Animal Life news stories

On the Banks of the Jordan River, Neanderthals Ate Turtles 60,000 years ago
23rd September 2017 | haaretz.com | Ancient, Animal Life

On a lush lakeshore in northern Israel 60,000 years ago, prehistoric hunter-gatherers were augmenting their diet of giant aurochs, deer, and weeds with smelly freshwater turtles, archaeologists have discovered.

Fly Away Home? Ice Age May Have Clipped Birds’ Migrations
23rd September 2017 phys.org | Animal Life, Earth

The onset of the last ice age may have forced some bird species to abandon their northerly migrations for thousands of years, says new research led by a University of Nebraska-Lincoln ornithologist.  Published in the journal Science Advances, the study challenges a long-held presumption that birds merely shortened their migratory flights when glaciers advanced south to cover much of North America and northern Europe about 21,000 years ago.

Humpback Whale Drags Fishing Trap More Than 1,700 km (1,056 miles) Before Beaching, Dying
23rd September 2017 | abc.net.au | Animal Life

A humpback whale, which died on a New South Wales mid-north coast beach, had dragged a fishing trap and ropes more than 1,700 kilometres (1056 miles) from Tasmania before it met its end. Officials estimated that it had been entangled for more than a year.

Klondike Goldminer Makes Rare Discovery of Extinct Musk Ox Skull
23rd September 2017 | cbc.ca | Ancient, Animal Life

A placer gold miner in the Yukon’s Klondike region has found a rare-for-the-Yukon helmeted muskox skull and horns.  Helmeted musk ox are much more common in the southern US.  The skull will be radiocarbon dated to determine its age, but one expert guesses it’s around 25,000 years old.

Extraordinary New Cave Animal Found in Eastern Turkmenistan
22nd September 2017 phys.org | Animal Life

A remote cave in Eastern Turkmenistan was found to shelter a marvelous cave-adapted inhabitant that turned out to represent a species and genus new to science. This new troglodyte is the first of its order from Central Asia, and the first strictly subterranean terrestrial creature recorded in the country.

Quest to Build Forest Island Sanctuary for Rare Albino Orangutan
21st September 2017 | dailymail.co.uk | Animal Life

Five-year-old Alba, believed to be the only albino orangutan alive in the world, was rescued from Borneo after becoming separated from her mother. She has poor eyesight and hearing, as well as an increased likelihood of cancer. If $80,000 is raised, she could soon have her own 12-acre moat-enclosed ‘forest island’ to live out her days free from poaching.

Medieval Porpoise Grave on Channel Island Puzzles Archaeologists
21st September 2017 | theguardian.com | Ancient, Animal Life

Archaeologists digging at an island religious retreat have unearthed the remains of a porpoise that, mystifyingly, appears to have been carefully buried in its own medieval grave. The team believe the marine animal found on the island of Chapelle Dom Hue, off the west coast of Guernsey, was buried in the 14th century.

Evidence Found of One of the World’s Rarest Birds
21st September 2017 | ibtimes.co.uk | Animal Life

Until 2013, the night parrot had not been seen alive by a single human in more than 100 years.  John Young and Keith Bellchambers found a fresh feather of the elusive bird, considered to be one of the rarest in the world, in a zebra finch’s nest north of Kati Thanda, Lake Eyre, a remote lake in the state of South Australia.

Dinosaur Gets Strange Diagnosis 78 Million Years After its Death
20th September 2017 | livescience.com | Ancient, Animal Life

Researchers uncovered the unique fossils from a bone bed — basically, an accumulation of bones from different dinosaurs in one location — at Milk River Ridge Reservoir, an artificial lake in southern Alberta.  An adult duck-billed dinosaur, known as a hadrosaurid, had an inflammatory type of chronic arthritis known as spondyloarthropathy that attacks the spine and can cause the vertebrae to fuse together.

Meet Professor Littlejohn: a Frog-Recording Australian Bio-acoustics Pioneer
20th September 2017 | abc.net.au | Animal Life

In 1953, Murray Littlejohn was one of the first Australians to ask what frog calls really meant, and from that point he devoted his life to scientifically studying them. Professor Littlejohn worked in the field recording and analysing frog choruses right up until the year 2003, has been honoured in Australia and internationally for his work.  He even has two species of Australian amphibians named after him.

Mastodon Bones Discovered at Michigan Construction Site
19th September 2017 | detroitnews.com | Ancient, Animal Life

Workers found the bones Aug. 31 while excavating a road at a housing development in Byron Center, which is about 13 miles south of Grand Rapids .  A University of Michigan researcher said that the bones were the skeletal remains of a 20-30 year old male mastodon estimated to be around 10,000 years old.  Two or three such discoveries are made in Michigan a year, with most of the remains estimated to be between 11,000 to 15,000 years old.  The bones are being donated to the university.

SpaceX’s Dragon Cargo Capsule Splashes Down With Crew of Mouse-tronauts
19th September 2017 finance.yahoo.com | Animal Life, Space, Tech

SpaceX’s robotic Dragon capsule returned from the International Space Station, splashing down in the Pacific with more than 3,800 pounds of cargo and experiments, including a set of live mice that will be studied after their stint in zero gravity.  Once the mice are brought back to the lab, they’ll be euthanized and dissected for study.

Horseshoe Crabs: Ancient Arthropods that Save Lives
19th September 2017 | thoughtco.com | Animal Life

Horseshoe crabs are often called living fossils. These primitive arthropods have lived on earth for 360 million years, largely in the same form as they appear today. Despite their long history, the horseshoe crab’s existence is now threatened by human activities, including harvesting for medical research.

Social Media Helped Rescue Texas Longhorn Steer from Post-Flood Quagmire
18th September 2017 | littlethings.com | Animal Life, Humans, Tech

Samson, an iconic longhorn steer, is both a farm animal and beloved family pet in hurricane-ravaged Texas.  When he got stuck up to his neck in mud, social media pleas caused a whole community to band together and save his life.

Texas Has Called in the Air Force to Combat Post-Flood Mosquitoes
16th September 2017 | yahoo.com | Animal Life, Humans

Reuters reports that US Air Force C-130 cargo planes have sprayed insecticides over an area amounting to about 1.85 million acres across three eastern Texas counties. Insecticide-spraying trucks have also been dispatched nightly in afflicted areas of Houston since September 4.  The Air Force program will be extended further across Texas to lower the risk of several mosquito-borne diseases such as West Nile virus, Zika virus, equine encephalitis, yellow fever, and Dengue fever.

Hurricane Irma’s Tiniest Victims Are Getting Vital Help
16th September 2017 | huffingtonpost.com | Animal Life

Veterinarians at the South Florida Wildlife Center in Fort Lauderdale are working round-the-clock to provide lifesaving care to hundreds of injured and displaced animals in Hurricane Irma’s wake this week, even if it means providing care without total power and water.  Article contains a video clip of the team in action, as well as a link for charitable donations to the Humane Society.

News stories covering Animal Science, bacterial life, DNA.