Posts tagged with zoology

2012’s Noteworthy Species Discovered"A roundup of species that made their scientific debut in 2012, and a few that said goodbye as well." [Article from The Scientist; photo is of the Lesula monkey - a newly discovered species of primate, from the Congo]

2012’s Noteworthy Species Discovered
"A roundup of species that made their scientific debut in 2012, and a few that said goodbye as well." [Article from The Scientist; photo is of the Lesula monkey - a newly discovered species of primate, from the Congo]

2 notes

rhamphotheca:

Profiles in Parthenogenesis or “Virgin Birth”:  
Boa constrictor (Boa constrictor)
Until 2010, boas were thought to only reproduce sexually. But when a female boa produced several all-female litters that carried a rare genetic mutation, scientists from North Carolina State University in Raleigh performed a DNA fingerprint analysis. Although the genetic studies indicated that the female offspring were the result of parthenogenesis, researchers have yet to untangle the cellular factors that explain how and why this happened.
(via: Science NOW)                              (photo: Tom Brakefield)

rhamphotheca:

Profiles in Parthenogenesis or “Virgin Birth”:  

Boa constrictor (Boa constrictor)

Until 2010, boas were thought to only reproduce sexually. But when a female boa produced several all-female litters that carried a rare genetic mutation, scientists from North Carolina State University in Raleigh performed a DNA fingerprint analysis. Although the genetic studies indicated that the female offspring were the result of parthenogenesis, researchers have yet to untangle the cellular factors that explain how and why this happened.

(via: Science NOW)                              (photo: Tom Brakefield)

73 notes

rhamphotheca:

Profiles in Parthenogenesis or “Virgin Birth”:  
New Mexico whiptail (Aspidoscelis neomexicana)
Living in the deserts of the U.S. Southwest and parts of northern Mexico, the New Mexico whiptail is an all-female species of lizard. The creatures first arose as hybrids between two closely related species of sexually reproducing lizards: the little striped whiptail (A. inornata) and the tiger whiptail (A. tigris). Male hybrids aren’t viable, making this one of the few all-female species. Adult female New Mexico whiptails reproduce solely through parthenogenesis, laying unfertilized eggs that develop into other female whiptails.
(via: Science NOW)                              (photo: National Park Service)

rhamphotheca:

Profiles in Parthenogenesis or “Virgin Birth”:  

New Mexico whiptail (Aspidoscelis neomexicana)

Living in the deserts of the U.S. Southwest and parts of northern Mexico, the New Mexico whiptail is an all-female species of lizard. The creatures first arose as hybrids between two closely related species of sexually reproducing lizards: the little striped whiptail (A. inornata) and the tiger whiptail (A. tigris). Male hybrids aren’t viable, making this one of the few all-female species. Adult female New Mexico whiptails reproduce solely through parthenogenesis, laying unfertilized eggs that develop into other female whiptails.

(via: Science NOW)                              (photo: National Park Service)

61 notes

iamlittlei:

superbigrobot:

Starfish feeding on a dead whale

TERROR!

So, this is actually some of my favorite biology.

It’s really beautiful. This whale carcass will support an entire ecosystem. There are some organisms that live nowhere else except whale carcasses. Life is relentless and persistent, and energy and matter constantly cycle. This is poetry.

This is from the BBC series Life. Life is probably my favorite nature series of all time. It is phenomenal. The dead carcass is actually a seal pup.

(Source: nervation)

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geneticist:

“Jewel Caterpillars” are the larvae of Dalceridae moths. Their gooey coating is unpalatable and therefore serves to protect them from predators. Instead of forming a cocoon, the larvae builds a cage where it will pupate. Image sources [x][xx]

5,175 notes

headlikeanorange:

A male Darwin’s frog with a vocal pouch full of tadpoles. He carries them around until they develop into froglets and hop out of his mouth. (Natural World - BBC)

headlikeanorange:

A male Darwin’s frog with a vocal pouch full of tadpoles. He carries them around until they develop into froglets and hop out of his mouth. (Natural World - BBC)

7,754 notes

On the Consciousness of Animals …

jtotheizzoe:

Last month in Cambridge, several of the world’s experts in the biology, philosophy and psychology of consciousness gathered. Where does it originate and manifest itself? What is the biology behind it? What, in the animal kingdom (or beyond) possesses it? Simply what … IS it?

The conversations happening in those halls were likely some of the most intelligent happening on Earth at that very moment.

At the end of this conference, as the nexus of IQ dispersed back to their enclaves of higher learning, a declaration was released: The Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness.

This declaration, for perhaps the first time, officially declares that “consciousness” is not a term that applies only to higher mammals, and exists well beyond the realm of humans. It states that it is a continuum, a sliding scale, a gradient of grays between the white of an unfeeling amoeba and the black of we highly evolved Homo sapiens. It is not a quality that something simply “has” or “doesn’t have”. Rather, the animal world falls at points across the scale.

