Tag Archives | Zoology

Brazil To Clone Animals In Danger Of Extinction

After our planet’s climate drastically changes, the wildlife of today will exist in cloned form in tomorrow’s zoos, Inter Press Service reports:

Brazilian scientists are attempting to clone animals in danger of extinction, like the jaguar and maned wolf, although the potential impact on the conservation of these threatened species is still not clear.

The cloning initiative is being undertaken by the Brasilia Zoological Garden in partnership with the Brazilian government’s agricultural research agency, EMBRAPA, and is now in its second phase. “We already have 420 germplasm samples stored in our bank and are going to continue collecting,” [said] EMBRAPA researcher Carlos Frederico Martins.

Eight animals have been chosen, including the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), the jaguar (Panthera onca) and the black lion tamarin (Leontopithecus chrysopygus). The bank has also been stocked with germplasm from the bush dog (Speothos venaticus), coati (genus Nasua), collared anteater (Tamandua tetradactyla), gray brocket deer (Mazama gouazoubira) and bison (genus Bison).

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Did Prehistoric Giant Squids Make Art From Bones?

octoIt sounds completly crazy. But it’s what a group of paleontologists are claiming — the first sentient beings on Earth to create art may not have been humans, but monstrously large, tentacled sea creatures called “kraken” who lived 200 million years ago and possibly arranged bones in geometric, decorative patterns. io9 explains further:

For decades, paleontologists have puzzled over a fossil collection of nine Triassic icthyosaurs (Shonisaurus popularis) discovered in Nevada’s Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park. Researchers initially thought that this strange grouping of 45-foot-long marine reptiles had either died en masse from a poisonous plankton bloom or had become stranded in shallow water.

But recent geological analysis of the fossil site indicates that the park was deep underwater when these shonisaurs swam the prehistoric seas. So why were their bones laid in such a bizarre pattern? A new theory suggests that a 100-foot-long cephalopod arranged these bones as a self-portrait after drowning the reptiles.

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Cryptozoology Meeting In London

ZSL-crypto-composite-June-2011-490-pxCan the search for monsters and mystery creatures please become a reputable branch of science? Scientific American has a report on a meeting of experts who take the matter very seriously. Maybe they can investigate my mother-in-law (*slide whistle*):

The meeting was chaired by Henry Gee. Henry explained how the discovery of Homo floresiensis led him to take seriously the idea that “perhaps stories of other human-like creatures might be founded on grains of truth” (Gee 2004).

Dr. Michael Woodley showed how species discovery curves for large marine animals generally seem to match the numbers of undiscovered species purported to exist on the basis of circumstantial accounts. In discussing several key ‘Cadborosaurus’ and long-necked seal accounts, Michael also explained how – since most cryptozoological claims are published in the ‘grey literature’ – they escape evaluation, even when this is deserved or even required.

If cryptozoology is imagined as the investigation of ‘target’ animals whose existence is supported by circumstantial and/or anecdotal evidence (eyewitness accounts forming the bulk of such evidence), then one might argue (as I have) that cryptozoology is practised far and wide by ‘ordinary’, technically qualified biologists.

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Meet Kenny, An Inbred White Tiger (Photos)

KennyVia Prose Before Hos:
Kenny is a white tiger ‘selectively’ inbred while in captivity in the United States. As zoo’s and exotic pet stores have increased the demand for white tigers, breeders have attempted to recreate the ideal white tiger — large snout, blue eyes, white fur — through relying on a limited pool of captive white tigers. The result? An astoundingly high rate of deformities and health issues. For example, Kenny is mentally retarded and has significant physical limitations.
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Deadly Cobra Escapes Bronx Zoo

2962457883_9b5ccdb02fA poisonous Egyptian cobra slipped out of its cage this weekend, the New York Daily News reports. By this time, it may have caught a downtown 6 train to Greenwich Village or elsewhere, possibly taking the connecting ferry to Staten Island.

A 20-inch cobra slithered out of its cage in the Bronx Zoo Saturday, forcing the exhibit to close while workers searched for the venomous serpent, officials said.

The adolescent Egyptian cobra went missing from an off-exhibit enclosure sometime in the afternoon and zookeepers quickly closed off the Reptile House, officials said.

Workers canvassed the building, eying several closed-in spaces that the reptile would naturally be drawn to coil inside, officials said.

