viernes, 9 de diciembre de 2016

Which is the best wildlife photography in the world?. Why?

I love beauty and tend to be attracted to the most aesthetic images I can find. Here are a many awesome examples, and I will try to give more.
But I have to apologize, especially to sensitive readers, because depicting wildlife, apart from showing the glory or histrionic beauty and gore drama of life itself, is also a call to the world, a nude shout of desperation, a call for help, because we need to fight for preserving so many species. And some of them are not usually regarded as endangered such as lions or elephants.
CRY FOR CONSERVATION:
So the first pics I will add here are very bloody (sorry for the word, but also for the image). This is a cry for conservation:
This is both a dramatic cry and an image of hope for the species:
Obviously I have selected these photos because they are a terrible reality bite. I write a blog calling for conservation and protection of animals, I have seen these and more gore pics...I usually tend to avoid them when writing for young public, but I think that these images are very important to tell all the truth, to talk to an adult public and giving a hint of how hard and dramatic -and necessary- is the work of conservation.
I also will apologize for calling for giving supportto a "quoran local" wildlife organization: Home - Chengeta Wildlife, they keep this blog: Chengeta Wildlife.
BEAUTY IN EVERY DIMENSION:
And some amazing pics:
People in Europe tend to regard reptiles as boring static critters. Don't understimate them.
Hunter chased :).
love beauty and tend to be attracted to the most aesthetic images I can find. Here are a many awesome examples, and I will try to give more.
But I have to apologize, especially to sensitive readers, because depicting wildlife, apart from showing the glory or histrionic beauty and gore drama of life itself, is also a call to the world, a nude shout of desperation, a call for help, because we need to fight for preserving so many species. And some of them are not usually regarded as endangered such as lions or elephants.
CRY FOR CONSERVATION:
So the first pics I will add here are very bloody (sorry for the word, but also for the image). This is a cry for conservation:
This is both a dramatic cry and an image of hope for the species:
Obviously I have selected these photos because they are a terrible reality bite. I write a blog calling for conservation and protection of animals, I have seen these and more gore pics...I usually tend to avoid them when writing for young public, but I think that these images are very important to tell all the truth, to talk to an adult public and giving a hint of how hard and dramatic -and necessary- is the work of conservation.
I also will apologize for calling for giving supportto a "quoran local" wildlife organization: Home - Chengeta Wildlife, they keep this blog: Chengeta Wildlife.
BEAUTY IN EVERY DIMENSION:
And some amazing pics:
People in Europe tend to regard reptiles as boring static critters. Don't understimate them.
Hunter chased :).


It is a hard work.

martes, 6 de diciembre de 2016

Are there any mammals that reproduce asexually ?

No, in the sense of this question, it is not a way of reproduction that can naturally occur to a mammal.
But parthenogenesis (development of the embryo in females without ferltilization) has been induced under lab conditions in some mammals, like rabbits, mice and even monkeys. But the offspring often is disabled, the development is abnormal.

Source: wiki, Parthenogenesis.

lunes, 5 de diciembre de 2016

Which animals have curiosity? The kind of curiosity humans have!


How can we define or frame the kind of curiosity humans have?. Every definition that included human language, reading or discussion of concepts related to human acumulated knowledge would set any other animal apart.
If you focus it as a something similar to children curiosity, an attraction to discover and explore, many of the mammals in their first infancy display a great degree of curiosity, you can check it in many docs, the cubs exploring and the mother/parents absolutely stressed by those little moving things always to run into danger. After a moment in their lives, they start to display less blind curiosity, because they are in a survival situation and it would be very dangerous for them maintain that level of attraction for exploring without the constant protection of their mother/parents/group companion.

martes, 29 de noviembre de 2016

Has any species of animal become extinct in the past 20 years?

