I think that was a female elephant, but I'm going to mention musth anyway because the Wikipedia article has this hilarious gem: "scientific investigation of musth is greatly hindered by the fact that, once under the influence of musth, even the most otherwise placid of elephants may actively try to kill any and all humans."
Oh yeah, and llamas make the same noises during sex as an ex-roommate of mine.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
A jellyfish invasion has wiped out Northern Ireland's only salmon farm, killing more than 100,000 fish.
A Northern Salmon spokesman said last week's attack could cost more than £1m.
Billions of small jellyfish, known as Mauve Stingers, flooded into the cages about a mile into the Irish Sea, off Glenarm Bay and Cushendun.
Like all things British, Pelagia Noctiluca are usually kind of boring. But damn, "the jellyfish covered an area of up to 10 square miles and a depth of 35 feet." Did they see it coming? Were there crowds of Irish people standing on the dock, horrified at the swarm of mauve stingers bearing down on them?
This is actually becoming a very large problem all over the world, likely spurred by a warming of the oceans and overfishing. We've eaten most of the fish, and since nature abhors a vacuum the jellies are quickly becoming our new oceanic overlords. Sea (lol) also:
Jellyfish Bloom on African Coast
Jellyfish Bloom Swamps British Coastline
Jellyfish Bloom in Japan
And yes, there's even an international symposium on jellyfish blooms.
Regardless of whether or not this will eventually doom us all (if rising sea levels don't first), jellyfish are amazing to look at. If you haven't seen this video of the lake full of jellyfish in Palau, it's worth checking out.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
The immense fossilised claw of a 2.5m-long (8ft) sea scorpion has been described by European researchers.
The 390-million-year-old specimen was found in a German quarry, the journal Biology Letters reports.
Eurypterids, otherwise known as sea scorpions, evolved about 500 million years ago and died out about 250 million later.
Turns out, ancient arthropods (think crabs, spiders, centipedes, insects) are fascinating. The largest today is the Japanese spider crab, which can have a leg span of up to four meters, but the body itself is only about 37cm. Compared to what was running around in the Devonian, that's peanuts.
Hundreds of millions of years ago, before the Mesozoic and the rise of the dinosaurs, the high levels of oxygen in the air allowed arthropods to grow to sizes that would scare the crap straight out of you. Since they don't have proper lungs like pretty much anything in the phylum chordata, the size that insects, crustaceans, arachnids etc can grow to is directly proportional to the amount of oxygen in the air. Which meant that you'd have to put up with Arthropleura, a three meter long millipede.
Here's a video of one being impaled! Also includes meter long dragonflies and a spider the size of your head.
Monday, November 19, 2007
Did you know there is only one way to tell the sex of a day old chicken? You have to examine its cloaca for a degenerate penis.
Over and over he scoops up a chick with his left hand, expels its droppings with a squeeze of his thumb, opens its vent with his fingers, peers through the magnifying lenses attached to his spectacles and determines its sex. Then he deposits the tiny bird in one of two bins. Two thousand vent sexes and a good day's work later, his hands and his shirt front are still immaculate. And if you buy sexed chicks from Lyle's employer, the sort is guaranteed 95% accurate.
Of course, it makes perfect sense that the Japanese came up with it.
Oh look! It's everyone's second favorite Discovery Channel host, Mike Rowe!
I don't know which I find more unsettling - that he calls a chicken vagina a "hidey-hole" or that he squeezes meconium onto the camera.
Want something more scholarly? You're in luck! >>
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
The turkeys started chasing kids and joggers down the street. Neighbors would laugh watching the lawyer or pediatrician who lived next door being chased by a gobbling mob of birds.
When it happens to you, it's much less amusing.
Turkeys take to cities, towns
BROOKLINE - On a recent afternoon, Kettly Jean-Felix parked her car on Beacon Street in Brookline, fed the parking meter, wheeled around to go to the optician and came face to face with a wild turkey.>>
The turkey eyed Jean-Felix. Jean-Felix eyed the turkey. It gobbled. She gasped. Then the turkey proceeded to follow the Dorchester woman over the Green Line train tracks, across the street, through traffic, and all the way down the block, pecking at her backside as she went.
Friday, November 9, 2007
The mating habits of Limax maximus [the great grey or leopard slug] are considered unusual among slugs — the hermaphrodite slugs court – usually for hours – by circling and licking each other. After this, the slugs will climb into a tree or other high area and then, entwined together, lower themselves on a thick string of mucus, evert their white translucent mating organs (penises) from their gonopores (openings on the right side of the head), entwine these organs, and exchange sperm. Both participants will later lay hundreds of eggs. The tiny slugs emerging from the eggs need at least two years to reach sexual maturity.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Whoa! I've been busy as hell lately! I know you haven't gotten quite as much ridiculous animal nonsense lately, and I apologize. Moving on, let's take a look at the oldest clam in the universe.
Ming the clam is 'oldest animal'
A clam dredged up off the coast of Iceland is thought to have been the longest-lived animal discovered.
Scientists said the mollusc, an ocean quahog clam, was aged between 405 and 410 years and could offer insights into the secrets of longevity.
The scientists, being soulless murderers, promptly killed the clam. Seriously.
Did you know the largest species of clam is Tridacna gigas? They can grow up to five hundred pounds! I bet they're delicious, too. Look at how big this clam is!
Incidentally, the clam in that picture is actually giving birth. To thousands upon thousands of other monstrous clams. Watch your back, people. >>
Monday, November 5, 2007
Sunday, November 4, 2007
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
It can run for hours at 20 metres per minute without getting tired.It lives longer, has more sex, and eats more without gaining weight. Could the science that created this supermouse be applied to humans?
Scientists have been astounded by the creation of a genetically modified "supermouse" with extraordinary physical abilities – comparable to the performance of the very best athletes – raising the prospect that the discovery may one day be used to transform people's capacities.
Well damn, now that they've created this monstrosity we don't really have any choice but to apply this to humans. Lest we see Hitchhiker's Guide become a reality. Though then again, they're comparing him to Lance Armstrong - maybe we should really fear cyclists.
Hopefully, this video of a Vietnamese Centipede tearing a mouse to shreds will make you feel better. No, I don't either.
I love that they named him "Father Christmas" (it's in the youtube description). >>