Animals, News

U.S. Wildlife Service: We Won’t Protect Wild Horses

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has rejected a proposal to list North American wild horses as threatened or endangered, arguing that a horse is a horse, wild or tame, and proponents have failed to show how the behaviour of wild horses differs from that of domestic ones.   The number of North American wild stallions has been in steady decline for

Animals, News, Science

Climate change is reversing the sex of bearded dragons, a first

Dragon Lizard

Rising temperatures are fundamentally changing the way Australia’s bearded lizards get their gender. Basically, the lizard’s sex is not dependent on their genes as before, but on temperature. In time, the male chromosome could disappear, as more and more females are bred – the preferred sex. What this means is that if temperatures reach a critical level, then the lizards could become extinct due to lack of males. This has never happened before and it’s as scary, as it is interesting.

Animals, Biology, Geology

Saber-tooth cats grew their fangs faster than human fingernails

Skeleton of Smilodon (Smilodon fatalis). Exhibit in the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo, Japan.

Saber-tooth cats, the bane of early humans (and pretty much every creature that co-existed with them), roamed the Earth for 42 million years before going extinct at the end of the ice age. Now, a new study has found that their trademark teeth may have evolved later in their evolutionary stage, but when they grew, they grew fast. The saber-tooth cats were

Animals, News

400 Million Fewer Animals Were Killed for Food in 2014 Because People Eat Less Meat

Photo Credits: vegankit.com

Whether it’s Meatless Monday, Weekday Vegetarianism or simply cutting down meat consumption – people from developed countries are eating less meat, and it’s already making a difference. Even though some argue that cutting-back-consumption campaigns don’t push enough of a paradigm-shift, we’re already seeing the changes: 400 million animals were spared in the US alone in 2014 because people ate less meat. Some 93

Animals, Biology, News

Fish diversity took off once dinosaurs went extinct

Perch (Ray-Finned Bony Fish)

Today, ray-finned fish make up 99% of all fish species, but it wasn’t always like this. In an attempt to find out what triggered this spectacular multi-niche dominance, paleontologists traveled back in time sort of speak and analyzed ancient fossils to see what the fish diversity makeup looked like millions of years ago. Intriguing enough, the ray fish practically exploded in their diversity right after the last great mass extinction which occurred 65 million years ago. An asteroid impact wiped out thousands of species, including all dinosaurs. But there was now enough room for other creatures to take their place. On land, mammals started filling in the large-scale niches eventually reaching a dominant position. In the water, it was the ray-finned fish that seized the opportunity.

Animals, Offbeat

Meet Puka and Rocket Larry: The Unlikely Dog-Tortoise Friendly Duo

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You wouldn’t expect a dog and a turtle to be best friends, but as we’ve learned on the Internet, the animal kingdom can create some surprising friendship relationships. It all started when Christine Hilberg, a 29-year-old photography retoucher and animal Instagrammer rescued Puka, a 4-year-old mixed breed with a cleft lip from a homeless man in Los Angeles. She wanted to help

Animals, Biology, News

New firefly species from California discovered by undergrad student

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Despite what you might have seen or not seen, there are actually some fireflies living west of the Rocky Mountains, though they mostly keep to themselves and are rarely spotted by humans. Every once in a while, people spot some. This time, one undergrad who was busy insect hunting in the Los Angeles County hit the jackpot after he discovered a new firefly species.

Animals, Biology, News

Monarch butterfly populations went down 80% in 21 years

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A new study has found that monarch butterfly populations have went down at alarming rates in the past couple of decades, going down on average by 80%. In the forests of Mexico, they went down by as much as 90%.

Animals, Feature Post

Japanese women are going bananas after this ridiculously handsome gorilla

shabani gorill

In the last couple of months, Japanese women flocked in unusual numbers to the Higashiyama Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Japan to see the main attraction in the flesh: a western lowland gorilla named Shabani. Apparently, the young Japanese women are going crazy after the gorilla’s alleged good looks.

Animals, Genetics, News, World Problems

Tracing Ivory DNA helps curb massive poaching that’s killing 1 in 10 elephants each year

To keep the ivory from the black market, a plainclothes ranger hacks the tusks off a bull elephant killed illegally in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park. In the first half of this year six park rangers died protecting Kenya’s elephants; meanwhile, rangers killed 23 poachers. Photograph by Brent Stirton

We seem to be losing the war on elephant poachers, but a new toolset that involves tracing slaughter hotspots in Africa based on DNA taken from ivory might be exactly what law enforcement needed all these years. This way, researchers at University of Washington, in collaboration with INTERPOL, found that most of the ivory seized since 2006 originates in just two areas.