It states that some birds exhibit similar forms of “consciousness” to even humans, in brain wiring, emotional circuits and even the reaction to their image in a mirror. It states that “consciousness”, in its many forms and scales, does not require the advanced brain region known as the neocortex, once thought to house our supremely advanced human braininess. It states that emotions do not exist simply in the advanced outer shell of the brain, but that their parallels can be found in deeper brain regions common to many levels of animal life.

Most of all it declares a shift in perspective for future research: That behaviors and experiences in human and non-human animals must be viewed as much by what they have in common as by what they do not have in common. This includes anatomy (what brain structures do we share, and not), neural chemistry (do our brain signals differ, and how?), behavior (do seemingly different behaviors share common sources in the brain?) and beyond.

On one hand, it’s a pretty obvious declaration that there is a huge spectrum of animal life on Earth that experiences their surroundings, past and present, in ways that are simple and complex and everywhere in between. We are animals. Why would we assume that “consciousness” is merely ours? On the other hand, it elevates animal consciousness to a level never before widely-accepted, perhaps risking a bit of projection of human feelings where they don’t belong. How do we decide what level of “consciousness” makes that inappropriate, but that this is ok?  

Are we destined to be the polished-badge moral police of the animal world, defining what is and isn’t “conscious”, and how, and what that means is right for each creature? 

My only complaint? With all this talk of “consciousness” … they didn’t give us much of a definition for what it is.

More must-read coverage from Sean Carroll, io9, HuffPo, and Scientific American.

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I just saw a new article, about a study,

that explains how Medicaid expansion would actually save lives.

Haha. I had the same feeling I feel when I read articles that say “scientists were amazed that [insert any class of animals] had different ways of communicating, and they seem to have a very social community.”

Duh.

I actually recommend that article, it’s good.
But you get my drift - Of course it would.

78 notes

theanimalblog:

In this heart-breaking photo, an adult dolphin is seen carrying the body of its dead baby on its back. The scene was witnessed by tourists during a boat tour in the sea near Qinzhou in southern China’s Guangxi Province. Wang Bin, who took the photo, said that during the three minutes they watched, the baby slid from its mother’s back several times but each time the mother would dive again to pick up her baby and keep going. Picture: Quirky China News / Rex Features

theanimalblog:

In this heart-breaking photo, an adult dolphin is seen carrying the body of its dead baby on its back. The scene was witnessed by tourists during a boat tour in the sea near Qinzhou in southern China’s Guangxi Province. Wang Bin, who took the photo, said that during the three minutes they watched, the baby slid from its mother’s back several times but each time the mother would dive again to pick up her baby and keep going. Picture: Quirky China News / Rex Features

2,016 notes

rhamphotheca:

Tiny Shrews Warm Up Before Cold Dives
by Ella Davies
Thumb-sized shrews “warm up” their bodies before taking the plunge into cold water, according to researchers.
Scientists investigated how the shrews, known as the smallest diving mammals, coped with the challenges of diving. Larger mammals are known to boost their chances of finding prey by staying cool to save energy and dive for as long as possible. But the shrews raised their body temperature by up to 1.5C and took shorter dives in cold water.
“They were completely contrary to what we predicted,” said Dr Kevin Campbell from the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada who presented the research at the Society for Experimental Biology’s annual conference.
In the past, research into diving ability in mammals has focused on large species including seals and penguins. But Dr Campbell and his colleagues wanted to look at the other end of the scale. They spent over a decade working with tiny American Water Shrews (Sorex palustris), which weigh a maximum of 17g.
The thumb-sized animals are known for their voracious appetite, consuming their entire body weight in prey every day in order to survive, and Dr Campbell described them as “the most effective, ruthless predators I have ever seen”. Although they live on land they frequently hunt underwater, diving to catch prey such as dragonfly nymphs, crayfish and snails…
(read more: BBC Nature)        (image: Roman Guzstak)

Cool article. One thing, since when were penguins mammals?

rhamphotheca:

Tiny Shrews Warm Up Before Cold Dives

by Ella Davies

Thumb-sized shrews “warm up” their bodies before taking the plunge into cold water, according to researchers.

Scientists investigated how the shrews, known as the smallest diving mammals, coped with the challenges of diving. Larger mammals are known to boost their chances of finding prey by staying cool to save energy and dive for as long as possible. But the shrews raised their body temperature by up to 1.5C and took shorter dives in cold water.

“They were completely contrary to what we predicted,” said Dr Kevin Campbell from the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada who presented the research at the Society for Experimental Biology’s annual conference.

In the past, research into diving ability in mammals has focused on large species including seals and penguins. But Dr Campbell and his colleagues wanted to look at the other end of the scale. They spent over a decade working with tiny American Water Shrews (Sorex palustris), which weigh a maximum of 17g.

The thumb-sized animals are known for their voracious appetite, consuming their entire body weight in prey every day in order to survive, and Dr Campbell described them as “the most effective, ruthless predators I have ever seen”. Although they live on land they frequently hunt underwater, diving to catch prey such as dragonfly nymphs, crayfish and snails…

(read more: BBC Nature)        (image: Roman Guzstak)

Cool article. One thing, since when were penguins mammals?

53 notes