Sadly, many. So many that scientists are talking about a massive extinction induced by humans, the sixth in the history of life:
Accelerated modern human-induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction

The last animals added are:
2015 — Eastern Cougar, Puma Concolor Couguar
2013 – Formosan Clouded Leopard, Neofelis nebulosa brachyura
2012 — Pinta Island Tortoise, Chelonoidis abingdoni
2011 — Vietnamese Rhino, Rhinoceros sondaicus annamiticus


2009 — Christmas Island Pipistrelle, Pipistrellus murrayi
2007 — Chinese Paddlefish, Psephurus gladius
2007 — Yangtze River Dolphin, Lipotes vexillifer
etc, etc.
If you want to visit this sad list, here is the link:
Here's Every Single Animal That Became Extinct In The Last 100 Years
As a meta-analysis, a study published by experts from Stanford, Princeton and the University of  California-Berkeley declared the world’s vertebrates are going extinct  114 times faster than the natural rate of extinction.

domingo, 27 de noviembre de 2016

If birds are dinosaurs, then why aren't all vertebrates fishes? Are they only dinosaurs when speaking cladistic, or also Linnaean?


 I understand that, with clades, birds are dinosaurs, but when considering clades, birds are fishes, cnidarians, et cetera. This distinction is next to useless for the general purposes of language, where calling everything a bacteria would be meaningless. Thus, for the purposes of casual language, are birds really dinosaurs?

Another question of Quora, if you read these entries you already know that I considered the site interesting before they chose quantity (traffic) instead of quality. They also have a politic of top writers (those who attract more readings) that has made havoc with the level of answers related to animals and ethology.
However, I once wrote on Quora this text. Enjoy...
_________________ 

Birds are dinosaurs for both systems of classification.
Birds are dinosaurs from both viewpoints, although it carries some problems for Linnean classification (1). And don't missunderstand me, I do really like Linnean classification and prefer that it be the first one to be taught to children because it is a great description of the world as we see it, such as Cladistics can't be by definition, because they have to include features of extinct organisms. Here in Spain children are introduced to classification overly early, in the first grades of Primary, and how could they understand the links between reptiles and birds that Cladistics bring when they are under 10 years?.
Coming back to dinosaurs, it is a group that was not defined on the range of characters we can observe on a living animal that include external features such as appearance, skin traits (having fur, feather, glands, layers...), metabolism traits (such as weter they could maintain a level of internal temperature independently of enviromental conditions or not, chambers in the heart, etc), skeletal morphology and others. It wasn't possible because the description was made from the fosil remains that only depicted skeletal features (2), hence all the group was typed from some few relevant skeletal traits. There is not way of comparing how they descripted mammals, birds and reptiles with the way they did with dinosaurs.
What happened is that accordingly with that key skeletal features, birds must be included into the dinosaur group (from a Linnean viewpoint) or are in the dinosaur clade (from a Cladistic one). Birds fulfill all the "must to" to be named dinosaurs by their own and not as derived from dinosaurs. Of course that there is a lot of polemics sorrounding this point, for some anatomist birds display very original adaptations to flight that would tell them apart from more "primitive" dinosaurs (3). Some even maintain that they could derive from an earliest ancestor that was only related to dinosaurs, but was not a dinosaur (4). I think that the scientits that defend those viewpoints have failed to demonstrate that birds lack the skeletal characters that make them dinosaurs, so far at least; in fact the critics I link bellow are debunked. Probably we will see more of this polemic in the following years, and this is the kind of discussions I like, because in spite that they can be really boring for taxonomists, for general public show some really interesting features of the animal studied. And also, it is like a real scientific soap opera on the internet.
But for the purpose of casual language, birds can be called birds, and we can forget for a while that they are dinosaurs.
Finally, in our dayly life, as far as we are not interested in the evolutionary history of some organism or some feature in some organism, I think it is more useful, and amazing, talking about them in the way we see and experience our present world, and here is where Linnean classification makes the best role. Do you see those beautiful long legged horses as fishes?. Indeed, nobody does. The insistence of calling birds dinosaurs come from the fact that the polemics between supporters and the remaining detractors of birds as dinos still continues, nothing is more noisy than a battle field.
__ Links and an introduction to some problems and controversies derived from dinosaurs classification. I only recomend point 1 and 4 to dino freaks.
(1) Well, this point is annoyingly long, I agree. But as I have seen so many people confused with the idea that dinosaurs are birds, I like to explain why they feel so stranged with it.
The problems that Linnean classification must face due to that birds are actually dinosaurs derive from that dinosaurs include animals that highly resemble reptiles and others that, well, are birds.
For the lay person the problem can be post as "So when we think about the term dinosaur, what are we thinking about a bird or a reptile, or both?". In fact the matter reminds me the Necker cube , an optical illusion in what we can see the same drawing of a cube looking up, down or both alternately.
Regarding dinosaurs, there is not such dilema, as I have told in the text, dinosaurs were defined on different basis than any living animal Class (reptiles and birds are Classes accordingly to Linnean classification), so there is not contradiction in that dino groups animals from both Classes. It is a little uncomfortable for Linnean supporters, but not a nuclear misile that will destroy the concept.
Cladistics supporters, on the other hand, have more strong feelings about the Linnean Class reptilia (i.e reptiles). Some schools of thought would like to redefine it in a way that includes birds. But they also have to face their own problems, because it is not clear how to group the different extant types of reptiles accordingly to evolutionary characters. For the moment reptiles are a nightmare for evolutionary biologists and cladistics zealots, good for the old brave scaled animals. Who wants that their children are told that birds an reptiles are the same at the tender age of seven?. I don't.
In fact dinosaurs are not the only group that defy the traditional Linnean grouping, just the most popular. If Synapsid would have been so know as dinos, we would have assisted to a long and vively discussion about wether they are retiles or mammals or what. Finally synapsid were split from reptiles.
I have brought about the example of synapsid to talk about the complexity of classifying extinct animals that depict characters that make them close to two different Linnean Classes, species or whatever. In the end, making classifications is drawing borders that looked from an aerial perspective seem to be very clear, but the closer you get to these borders, the more artifitial and debatable they appear. This is the lesson that we, lay people, can draw from the problems with classifying dinosaurs.
(2) What is the scientific diagnosis of what is a dinosaur, and what is just another archosaur? Several skeletal characteristics are currently used as diagnostic dinosaurian features. You may also view a large-screen picture of a dinosaur skeleton for a lesson in anatomy : Morphology of the Dinosauria
(3) Are birds dinosaurs? New evidence muddies the picture (bear in mind that the objections exposed in this article are nowadays debunked).
(4) Longisquama (debunked. But I really find Longisquasma amazing, in spite that I only see the head half of an animal skeleton over some feathered thing).

