We’ve known that most critters try to avoid power lines, but until recently, scientists were pretty much in the dark when it came to why. Now, it turns out that to animals, power lines and pylons look like terrifying bands of glowing, flashing bursts of light.
This revelation came about as the result of a recent study on wild reindeer in Norway. Apparently, reindeer’s eyes are able to detect ultraviolet light, which means they can see when power lines give off flashes of UV light—a phenomenon human eyes are completely blind to. What’s more, for those sensitive to it, these ultraviolet bursts are even visible in total darkness.
Published in 1844, the Atlas de Zoologie: ou collection de 100 planches contains illustrations of a number of creatures, some of which no longer walk this planet. Among those are thylacines — striped, carnivorous marsupials that went extinct when the last known specimen died in a Tasmanian zoo in 1936.
There’s also a glorious dodo bird, though it’s not immediately clear why, since these birds died out at least a century before the book’s publication.
We live with the illusion that the animal rights movement is gaining ground because there are more vegans, more alternatives to animals in research, better laws, more no-kill shelters, etc. Yet the truth is, our planet is undergoing the Holocene or Sixth Extinction—the mass extinction of nonhuman species caused by human population growth as well as increased consumption and pollution, where the rate of extinction is estimated to be 100-1000 times higher than without human influence. Two-time Pulitzer Prize winner E.O. Wilson predicts that 30,000 species per year (or three species per hour) go extinct—at the current rate, one-half of what he terms Earth’s higher life forms will be extinct by 2100. It is a Meatrix-style delusion to say there is a mounting “animal rights movement” while we wipe other species from the planet. If we dispel our illusion the way Leo did our lesson will be clear: we must liberate, rather than eliminate, the nonhuman world.
One recent study of 114 nations found that human population density predicted with 88-percent accuracy the number of endangered birds and mammals. Current trends indicate that the number of threatened and endangered species will increase as human population skyrockets to 8 billion by 2020, and 9 to 15 billion by 2050. And yet few if any animal organizations truly address human population growth or consumption, leaving these issues instead to environmentalists for whom population is also a taboo word. Peter Singer is considered by many to be the father of the modern animal rights movement but he himself had three children roughly at a time when projections showed that having three children on average would increase the world population to 256 billion humans in a mere 150 years.
Apparently life imitates a video game. I wonder how many pigs they’ve killed by crashing into their castles! LOL!
They are real! pic.twitter.com/dH3DLCCKz4
For those of you who haven’t actually heard of Angry Birds
Kristian Sjøgren over at Science Nordic reports on an amazing discovery that seems to contradict what we thought we knew about the origins of animals.
A new Danish study of one of the oldest animals on the planet - a small sea sponge - shows that there is a big gap in the theory of how animal life arose on Earth.
Scientists have so far believed that animal life only became possible when the oxygen content of the atmosphere rose dramatically just over half a billion years ago. This was the second of two major rises of atmospheric oxygen in Earth’s history.
However, the new study shows that oxygen was not the limiting factor for the evolution of animal life. The earliest animal life could get by with much less oxygen than there was in the atmosphere even before this rise.
This is something people, including myself, have been thinking about for a long time.
Representative diverse origins of multicellularity are shown on a highly redacted and unrooted phylogenetic diagram of the major eukaryotic clades …
Credit: Courtesy of Karl Niklas.
In the beginning there were single cells. Today, many millions of years later, most plants, animals, fungi, and algae are composed of multiple cells that work collaboratively as a single being. Despite the various ways these organisms achieved multicellularity, their conglomeration of cells operate cooperatively to consume energy, survive, and reproduce. But how did multicellularity evolve? Did it evolve once or multiple times? How did cells make the transition from life as a solo cell to associating and cooperating with other cells such that they work as a single, cohesive unit?
One of the classic images from evolutionary theory is of two males smashing each other up to compete for the chance to fertilize a female. Scientists have spent over a century studying this kind of male competition, but new discoveries reveal that competition between females is just as important.
Dogs respond better to robots behaving in a social manner than those acting passively, according to Hungarian researchers. The study of 41 dogs provides important insights into the mental processes of living creatures.
In one encounter, which took place Wednesday, Sept. 18, three bears followed a woman hiking alone, according to the DEC. The woman made several attempts to scare the animals away, but they continued to follow her. One bear, in particular, got very close to the woman near Stephens Pond.
“Feeling threatened she stabbed the bear with a knife,” according to a DEC statement.
Many of us love to hike, some parting words of wisdom:
If approached by a bear, do not run - stand tall, wave you hands over your head and to your sides, yell and clap hands,” the DEC said in statement. “If the bear doesn’t move off (throw) rocks, sticks or other objects. Do not throw food or objects containing food.
Also, don’t club the bear with a baguette or bean them with a muffin.
You won’t believe your eyes. Lots more at link, including many links to other art in non-traditional media.
Lauren Ryan is an American artist that creates incredibly lifelike animals out of nothing more than pipe cleaners. A pipe cleaner or chenille stem is a type of brush originally intended for removing moisture and residue from smoking pipes. While they have many practical applications, they are also very popular for use in arts and crafts.
Ryan has taken their artistic usage to new levels with her amazingly detailed and lifelike sculptures. You can find many more on her blog Chenille Stems.