Animals, Biology, News

200 new species discovered in Himalaya, including walking fish, emerald snake and sneezing monkey

© Liang Zhang

A walking fish, a jewel snake and a sneezing monkey: these are just some of the biological treasures recently discovered in the fragile Himalayan ecosystems.

Animals, Biology, News

Meet the hog-nosed rat, a new species of mammal

hog-nosed rat

While surveying the island of Sulawesi right in the center of Indonesia, a group of researchers came across a previously undocumented species of rodent. It was pretty easy too, considering the animal’s uncanny appearance: what would otherwise look like a normal looking rat, but with the nostrils of a hog.

Animals, Mind & Brain, News

$0.25 “mini-brains” could replace animal testing

Image: Hoffman-Kim lab/Brown University

Scientists have developed devices that move us one step closer towards eliminating the need for animal testing. These working miniature artificial brains would be ideal for testing drugs research, neural tissue transplants, or experiments with stem cells.

Animals, Environmental Issues, News

British Petroleum fined a record $20.8 billion for oil spill

A pelican affected by the oil spill. Image via Wikipedia.

In a monumental decision, British Petroleum (BP) was fined $20.8 billion for the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; this upgrades the initial deal from the $18.7 that were previously discussed and represents the largest corporate settlement in US history. This money is additional to the reported $28 billion spent on cleanup and compensation.

Animals, News, Science

Wildlife flourishes in Chernobyl’s post-apocalyptic exclusion zone

Elks photographer in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Image: Valeriy Yurko/University of Portsmouth

In the wake of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant explosion in 1987, hundreds of thousand had to move immediately without notice. Their lives changed forever. Many didn’t have time to pack anything, as documented by the ghost towns around the fallout site still littered with toys, valuable items and other personal belongings. But while humans had much to suffer, the same can’t be said about the wildlife. In the almost four decades since the dramatic disaster, wildlife and vegetation has simply sprung to life like never before. In some instances, there are more wildlife per square meter than in some of the busiest protected natural parks in neighboring Belarus. Turns out wildlife doesn’t mind that much radiation – what they mind is humans.

Animals, Biology, Environmental Issues, News, Pollution, Science

Plastic-eating worm might pave the way for ocean clean-up

Noble. Heroic. Grubby.
Image via sciencedaily

When it comes to human waste products and pollutants, plastic claims the crown. There are very few things our planet can throw at it to get rid of the polymer. It becomes bendy and rippy and shredy but it just won’t go away. When you compound the resilience of this headstrong material with the sheer quantities of it that we dump into the oceans, it looks like a pretty one-sided battle that nature can’t win, despite all our desperate efforts to increase recycling and take it out of landfills.

But now it seems that mother nature still had a trick up her sleeve, and the non-biodegradable reign of plastic is about to come to an end, undermined by the heroic appetite of the mealworm.

Animals, Environment, News

New Zealand to make world’s largest ocean sanctuary

Image via Wiki Commons.

Further increasing their conservation efforts, New Zealand will develop the world’s largest oceanic sanctuary – twice as big as their entire country.

Animals, Climate, News

King crabs warm up to invade Antarctica

Scientists estimate there may be 1.5 million king crabs in the Palmer Deep basin. Image: mercopress

Enticed by warming waters, king crabs might soon make a run for Antarctica’s continental shelf where they haven’t been seen for at least 10 million years. As such, the fragile wildlife comprised of creatures like sea stars, sea worms, sponges, sea anemones, sea lilies and feather stars – all lacking protection against the crushing claws of the king crab – could face rapid annihilation.

Animals, Biology, News

First biofluorescent reptile found is a ‘glowing’ neon red turtle

biofluorescent turtle

“Hey, what did you find” “We found a bio-florescent turtle!”, a researcher triumphantly declared. David Gruber, a biologist at City University of New York, and colleagues made the find while diving in the Solomon Islands this July. Previously, researchers have found ever growing evidence of bio-luminescence and bio-fluorescence in the animal kingdom, from coral to seahorses, but this was the first time anyone has laid sight on a glowing reptile.

Animals, News

One of the rarest animals, the Andean Cat, photographed in majestic beauty

Andean Cat

Endemic to Andes Mountains of Chile, Argentina, Bolivia and Peru, the Andean Cat is one elusive feline. It’s only been sighted a couple times in the wild, let alone photographed. Some researchers were lucky though after their camera traps photographed a gem: an adult and her kitten.