Animal Life news stories

Evolution: The Beneficiaries of Mass Extinction
13th October 2017 | heritagedaily.com | Ancient, Animal Life

Mass extinctions were followed by periods of low diversity in which certain new species dominated wide regions of the supercontinent Pangaea, reports a new study.

How Animals and Plants Weather Hurricanes
13th October 2017 | the-scientist.com | Animal Life, Earth

Hurricane Maria decimated Puerto Rico. With sustained winds of 155 miles per hour, much of the US territory has been without power for weeks. Many residents lack running water, hospitals have been limping along on backup generators, and the island’s agriculture has been essentially flattened. The toll on local wildlife remains far from appreciated, but it’s clear from Maria and other hurricanes that some animal populations suffer from big storms—while others thrive.

Japanese Coastal Critters Make Epic Voyages After Tsunami
13th October 2017 | the-scientist.com | Animal Life, Earth

Marine species survived rafting thousands of kilometers on debris swept into the water by the giant wave off Japan in 2011, scientists say.  Having traversed roughly 7,000 kilometers across the Pacific, the material carried with it living animals from 289 Japanese coastal marine species.

Dutch Company Training Crows to Trade Littered Cigarette Butts for Treats
13th October 2017 | dailymail.co.uk | Animal Life, Earth, Tech

Worldwide, about 4.5 trillion cigarettes are littered on streets each year.  A Dutch company is training crows to drop cigarette butts in a ‘Crowbar,’ which scans the item to confirm it’s a cigarette butt, and then gives the crow a food reward to reinforce the behavior.

Influx of Rare and Spectacular Moths is Heading to Britain
12th October 2017 | telegraph.co.uk | Animal Life

Britain is in for an influx of rare and spectacular moths over the next few days as warm continental weather draws hungry insects looking for ivy to feed on.  The scarce Silver-Striped Hawk-Moth and Radford’s Flame Shoulder have already been seen in recent days but are likely to be joined by species such as the giant Convolvulus Hawk-Moth and Hummingbird Hawk-Moth.

A Moorish Palace in Florida Houses an Ancient Egyptian Sacred Cat Rug
12th October 2017 | atlasobscura.com | Ancient, Animal Life, Weird

Of all the oddities in St. Augustine, Florida, the Moorish Alhambra palace-inspired Villa Zorayda Museum may possess the oddest.  Legend holds that a mummified foot wrapped in a rug was acquired from a pyramid in Egypt sometime prior to 1913.  The rug itself, which depicts a large stylized feline much like an African wildcat is on display inside the castle. Experts determined the textile to be over 2,400 years old, making it arguably one of the oldest rugs in the world.  An examination of the rug confirmed that it is woven entirely from cat hair.

230 Polar Bears Feast on Dead Bowhead Whale Carcass in Siberia
11th October 2017 | sciencealert.com | Animal Life

What at first appeared to be a flock of sheep turned out to be at least 230 of the animals converged on the carcass of a beached bowhead whale on the northern coast of Siberia to feast on the bounty.

Efforts to Save the Last Saola from Extinction in Vietnam
10th October 2017 phys.org | Animal Life

The saola (Pseudoryx nghetinhensis), a primitive wild cattle endemic to the Annamite mountain range in Vietnam and Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), is in immediate danger of extinction. The primary threat to its survival is intensive commercial snaring to supply the thriving wild meat trade in Indochina. In order to save the saola, it is essential to establish a conservation breeding programme.

Backyard Critters Get Celebrity Treatment with Glam Photoshoots
10th October 2017 | newscientist.com | Animal Life

This is how to give the bugs, birds and bees in your backyard a celebrity makeover. With glamorous photo shoots on brilliantly lit but plain white backdrops, the Meet Your Neighbours project plucks these beasts from obscurity and gives them the star treatment.

Lord Howe Island Tree Lobster Insect Not Extinct After All
10th October 2017 news.nationalgeographic.com | Animal Life

After a ship wrecked on Lord Howe Island in Australia, a rat population invaded and eradicated a species of giant stick insect—or so researchers thought.  For decades the insect, also known as a tree lobster, appeared to be extinct, but new DNA research reveals that may not be the case.

Tasmanian Shy Albatross Embrace Artificial Nests in Bid to Boost Population
9th October 2017 | theguardian.com | Animal Life

The Tasmanian Shy Albatross has embraced the idea of settling down in a specially constructed artificial nest, according to scientists who are trying to boost the population of the endangered seabirds.  They reproduce only on three remote islands in Bass Straight, and are listed as vulnerable with just 1,500 breeding pairs remaining

Conservation of Olive Ridley Sea Turtles in Costa Rica
8th October 2017 | theguardian.com | Animal Life

Olive ridley turtles, like all marine turtles, are threatened with extinction because of us. The natural world is reeling from our global impact, and for turtles, like so many other species, it’s only getting worse. What does it really matter if we lose a bunch of animals we hardly even see?  Humanity’s relationship with the natural world is a complicated one – to understand our current extinction pattern, we need to look at the way our human lives and livelihoods, as well as our desires and motivations, are enmeshed within the complex global environment.

Time Running Out for Puerto Rico’s Monkey Island, Devastated by Hurricane Maria
8th October 2017 | telegraph.co.uk | Animal Life

A monkey sanctuary in Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico used by scientists for decades to conduct groundbreaking evolutionary research has been completely devastated by Hurricane Maria.  A colony of 1000 rhesus macaques, many of whom survived the storm, are in dire need of food and water after the island’s vegetation and freshwater have been destroyed.

Trained US Navy Dolphins Help Capture Mexican Vaquitas to Save Them From Extinction
7th October 2017 | the-scientist.com | Animal Life

A quartet of female bottlenose dolphins—Andrea, Fathom, Katrina, and Splash—and their trainers will use their sea mine-finding skills to capture endangered vaquita porpoises in the Gulf of California. The goal is to gently herd the last of the devastated population of smaller Mexican vaquitas into a protected pen.  Only about 30 of them exist in the wild.

How to Feed an Invading Army Thousands of Miles From Home
7th October 2017 phys.org | Ancient, Animal Life

Conquering Romans relied on resources from near and far to sustain their forces at the legionary fortress Caerleon against the native tribes in Wales, according to new research by Cardiff University archaeologists.

Giving Dead Animals a Second Life: The Art of Skeleton Articulation
6th October 2017 | smithsonianmag.com | Ancient, Animal Life

Smithsonian article focusing on the team who reassembled the 100 year old blue whale skeleton in its new home in London this past January.  Flexibility is required alongside creativity, because manipulating large skeletons requires cleverly constructed metal and wire frames. Expert DeRoos has his experience in construction and can apply those skills to his new articulation work. He compares it to being an engineer and finding the most elegant solutions to problems of display.

News stories covering Animal Science, bacterial life, DNA.