sábado, 26 de noviembre de 2016

What are some amazing moments of bonding between animals from different species?


I love this question on Quora because I love animals. I find it uplifting, so let's have a nice moment. Enjoy...
_____________

1)  Mzee is a Aldabra giant tortoise (Aldabrachelys gigantea), a species which habitat is in the Seychelles. Owen is exactly what you could expect from a hipoppotamus.

 Let's start with one of the most surprising pals I had never expected. Because one of them is a reptil, and the other a mammal. You may think that in this case the bond could only flow in one direction (from mammal to reptil), very probably, but it was fundamental for the well being of the young mammal.
Owen and Mzee


They live in the Haller Park in Kenya. In December 2004, tthe terrible tusnami separated Owen, then a juvenile hippo, from his herd. he was rescued and carried to the Haller Park Rescue Center. Having no other hippos to interact with, Owen immediately attempted to  bond with Mzee, whose large domed shell and brown color resembled an  adult hippo. They formed an odd friendship that continued until 2006,  when it was determined that Owen had grown too large to safely interact  with Mzee. Today they live in separated enclosures, and Owen is doing a great job in socializing with other hippos, which reveals that the effect of the perceived bonding with the tortoise was very positive for the young mammal.


2) Whales interacting with dolphins: Sperm Whales 'adopt' a deformed dolphin, and whales giving dolphins a lift.

These kind of bondings can occur in the wild. Despite they can be temporal, we can't deny that they defy our understanding of humans as the only ones that can understand another species's animal suffering and help them, and also...what puzzles me more...that they enjoy playing with another species.

