In the beginning of things men were animals and animals men. ~ Algonquin saying

"For instance, on the planet Earth, man had always assumed that he was more intelligent than dolphins because he had achieved so much — the wheel, New York, wars and so on — whilst all the dolphins had ever done was muck about in the water having a good time. But conversely, the dolphins had always believed that they were far more intelligent than man — for precisely the same reasons." ~ The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Bird Falls: Officials Investigate Seagull Deaths on Highway | NBC 10 Philadelphia

Officials Investigate Seagull Deaths on Highway | NBC 10 Philadelphia

Officials are investigating the deaths of nearly 30 herring seagulls in Ocean City. The seagulls crashed down into traffic on the Route 52 bridge that links Ocean City to Somers Point.

“I’m noticing the birds are with broken legs, broken backs and broken wings,” said Bill Hollingsworth of the Humane Society of Ocean City.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Lobsters, Giant and Strangely Colored

Lobster items in the news. Another giant lobster spared story, this one from New England, about a 21 lb. lobster that was caught in the waters of Cape Cod:21-pound lobster released to New England Aquarium (UPDATE) | The Sideshow - Yahoo! News A woman won a lobster raffle who said she had planned to spare the lobster's life all along:

My plan was always to donate the lobster to the Aquarium was to generate awareness and allow people to see the creature, and of course, to keep the lobster from being trapped again and, this time, ending up on someone's dinner table," she told Yahoo! News. "The only thing I requested from the Aquarium was a chance to see the lobster when I visit Boston on August 6th and they were kind enough to grant my request."

Another lobster item in the news today. A shipment of lobster's received by a Massachusetts restaurant contained several orange lobsters. This AP item appeared in the "Lighter Side" section of our local paper. Among others, The Huffington Post published the item. This designation frustrates me. The following is not a cutesy feel good item about a child's lost puppy now found safe, but an increase in unusual colorations in lobsters. The reason for these coloration are potentially disturbing reasons: global warming/climate changes, signals of things going wrong in our oceans due to pollution, etc. But the item in the local paper, concluded with comments from Michael Thusty, who is the director of research at the New England Aquarium at Boston: "Right now you can make a lot of explanations, but the actual data to find them out out just isn't there." One possible explanation for this increase in colorful lobsters was the "active Twitter sphere" and "people get [getting] excited about colorful lobsters." Another possible reason: increase in lobster harvests; more lobster hauling, more lobsters, chances increase for oddly colored lobsters. (Blue, orange, bi-colored, yellow...)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Jellyfish (Rat) Heart

"The world needs less rats and more jellyfish, so I thought it would be cool to do a one-for-one swap,"
One more thing from the "just because they can" file:Swimming 'Jellyfish' Built out of Rat Cells & Silicone News
These artificial jellies can solve different problems for different scientists, Parker said. A marine biologist might learn more about the architecture of a jellyfish and how it swims. A comparative biologist can compare the pumping action of the Medusoid to that of the heart. For tissue engineers, the exercise was a lesson in design and quality control. And for biological proponent experts, the system is a model that mimics how real propulsive swimmers do it.

Parker is interested in using the Medusoids for cardiovascular drug development and as a step in new designs for artificial hearts.

But look out world:
He also has plans to go bigger.

The next step, he said, is to "pick another animal that has a more difficult anatomy and function, and build it. Give me a year or two!"

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Raccoons Attack

Gang of raccoons chase, knock down and bite woman in Washington state. Also, her dog is an "American dingo dog." Raccoons chase, attack Washington woman - CBS News

American Dingo dog, aka Carolina dog

Thursday, July 5, 2012

BBC News - "No evidence of mermaids, says US government"

This may seem to be a fluff piece but I can't help myself, I sense an undercurrent (no pun intended) of disinfo and distraction. No, I don't mean to suggest mer-people literally exist. But in this article: BBC News - No evidence of mermaids, says US government it is made clear the National Ocean Service took the time to respond to supposed public inquires about the existence of mermaids after Animal Planet aired Mermaids: The Body Found. In the BBC news article, we have this quote from NOAA's Carol Kavanagh that the NOAA article (see below) "was written from publicly available sources..." and that is  due to their lack of a  "mermaid science programme."

Here is the official article from NOAA: No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found.  It's a very short piece -- three paragraphs and concludes:
But are mermaids real? No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found. Why, then, do they occupy the collective unconscious of nearly all seafaring peoples? That’s a question best left to historians, philosophers, and anthropologists.
I haven't seen Animal Planet's program. According to the press release at their site, they reference the Aquatic Ape Theory:
The Aquatic Ape Theory makes it possible to believe that while we evolved into terrestrial humans, our aquatic relatives turned into something strangely similar to the fabled mermaid. As evidence that humans once evolved into aquatic creatures, the Aquatic Ape Theory cites some of the striking differences between man and other primates and the many features we share with marine mammals, including the following:
  • Webbing between fingers (other primates don’t have this) Subcutaneous fat (insulating from cold water)
  • Control over breath (humans can hold breath up to 20 minutes, longer than any other terrestrial animal)
  • Loss of body hair (hair creates drag in water) Instinctive ability to swim (human babies are able to do this)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Believing what you see

Walking along the Willamette River at Delta Ponds today, we saw what looked like a salmon making its way just beneath the brown water. Very unusual and a man with a group who was also watching this said aloud, several times, that it was a carp. We certainly weren't going to argue with a stranger but we both said, to each other, it sure looked like a salmon. Overheard him say, again, it was a carp. While I didn't know there were salmon in that area I know what I saw. So I did a search and discovered that there are indeed chinook salmon, released in that area starting in January of this year:Juvenile Chinook salmon found at Delta Ponds and Heron Slough in Eugene | MyEugene

Image source here.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

14 Stories That Prove Animals Have Souls

Not that there has ever been any doubt, but these stories are reminders of the spirit within our fellow creatures. I especially love the one about the elephants.14 Stories That Prove Animals Have Souls