Tag Archives | Animals

Beaver Attacks And Pulls Man Off Of A Kayak

718px-Beaver_(CC)I’d say that this was like something out of a Roger Corman movie, but I think even he has his limits. Apparently, nature does not.

Rochester, N.Y. – A beaver jumped out of Irondequoit Creek and attacked a man in a kayak, knocking him into the water last Tuesday.

The victim, Michael Cavanaugh of Lima, N.Y. is recovering after being treated in the hospital for bite wounds on his back and deep puncture wounds on his arm. He is also being treated for rabies as a precaution.

BayCreek Paddling Center trainer Nate Reynolds saw part of the attack.

“I heard my name called out from the shop and I ran out the door to see a guy getting pulled into the water,” Reynolds said, describing the attack. “It was like watching a horror film.”

Reynolds said Cavanaugh was able to get to his feet and approach the dock, but the beaver would not let go of him, so Reynolds hit the beaver with a nearby paddle several times.

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Twenty-Eight Acts of Fellatio Observed Between Bears Dwelling In Sanctuary

412px-Black_bear_largeTwenty-eight? That’s a very specific number. Wonder whose job it was to count bear blow jobs?

[This space intentionally left blank for your own "bear" joke.]

The club of fellatio-loving animals just gained a new member: bears.

Scientists have observed a pair of male brown bears in captivity in Croatia that regularly engaged in oral sex over several years. While the creatures in this case study likely do it for pleasure, their fellatio habits might have started because they were forced to wean too early, the researchers suspect.

The two, unrelated male bears in the study were orphaned soon after they were born in 2003 and put in captivity at a sanctuary in Kuterevo, Croatia. Over the course of six years and 116 hours of observation time, scientists led by Agnieszka Sergiel, of the Polish Academy of Sciences’ Department of Wildlife Conservation, witnessed 28 acts of fellatio between the two male bears.

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Rats Can Feel Regret, Says Scientists

"I regret nothing." (Pic-Joanna Servaes.)

“I regret nothing.” (Pic-Joanna Servaes cc)

Sounds like it’s about time we get an apology for bubonic plague, then.

New research from the Department of Neuroscience at the University of Minnesota reveals that rats show regret, a cognitive behavior once thought to be uniquely and fundamentally human.

Research findings were recently published in Nature Neuroscience.

To measure the cognitive behavior of regret, A. David Redish, Ph.D., a professor of neuroscience in the University of Minnesota Department of Neuroscience, and Adam Steiner, a graduate student in the Graduate Program in Neuroscience, who led the study, started from the definitions of regret that economists and psychologists have identified in the past.

“Regret is the recognition that you made a mistake, that if you had done something else, you would have been better off,” said Redish. “The difficult part of this study was separating regret from disappointment, which is when things aren’t as good as you would have hoped.

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Chernobyl’s Exclusion Zone ‘Perfect Habitat’ For Studying Effects of Radiation on Living Things

PIC: Antanana (CC)

PIC: Antanana (CC)

The Huffington Post reports on the uncertain outcome for flora and fauna living in Chernoby’s Exclusion Zone.

via 28 Years Later, The Animals Of Chernobyl Have Reclaimed Their Homeland… At A Price.

In 1986, an explosion at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant led to the single worst nuclear accident in history. For nearly three decades, humans have been barred from living within 1,000 square miles surrounding the reactor, allowing plants and animals to reclaim their native home… but all may not be well.

A new report from The New York Times chronicles the work of Dr. Timothy Mousseau, a biologist at the University of South Carolina, and his research into the impacts of chronic radiation on Ukraine’s native flora and fauna.

The scientist has been traveling within Chernobyl’s Exclusion Zone — what he calls “the perfect area for biological studies” in the video above — since 1999, measuring population levels of various species, changes in tree growth and an increased frequency in tumors and physical abnormalities in everything from songbirds to beetles.

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Dogs Poop In Line With Earth’s Magnetic Field

dogsAre other species engaging in advanced behaviors related to Earth’s magnetic field to which we are oblivious? Will humanity’s pooping without regard to planet-level electromagnetic fluctuations eventually be our undoing? Motherboard writes:

A team of Czech and German researchers found that dogs actually align themselves with the Earth’s magnetic field when they poop.

