Animals, News, World Problems

Only Six Northern White Rhinos left in the World

Suni at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya.

Suni, a 37-year-old northern white rhino and only the second male of his kind left in the world, died recently of natural causes in the Ol Pejeta Conservancy reserve in Kenya. After his death merely six other specimens are now alive that still carry the legacy of this subspecies. Conservation efforts were heavily direct towards Suni, but now that the rhino is dead, all hope…

Animals, Feature Post

To protect itself, this Moth looks just like a Hornet

Photograph by Gyorgy Csoka.

Acting tougher than you really are is not uncommon in the natural world – but this moth has taken it to the next level. The Hornet Moth (Sesia apiformis) has evolved to mimic not only the look, but also the mannerisms of a real hornet. The Hornet Moth is a large moth with a wingspan of 33–48 mm. It has a…

Animals, Videos

Extremely rare footage shows sperm whales sleeping vertically

sperm-whales-sleeping

The sperm whale (also called the cachalot) the largest toothed predator. Mature males average at 16 metres (52 ft) in length but some may reach 20.5 metres (67 ft), with the head representing up to one-third of the animal’s length. The sperm whale feeds primarily on squid, which it hunts at impressive depths, usually deeper than 2 km. Researchers have believed for some…

Animals, Biology, News

Ancient 385-million-year old Fish pioneered Sex

Microbrachius dicki fossils are very common, yet nobody noticed these vertebrates bore differentiated sexual organs. Photo: ROGER JONES

Paleontologists have identified the first known animals that used internal fertilization instead of spawning – armor-coated swimmers, called antiarchs, which lived around 385 million years ago in lakes in what is now Scotland. The discovery is truly monumental since its the earliest known example of sexual dimorphism or differences in appearance between the sexes in the fossil record. Sex emerged in…

Animals, Biology, News

Males may be Wired to choose Sex over Food

"Adaptive behavioral prioritization requires flexible outputs from fixed neural circuits. In C. elegans, the prioritization of feeding versus mate searching depends on biological sex (males will abandon food to search for mates, whereas hermaphrodites will not) as well as developmental stage and feeding status. Previously, we found that males are less attracted than hermaphrodites to the food-associated odorant diacetyl, suggesting that sensory modulation may contribute to behavioral prioritization," the researchers write in Current Biology. Image: Current Biology.

Men are from Mars and women are from Venus, or so the old adage goes, but how different are men and women? I won’t go into debates like whether or not men and women are neurologically the same – it’s a far too exhaustive and exhausting subject for such a short article. Clearly, however, men and women are different in…

Animals, Environment, News

Alien Mussels Threaten U.K. Biodiversity

Quagga mussels. Image via 100th Meridian.

The single most threatening species to U.K.’s biodiversity is a species of mussels – the quagga mussel. Coming from the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea in Eastern Europe, the quagga mussel came with four other freshwater invaders which have now become a huge danger for Britain’s wildlife. The quagga mussel, scientific name Dreissena rostriformis bugensis, is an invasive species….

Animals, Anthropology, News

Chimps Pass down Skills to Peers and Establish Cultures

chimp_culture

Chimps, our closest relatives, can pass down knowledge and skills, like using a new tool for instance, and establish cultural communities, according to a recently study published in PLOS Biology. Communicating and passing down skills, inventions and knowledge is considering a pre-requisite to what we commonly refer to as human culture, and the findings suggest that this kind of behavior can…

Animals, Biology, News

Sharks have Social Personalities too: some are friendlier than Others

Juvenile spotted cat sharks (Scyliorhinus canicula) were studied for their social interactions. They can found throughout the northeast Atlantic and Mediterranean, but during the test the sharks were monitored in large tanks containing three habitats in Plymouth. Photo: University of Florida

When people think of sharks, the most immediate response might be jaws, fright or blood, but if you’re willing to set prejudice aside you might find that these animals aren’t that different from most of us; at least in one important respect: social interactions….

Animals, Biology, News

Dolphins can sense the Earth’s Magnetic Field

Bottle nose dolphins navigate using the magnetic field. Image via Deviantart, Animal Photos.

As if dolphins weren’t special enough, scientists have added another quality to the list: they can sense our planet’s magnetic field. A surprising variety of animals can sense the Earth’s magnetic field – bees, birds, salmon, frogs, sea turtles, salamanders, lobsters, and rodents; now, you can also add dolphins to that list. French researchers have shown that, just like some of…

Animals, Feature Post

Antivenom: how it’s made and why it’s so precious

snake_antivenom

Every year some 100,000 people die all over the world after being bitten by a venomous snake. Depending on the toxicity of the venom and how much venom is injected inside the body, a snakebite will cause  tingling, muscle weakness, nausea swallowing difficulties, excess saliva and potentially fatal breathing problems. To avoid getting killed, a snakebite victim must immediately go…