locate the source of the sound in the forest – they always sound like they are far away, even when they are almost at your feet.”

    The new species is named the Sierra Madre Ground-Warbler. Its scientific name, Robsonius thompsoni, honors Max Thompson, a retired professor from Southwestern College in Winfield and a research associate in the University of Kansas’ Biodiversity Institute.

    The bird looks similar to the other two species of ground-warblers in the Philippines, the Bicol Ground-Warbler and the Cordilleran Ground-Warbler, so it wasn’t recognized as an independent species at first.

    “The three species of ground-warblers now recognized are essentially identical in size, shape and juvenile plumage coloration held in their first year of life, but they differ from one another in adult plumage coloration,” Pete Hosner said.




    Sierra Madre Ground-Warbler, Robsonius thompsoni, adult.


    “The reason that this new species remained undescribed for so long was that the adult plumage of the very first ground-warbler to be described was unknown. That species, Cordilleran Ground-Warbler, was documented only from a single juvenile until our recent fieldwork. As a result, the ‘discovery moment’ was when we saw an adult individual of the known species.”

    Examination of its DNA was key to differentiating the new ground-warbler once it was spotted in the field.

    “When we noted the different plumage coloration between adult birds in the Cordillera and the Sierra Madre in northern Luzon, we sequenced DNA to determine if the plumage differences were individual variation within a species, or if the two plumage forms were also genetically diagnosable.

    “We found that Cordillera and Sierra Madre birds were highly divergent in their DNA, almost as different as the distinctive Bicol Ground-Warbler in southern Luzon.”

    Sierra Madre Ground-Warbler: New Species of Bird from Philippines | Biology | Sci-News.com

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    Default Re: Animal Science Thread (Non Human)


    World's 10 Biggest Animals of All Time

    by "Hybrid Librarian"



    I haven't even heard of some of these fossil species described here.

    (I wish I knew who did the guitar solo)
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    Default Re: Animal Science Thread (Non Human)

    Last edited by raymond; 09-07-2014 at 05:00 AM.
    “Liberal: a power worshipper without power.”
    ― George Orwell



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    Default Re: Animal Science Thread (Non Human)

    “Liberal: a power worshipper without power.”
    ― George Orwell



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    Default Re: Animal Science Thread (Non Human)

    The Great Dane measured 44 inches from paw to shoulder and when he stood on his back legs was an incredible 7 ft 4 in high.

    The world's tallest dog - who was an incredible 3 ft 6 in from paw to shoulder - has died just just before his 6th birthday.

    Zeus the Great Dane weighed 11 stone and munched his way through 15 lb of food a week.

    When he stood on his back legs he was an incredible 7 ft 4 in high.
    Zeus the world's tallest dog dies just before his 6th birthday - Mirror Online

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    Arrow Re: Animal Science Thread (Non Human)

    YouTube/Museum of New Zealand Te Papa TongarewaA team of scientists and researchers in New Zealand on Tuesday dissected only the second intact specimen of a colossal squid hauled from the ocean.

    The 350kg female was caught a couple of months ago in the Ross Sea off the coast of Antarctica by a team fishing for Patagonian toothfish.
    Read more: Scientists Found Only The Second Intact Colossal Squid ? Here's What It Looks Like | Business Insider



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    Default Re: Animal Science Thread (Non Human)

    Animal magic: Stunning wildlife pics



    Oliver Smart was named winner of category "Last Chance to See" with his image of polar
    bears in Alaska




    Oliver Smart's image Lost in a Crowd – of king penguins of South Georgia – won in the category "Size Matters"










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