Posts filed under ‘Animals’

Dogs Poop in Alignment with Earth’s Magnetic Field

By Chad Upton | Editor

In case you don’t know, the Earth is basically one giant magnet. That’s why a compass always points to magnetic North. This is extremely useful for navigation and other location based activities.

Apparently, dogs also find it useful for pooping.

Dog Hydrant

Photo: Scott Spaeth (cc)

Scientists recently published a paper describing their observations and analysis of the direction that dogs poop. For two years they monitored 70 dogs and recorded the axis upon which they defecate. (more…)

March 27, 2014 at 11:00 am 8 comments

Koala Fingerprints are Nearly Indistinguishable from Human’s

By Chad Upton | Editor

Dermatoplyphes or “fingerprints” are common among higher primates, but are present in only some other mammals.

Take whales for example. They’re mammals and they don’t have fingers (although the bones inside their flippers looks like fingers on an x-ray) but the pattern on the underside of their tail is still unique like a fingerprint.

Koala’s on the other hand do have fingers and they do have fingerprints. Koala fingerprints are so similar to human prints that even under an electron microscope they’re nearly indistinguishable from each other.

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Photo: michael fontenot (cc)

Sources: naturalscience.com, whalewatchmaui.com

February 26, 2013 at 2:00 am 1 comment

It’s Normal For Half Your Nose to Always Feel Blocked

By Chad Upton | Editor

You probably don’t think about it much, but if you did, you’d notice that it often feels like one nostril or the other is always plugged. That’s completely normal for about 70% of adults.

Assuming you’re healthy, your “plugged” nostril actually allows a tiny amount of air through and your other nostril handles the rest. After an average of 2.5 hours, the cycle will shift and use the alternate nostril as the primary source of air. The following scan shows one nasal passage mostly blocked and the other mostly open.

For a long time, Eastern medicine has had theories about the purpose of this cycle and a number of exercises that involve moving air through a specific nostril. On the other hand, Western scientists didn’t come up with a physiological purpose for this phenomena until more recently.

Research indicates that the high/low flow approach in the two nostrils optimizes your sense of smell. As you’ve probably discovered first hand, or shall we say finger, the inside of your nose is lined with mucus. This mucus continues deep inside your nasal passage and is very important; it acts as a barrier and helps protect your brain from infection. But, it also means that something you smell has to be absorbed by the mucus before you can smell it. (more…)

January 5, 2012 at 2:00 am 26 comments

US Navy Employs Dolphins and Sea Lions for Some Missions

While they’re not exactly sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads, they are the next best thing — dolphins natural biosonar is better than anything manmade.

The US Navy Seals have about 75 dolphins and 35 sea lions that are trained to assist with search and recovery type missions. The dolphins have excellent biosonar, making it easy for them to find objects in the water: friendly people, dangerous people, mines and more. They also use sea lions, which have amazing underwater vision, allowing them to find objects on the seafloor.

Think of them as the Navy’s version of the K9 unit. These animals can be deployed by aircraft or vessel anywhere in the world in 72 hours.

The program began in the 1960s and the animals have been deployed in numerous missions, including mine clearing in Iraq and protecting various naval ports.

The sea lions can find threats in the water too and have been credited with saving the Navy millions of dollars simply by recovering dropped equipment and weapons.

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Image: Bodhi Suft School (cc)

Sources: CNN

August 3, 2011 at 2:00 am 3 comments

Lobsters Don’t Age

By Chad Upton | Editor

As people and most animals age, our bodies don’t work like they used to: we weaken, lose fertility and wrinkle among other things.

Research shows that lobsters do not have these same symptoms of age.

Our cells are constantly being replaced by new cells. These cells are built to the specifications in our DNA. Over time, our DNA is damaged and cells do not divide perfectly.

Lobsters have an enzyme that naturally repairs DNA. In fact, if it weren’t for disease, capture or injury scientists believe they could live indefinitely.

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Sources: Wikipedia (Lobster)

Image: Stacy Lynn Baum (cc)

June 29, 2011 at 6:00 am 11 comments

Whales Have Regional Dialects

By Chad Upton | Editor

It’s pretty common knowledge that whales, dolphins and various porpoises “speak” to each other in a language we don’t completely understand. Sperm whales in particular, speak in a series of clicks called “codas.”

Much like we recognize the voices of our friends, whales can tell which member of their group is clicking. Also like people, researchers have discovered that whales from different regions have distinct accents.

Sperm whales have a call known as the “Five Regular” which is used by sperm whales worldwide. It’s a series of five evenly spaced clicks believed to be used for individual identity.

This communication is very useful for navigating in dark waters – whales can dive as deep as 1000 meters (3280 ft)!

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Image: Tim Bayman (cc)

Sources: Science Daily, Wikipedia (Whales)

June 11, 2011 at 11:00 am 4 comments


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