Let's start by an amazing example, this video depicts a very rare interaction between sperm whales and an  adult bottlenose dolphin with a spinal malformation (i.e. scoliosis).  This represents the first time this type of non-agonistic (friendly)  interaction has been recorded for sperm whales. We published a  description of these interactions in the scientific journal "Aquatic  Mammals".



Surprising, isn't it?. But what if I tell you that scientists have filmed whales playing with dolphins...playing, not harrasing or bullying.

Whales give dolphins a lift.





Many species interact in the wild, most often as predator and prey. But  recent encounters between humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins reveal  a playful side to interspecies interaction. In two different locations  in Hawaii, scientists watched as dolphins "rode" the heads of whales:  the whales lifted the dolphins up and out of the water, and then the  dolphins slid back down. The two species seemed to cooperate in the  activity, and neither displayed signs of aggression or distress.

3)  Adopted pets can form bonds incredible strong, because they know what is not to have them. When there is a disability included in the equation, the bondings are truly impresionant.

I've talked about wild animals in a rescue center, and wild animals in the wild, but the greatest source of these unthinkable bondings are just average people homes

Pwditat the rescued straycat and Terfel the blind dog:


 And, on the other hand, Murdock the blind adopted cat and the family dog who adopted him as his best friend (the name of the dog wasn't mentioned in the article).


Here are the links to know more about them.
http://www.lifewithcats.tv/2012/...
http://lovemeow.com/2013/10/murd...

4) There is an entire channel of NatGeo dedicated to tell this kind of stories.
 http://channel.nationalgeographi...
Here is the story of a ten y.o hen and a very handicapped toy dog, that are best buddies:

martes, 22 de noviembre de 2016

Why are poop-throwing chimpanzees more intelligent?

 http://phys.org/news/2011-11-poop-throwing-chimps-intelligence.html

Ok, some questions on Quora are incredibly funny. And, ah, oh, yes...some field studies too bizarre.
This is one of the first things I wrote on Quora, be patient with my English, I was starting, and also forgive me some typos...but poo throwing chimps and intelligence, is there anything more exciting?.
________________

From suchanaughtymonkey.wordpress.com

Are there -not handycapped- chimps that can't poop throw ?.
The paper says that better poop throwers were more intellegent becaus:

After making their  discovery regarding the parts of the brain that appear to be involved in  better throwing in chimps, the team tested the chimps and found that  those that could throw better also appeared to be better communicators  within their group, giving credence to their idea that speech and  throwing are related. Interestingly, they also found that the better  throwing chimps didn’t appear to posses any more physical prowess than  other chimps, which the researchers suggest means that throwing didn’t  develop as a means of hunting, but as a form of communication within  groups, i.e. throwing stuff at someone else became a form of self  expression, which is clearly evident to anyone who has ever been  targeted by a chimp locked up in a zoo.
(source, the same paper you mentioned, Researches find poop-throwing by chimps is a sign of intelligence)

And here you have the causes, in the same paper:
- It has been  hypothesized that neurological adaptations associated with evolutionary  selection for throwing may have served as a precursor for the emergence  of language and speech in early hominins.
-These results suggest  that chimpanzees that have learned to throw have developed greater  cortical connectivity between primary motor cortex and the Broca's area  homologue. It is suggested that during hominin evolution, after the  split between the lines leading to chimpanzees and humans, there was  intense selection on increased motor skills associated with throwing and  that this potentially formed the foundation for left hemisphere  specialization associated with language and speech found in modern  humans.

(source, the same paper you mentioned, Researches find poop-throwing by chimps is a sign of intelligence)

In a nutshell, the development of precisssion in poop throwing is associated with the cortical connectivity in brain structures essential for language in humans.

The easy joke is language came from the appropiate use of poop.
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But, if you ask me, the study goes very far in use of chimp natural behaviour to analyse early human development. As chimp can´t not use a very structurate group of sounds, due to morphology issues, for me there is a human biass in analyse their behaviour in this study.