The snake – native to Africa and the Arabian Peninsula – was not recovered Saturday night, officials said.

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Two-Headed Calf Born in Armenia (Video)

Two Headed CalfVia Armenian News (NEWS.am)
On January 25, at 10:00 a.m. a two-headed calf was born in Sotk village, Gegharkunik region of Armenia in the cowhouse of Hakob and Alina Avetyans. Hakob is an electrician and his spouse is a housewife. The couple has been living together for 25 years and has been engaged in livestock breeding for 20 years. According to Avetyans, the cow gave birth to a calf with a difficulty. The calf is fed artificially 3 times a day. According to local veterinarians, if the calf lives three days, there will not be life threats. They stressed the animal has gender characteristics of both sexes.
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Virgin Birth Discovered in Boa Constrictors

Boa Constrictor

"Virgin born" boa constrictor. Photo: Warren Booth.

Does this mean Jesus can now return as the Serpent? Good sense of humor, Almighty. Charles Q. Choi writes in Live Science:

For the first time, scientists have discovered a boa constrictor that reproduces by virgin birth.

Intriguingly, these giant female serpents only gave birth in this fatherless manner in years when males were present, researchers added.

Asexual reproduction is common among invertebrates (animals without backbones), and is rare in vertebrates, but not unknown. For instance, the komodo dragon, the world’s largest living lizard, has given birth via parthenogenesis, in which an unfertilized egg develops to maturity.

Scientists investigated a female boa constrictor at the Boa Store in Sneedville, Tenn., an online store that sells captive-bred boa constrictors. The female had given birth to litters of young this year and last. These offspring were all female and, unusually, were all caramel in color like their mother.

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‘Charlie the Smoking Chimp’ Dies from Old Age, At 52

Charlie The Smoking ChimpVia Reuters:
JOHANNESBURG — A chimpanzee once hooked on smoking by visitors offering it cigarettes has died at a South African zoo at the relatively advanced age of 52, officials said on Wednesday. "He appears to have died of old age," said municipal spokesman Qondile Khedama. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the exact cause of death. "Charlie the smoking chimp" used to put two fingers to his mouth to mimic smoking and reach out with his other hand to bum cigarette butts from visitors at Bloemfontein Zoo. But when videos of him puffing away circulated globally a few years ago, zoo officials moved to cut off the supply of smokes. The nickname stuck even though the cigarette habit faded. The life expectancy for chimps in the wild is about 15 years and only 7 percent of wild chimps live past 40, a Harvard University report published in 2007 said.
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Turtles Could Hold the Secret to Human Immortality

TurtlesInteresting article from Alasdair Wilkins on io9.com:

All animals eventually grow old and die. It’s an inevitable fact of life — except when it isn’t. Some animals, like tortoises and lobsters, never grow old, and learning their secrets could let humans live as long as they want.

For most animals, there are three basic ways they can die: disease, injury, or old age, which is also called senescence. But a select few species are seemingly immune from aging itself, a phenomenon known as negligible senescence. The gradual accumulation of cellular damage and degradation that will eventually kill other animals (including us) slows to a virtual standstill, prolonging the life — and, in fact, the youth — of any animal lucky enough to be negligibly senescent.

Tortoises are the most famous negligibly senescent animals. An Aldabra giant tortoise named Adwaita was thought to be 255 years old when he died in 2006, and carbon dating of his shell confirmed that he really had been born around 1750.

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Is This How the ‘Planet of the Apes’ Begins? Wild Chimps Outwit Human Hunters

POTAGreat, now all we need is some virus to kill all the cats and dogs on the planet, so we start taking primates as household pets and they become smarter. Thanks scientists for helping to create our eventual Ape Overlords. Slippery slope, real slippery slope. Matt Walker writes on BBC Earth News:

Across Africa, people often lay snare traps to catch bushmeat, killing or injuring chimps and other wildlife. But a few chimps living in the rainforests of Guinea have learnt to recognise these snare traps laid by human hunters, researchers have found.

More astonishing, the chimps actively seek out and intentionally deactivate the traps, setting them off without being harmed.

The discovery was serendipitously made by primatologists Mr Gaku Ohashi and Professor Tetsuro Matsuzawa who were following chimps living in Bossou, Guinea to study the apes’ social behaviour.

Snare injuries to chimps are reported at many sites across east and west Africa where chimps are studied, with many animals dying in the traps.

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