The 10 weirdest animal discoveries of 2012 As the year comes to an end, it's time to look back at the grossest, oddest and simply most fascinating animals to make the headlines in 2012. There were zombie worms and penis fish, not to mention turtles with a strange way of getting rid of urine. Read on for 2012's most bizarre. 1. An ancient fossil found in Canada looks like a field of tulips frozen in stone. Siphusauctum gregarium, a 500-million-year-old filter feeder, was the length of a dinner knife with a bulbous "head" containing a feeding system and a bizarre gut. 2. Moving on to other ancient marine wildlife, here's a sea creature much scarier than an animal that looks like a flower. Pliosaurus funkei, as it is now properly known, was 40 feet (12 meters) long with a 6.5-foot (2 m)-long skull. "They had teeth that would have made a T. rex whimper," study researcher Patrick Druckenmiller, a paleontologist at the University of Alaska Museum, told LiveScience. Pliosaur crushing down on Plesiosaur with 33,000 lb bite. 3. 4. 5. 7.
The Psychology of Color [Infographic] | Louisville Painters Download the infographic as a PDF Embed this image on your site: Taiwan zoo fined after birth of ligers A private zoo in Taiwan has become the first on the island to see the birth of "ligers," hybrids of lions and tigresses, with the owner facing a fine for violating wildlife rules, officials said Monday. The three cubs were born Sunday at the "World Snake King Education Farm" in the south, but one of them died almost immediately, the farm's owner Huang Kuo-nan told AFP. "The pregnancy of the tigress caught me totally unprepared," Huang said. But the Tainan county government said Huang will face a fine of up to 50,000 Taiwan dollars (1,600 U.S. dollars) for breeding wildlife without prior approval from the authorities. According to the Taipei-based Apple Daily, there are only around 10 surviving ligers in the world, with adult ligers capable of growing much larger than average lions.
Cool Infographics - Blog Divers can talk to dolphins, perhaps aliens, with new device An unlikely partnership between a dolphinologist and an artificial intelligence specialist has led to the development of a piece of hi-tech gadgetry that may allow humans and dolphins to talk to one another for the first time, according to the Independent. The iPhone-sized device uses a complex algorithm that is capable of making both dolphin-to-human and human-to-dolphin translations. It may soon allow divers to communicate with dolphins in real time, and is currently being tested aboard a boat in the Bahamas. The device's language-decoding capability has drawn interest from SETI (The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), and may play a role in one day communicating with extraterrestrials, should they ever be contacted. It's the ability of this device to communicate with the other sentient beings on our own planet that is of most immediate interest, though. Despite these hints, however, the true complexity of dolphin communication remains a controversy. Dr.
Missing turtle survives in storage room for 30 years Now we can add another triumph to the list: They can live alone in a box for 30 years — and survive. Such is the story of Manuela, the red-footed tortoise who was recently discovered sequestered in a small room some 30 years after she went missing. The shelled adventurer disappeared in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1982. Although a lengthy search was undertaken to find the family pet, she was never seen again. Her owners, the Almeida family, figured she had ambled out after builders left the front door open. But when the patriarch of the family recently died, the children began cleaning out a locked storage room. “I put the box on the pavement for the rubbish men to collect, and a neighbor said, ‘you're not throwing out the turtle as well are you?’ Much like snakes, turtles are able to endure lengthy periods of time without food. But 30 years? Related turtle stories on MNN:
North Korea claims proof of unicorns North Korea may be the last Stalinist state on the planet. The government's obsession with military hardware has left the economy in shambles and the country is suffering chronic shortages of fuel, electricity and raw materials. But when push comes to shove, none of that really matters, because North Korea has a hidden unicorn lair. Who else can make that claim? The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reveals that archeologists from the History Institute of the DPRK Academy of Social Sciences have discovered a secret hideaway that was the burial site of the unicorn ridden by King Tongmyeong, the founding father of the ancient Korean kingdom of Goguryeo (37 B.C.-668 A.D.). According to legend, Tongmyeong was born from an egg impregnated by sunlight — so of course he commuted by unicorn. The news agency seems partial to magical news. See more on the lair in the video below:
Found: Whale thought extinct for 2 million years The pygmy right whale, a mysterious and elusive creature that rarely comes to shore, is the last living relative of an ancient group of whales long believed to be extinct, a new study suggests. The findings, published today (Dec. 18) in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, may help to explain why the enigmatic marine mammals look so different from any other living whale. "The living pygmy right whale is, if you like, a remnant, almost like a living fossil," said Felix Marx, a paleontologist at the University of Otago in New Zealand. "It's the last survivor of quite an ancient lineage that until now no one thought was around." Living fossil The relatively diminutive pygmy right whale, which grows to just 21 feet (6.5 meters) long, lives out in the open ocean. The strange creature's arched, frownlike snout makes it look oddly different from other living whales. The findings help explain how pygmy whales evolved and may also help shed light on how these ancient "lost" whales lived.