The researchers measured the direction of the body axis of dogs during 1,893 defecations and 5,582 urinations over the course of two years, and found that dogs “prefer to excrete with the body being aligned along the North-south axis under calm magnetic field conditions.”

It is still enigmatic why the dogs do align, whether they do it ‘consciously’ (i.e., whether the magnetic field is sensorial perceived (the dogs ‘see,’ ‘hear’ or ‘smell’ the direction) or whether its reception is controlled on the vegetative level (they ‘feel better/more comfortable or worse/less comfortable’ in a certain direction). Dogs not only prefer N-S direction, but at the same time they also avoid E-W direction.

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Glow-In-The-Dark Pigs Birthed Using Jellyfish DNA

Introducing what is sure to be this year's must-have rave accessory. Via The Verge:
Scientists at the South China Agricultural University announced last week that they had successfully engineered 10 piglets that could glow green under black light. By using a technique pioneered by the University of Hawaii at Manoa School of Medicine, the researchers were able to isolate a fluorescent protein in jellyfish DNA and inject it into pig embryos. Turkish researchers were able to raise fluorescent rabbits with the University of Hawaii's technique earlier this year.  
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Panpsychism And The Universality of Consciousness

Screen Shot 2014-01-01 at 9.18.05 AM

i has a conscious

To what extent do animals share our sense of consciousness? Some of our Disinfonauts may enjoy this piece by Scientific American’s Cristoph Koch.

I grew up in a devout and practicing Roman Catholic family with Purzel, a fearless and high-energy dachshund. He, as with all the other, much larger dogs that subsequently accompanied me through life, showed plenty of affection, curiosity, playfulness, aggression, anger, shame and fear. Yet my church teaches that whereas animals, as God’s creatures, ought to be treated well, they do not possess an immortal soul. Only humans do. Even as a child, to me this belief felt intuitively wrong. These gorgeous creatures had feelings, just like I did. Why deny them? Why would God resurrect people but not dogs? This core Christian belief in human exceptionalism did not make any sense to me. Whatever consciousness and mind are and no matter how they relate to the brain and the rest of the body, I felt that the same principle must hold for people and dogs and, by extension, for other animals as well.

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The High Price of Cheap Meat: Shocking Animal Cruelty

Rolling Stone.

Rolling Stone.

Jann Wenner’s Rolling Stone occasionally delves deep into issues that most major publications would rather leave well alone. Case in point, its report on what it takes to provide America with cheap meat. Not for the faint of heart…

Sarah – let’s call her that for this story, though it’s neither the name her parents gave her nor the one she currently uses undercover – is a tall, fair woman in her midtwenties who’s pretty in a stock, anonymous way, as if she’d purposely scrubbed her face and frame of distinguishing characteristics. Like anyone who’s spent much time working farms, she’s functionally built through the thighs and trunk, herding pregnant hogs who weigh triple what she does into chutes to birth their litters and hefting buckets of dead piglets down quarter-mile alleys to where they’re later processed. It’s backbreaking labor, nine-hour days in stifling barns in Wyoming, and no training could prepare her for the sensory assault of 10,000 pigs in close quarters: the stench of their shit, piled three feet high in the slanted trenches below; the blood on sows’ snouts cut by cages so tight they can’t turn around or lie sideways; the racking cries of broken-legged pigs, hauled into alleys by dead-eyed workers and left there to die of exposure.

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Crocodiles And Alligators Use Tools

Dinets-et-al-2013-stick-displaying-in-Mugger-crocodile-600-px-tiny-Nov-2013-Darren-Naish-Tetrapod-ZoologyToday it’s sticks. Tomorrow? Well… let’s just say I’d throw away any alligator belts or boots you may have in your closet.

Via Scientific American:

As described by Dinets et al. (2013), Mugger crocodiles Crocodylus palustris in India and American alligators Alligator mississippiensis in the USA have both been observed to lie, partially submerged, beneath egret and heron colonies with sticks balanced across their snouts. Birds approach to collect the sticks for use in nest building and… well, let’s just say that it doesn’t end well for the birds. If the crocodylians really are using the sticks as bait to attract their bird prey, this is tool use, since the sticks are objects that are being employed for a specific function.

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