Maybe he smells a relative on the keyboard?
This video shows Koshik, a 22-year-old male Asian elephant, imitating Korean words by putting his trunk in his mouth to modulate his sound. A study of Koshik’s vocalizations (he can imitate five words) appears in the latest issue of Current Biology. The researchers hypothesize that spending seven of his formative years as the only elephant at Everland, a South Korean theme park, led Koshik to mimic the speech of the animals he did spend time with: humans.
First, it was an elephant seen on Mars, now anomaly hunters have spotted a 1.5 mile long, 1/2 mile wide and 750 feet tall parrot. Did these researchers fall and hit their heads? Does this journal publish stuff wil-y nilly? Dare we call it parrotdolia?
A new paper claims this is not a Rorschach test for the extraterrestrially challenged, but an anatomically correct, three-dimensional rendering of a parrot on Mars that is too accurate for chance.
So concludes an independent team of two geologists, three veterinarians and a sculptor — who spent six years hashing out the details of three images from NASA’s now-defunct Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft taken between April 2000 and December 2005.
In one of the deadliest poaching massacres in decades, at least 200 elephants were killed at Bouba N’Djida National Park in northeastern Cameroon, the Associated Press reports. That’s at least half of the elephants at the remote wildlife reserve.
According to the World Wildlife Fund, the poachers have been arriving on horseback over the past few months, likely from Sudan and Chad. In the latest incident, soldiers arrived at the park but found they were too late — not to mention too few. One soldier reportedly died in the clash as Cameroonian forces attempted to deter the poachers. The remaining soldiers confiscated 49 tusks, indicating that 25 elephants had been killed in the ongoing massacre. The WWF and the European Union had been pressuring Cameroon’s government to take action, prompting the west African nation to send 150 soldiers to the park on March 1.
(PHOTOS: Elephants of Asia)
The increase in poaching has been triggered by growing demand for ivory in China and Thailand, where the tusks are smuggled largely to make ornaments. Under an international treaty to protect elephant populations, most countries have banned ivory sales. But as more and more Chinese middlemen arrive in Africa, illegal trade has only expanded.
The poachers responsible for the massacre in Cameroon have arrived heavily armed, often accompanied by herds of cattle and camels. They’ve moved to Cameroon after wiping out elephant populations in Chad and Central African Republic. WWF officials had long warned the Cameroonian government to better prepare itself as the poaching escalated over the past few years
A mysterious bony growth found in elephants’ feet is actually a sixth “toe”, scientists report.
For more than 300 years, the structure has puzzled researchers, but this study suggests that it helps to support elephants’ colossal weight.
Fossils reveal that this “pre-digit” evolved about 40 million years ago, at a point when early elephants became larger and more land-based.
The research is published in the journal Science.
Lead author Professor John Hutchinson, from the UK’s structure and motion laboratory at the Royal Veterinary College, said: “It’s a cool mystery that goes back to 1706, when the first elephant was dissected by a Scottish surgeon.”
Many people, he said, thought that the structure was a huge lump of cartilage, and over the years its purpose or lack of purpose has been debated.
“Anyone who has studied elephants’ feet has wondered about it. They’ve thought: ‘Huh, that’s weird,’ and then moved on,” he added.
But Prof Hutchinson and colleagues used a combination of CT scans, histology, dissection and electron microscopy to solve the puzzle.
The researchers said the structure was made of bone, although bone with a highly irregular and unusual arrangement.
But closer examination also revealed that it showed a strong similarity with an unusual bone that is found in the front feet of pandas.