World-first hybrid shark found off Australia Scientists said on Tuesday that they had discovered the world's first hybrid sharks in Australian waters, a potential sign the predators were adapting to cope with climate change. The mating of the local Australian black-tip shark with its global counterpart, the common black-tip, was an unprecedented discovery with implications for the entire shark world, said lead researcher Jess Morgan. "It's very surprising because no one's ever seen shark hybrids before, this is not a common occurrence by any stretch of the imagination," Morgan, from the University of Queensland, told AFP. "This is evolution in action." Colin Simpfendorfer, a partner in Morgan's research from James Cook University, said initial studies suggested the hybrid species was relatively robust, with a number of generations discovered across 57 specimens. It means the Australian black-tip could be adapting to ensure its survival as sea temperatures change because of global warming.
Dog chases stick, orca chases dog That seems to be the clear lesson of a new video out of Leigh, New Zealand, which shows a black Labrador retriever briefly carousing with an orca before thinking better of it and returning to shore. The video, filmed by Auckland resident Deonette De Jongh, according to The New Zealand Herald, also shows a spear fisherman who makes a quick break to a cluster of rocks when he realizes he's hunting alongside an orca pod. A man claiming to be the spear fisherman commented on the YouTube video and corroborated De Jongh's explanation of the encounters, alleging that the Labrador had first been led into the orca-stirred water after a man threw a stick in that direction. The purported spear fisherman, who goes by the name Tin Arse on YouTube, further commented that the man said he threw the stick, because he "wanted to see what would happen." Despite the menacing name, killer whales have never been known to kill humans or dogs in the wild. Related on Life's Little Mysteries and MNN:
TreeHugger Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0 In 2009, a Bengal tiger cub was rescued from India's Dhaba forest range, left helpless after the disappearance of its mother. Over the next few years, keepers at the Bor Wildlife Sanctuary raised the orphan, named Bhangaram, to adulthood in hopes of one day releasing him back into the wild. But, as it turns out, not only was the tiger out of the jungle, the jungle seemed to be out of it. Staff at the wildlife sanctuary recently released a live goat into the now full-grown male tiger's enclosure as a way of triggering its predatory instincts. From the Times of India: [Keepers had] hoped the beast would make a quick kill. Tambako the Jaguar/CC BY 2.0 Although the thought of a normally ferocious tiger 'befriending' its intended meal might seem like an adorable turn for the predator, conservationists say there is nothing cute about the big cat's unwillingness to kill. "I fear the male tiger is not fit for release," says veteran conservationist MS Chouhan.
Discoveries - By the Light of January's Wolf Moon DiscoveryBy the Light of January's Wolf Moon On the hunt, is bigger better for predators like wolves? January 10, 2012 This article is the first in a series on NSF's Long Term Research in Environmental Biology (LTREB) awards. A cold-eyed moon rises above Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park. Snow frozen to hardpan shrouds the valley's tall summer grasses. Not so their prey. It's well past midnight and 10 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Walking along a snow-covered bank is impossible in this colder-than-cold. For a human. But not for a wolf. A distant howl pierces the glassy air. For now. The going isn't easy. In the northern Rocky Mountains, natural migration from Canada and reintroduction programs in Yellowstone--which straddles Wyoming, Montana and Idaho--and central Idaho have fostered a wolf stronghold. Alaska has the largest population of gray wolves in the United States, around 6,000. Hunting once felled countless numbers of the canines.