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  • December 19, 2014
  • 10:35 AM
  • 1,027 views

Mom, where do birds come from?

by Jente Ottenburghs in Evolutionary Stories

If you should ever get this question, the answer is rather short: “according to recent findings, birds are descended from maniraptoran theropod dinosaurs.” Makes sense, right?... Read more »

Xu, X., Zhou, Z., Dudley, R., Mackem, S., Chuong, C., Erickson, G., & Varricchio, D. (2014) An integrative approach to understanding bird origins. Science, 346(6215), 1253293-1253293. DOI: 10.1126/science.1253293  

  • December 17, 2014
  • 07:11 AM
  • 910 views

Humpback Whales Sing For Their Supper

by beredim in Strange Animals

Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) are known to employ group foraging techniques, however details on how individuals coordinate with each other still remain a mystery.

A new study by Susan Parks, assistant professor of biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, in collaboration with a consortium of other researchers examined the importance of specific auditory cues that these whales emit... Read more »

Parks SE, Cusano DA, Stimpert AK, Weinrich MT, Friedlaender AS, & Wiley DN. (2014) Evidence for acoustic communication among bottom foraging humpback whales. Scientific reports, 7508. PMID: 25512188  

  • December 15, 2014
  • 07:00 AM
  • 1,646 views

The Paradoxical Shrinking Frog

by beredim in Strange Animals



Pseudis paradoxa in a pond
Credit: Mauricio Rivera Correa

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Amphibia
Order: Anura
Family: Hylidae
Genus: Pseudis
Species: Pseudis paradoxa
Common Name(s): Paradoxical frog or Shrinking frog
Conservation Status: Least Concern (Not Threatened)

Looks like a pretty much regular frog, doesn't it? Well.. it's not! Meet P. paradoxa, a frog that grows down ... Read more »

  • December 13, 2014
  • 09:56 AM
  • 700 views

Gibbon genome and the fast karyotype evolution of small apes

by Sandra Bosshard in genome ecology evolution etc

Gibbons (Hylobatidae) are small arboreal apes that form a key node in primate evolution. One of the most distinctive phenotype is their high genome plasticity involving large-scale chromosomal rearrangements and karyotype changes. The four gibbon genera (Nomascus, Hylobates, Hoolock, Symphalangus) … Continue reading →... Read more »

Carbone, L., Alan Harris, R., Gnerre, S., Veeramah, K., Lorente-Galdos, B., Huddleston, J., Meyer, T., Herrero, J., Roos, C., Aken, B.... (2014) Gibbon genome and the fast karyotype evolution of small apes. Nature, 513(7517), 195-201. DOI: 10.1038/nature13679  

  • December 12, 2014
  • 02:58 AM
  • 1,103 views

Researchers Discover Well-Endowed Bone Eating Worm

by beredim in Strange Animals



Male Osedax priapus
The entire body of males has evolved  as a tool for mating

Osedax is a genus of weird, deep-sea polychaetes worms, commonly known as boneworms, zombie worms, or bone-eating worms.



The story of these creatures began twelve years ago, when researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) first discovered them, using the submarine ROV Tiburon in ... Read more »

  • December 10, 2014
  • 08:59 AM
  • 2,074 views

Pacific barreleye: Weird Fish with Transparent Head

by beredim in Strange Animals



Pacific barreleye fish
By Isa2014 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-4.0],
via Wikimedia Commons

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Argentiniformes
Family: Opisthoproctidae
Genus: Macropinna
Species: Macropinna microstoma
Common Name(s): Pacific barreleye




The Pacific barreleye fish is one the weirdest creatures lurking deep in the ocean. Named after its eyes that are ... Read more »

  • December 8, 2014
  • 04:46 PM
  • 1,321 views

Electroreception in Mammals

by beredim in Strange Animals



The duck-billed platypis is one of the handful
mammals with the ability to sense electrical fields
By TwoWings, via Wikimedia Commons

Electroreception is the biological ability to perceive natural electrical stimuli or in simpler words, the ability to perceive the world via electricity.



Electroreception is quite common in aquatic or amphibious animals, since water is a much better conductor... Read more »

Scheich, H., Langner, G., Tidemann, C., Coles, R., & Guppy, A. (1986) Electroreception and electrolocation in platypus. Nature, 319(6052), 401-402. DOI: 10.1038/319401a0  

Pettigrew JD. (1999) Electroreception in monotremes. The Journal of experimental biology, 202(Pt 10), 1447-54. PMID: 10210685  

Czech-Damal NU, Liebschner A, Miersch L, Klauer G, Hanke FD, Marshall C, Dehnhardt G, & Hanke W. (2012) Electroreception in the Guiana dolphin (Sotalia guianensis). Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society, 279(1729), 663-8. PMID: 21795271  

  • December 4, 2014
  • 07:24 PM
  • 1,156 views

Non-Echolocating Bats Actually Echolocate Using Wing Clicks

by beredim in Strange Animals

Spectacled flying fox (Pteropus conspicillatus)A non-echolocating speciesCredit: MnolfContrary to what most people think, bats are not blind. The truth is that all one-thousand something bat species can see. Most people also think that since bats are blind they rely on their echolocation to get around. Again a mistake, since many bats don't possess echolocation.For example, most species of Megabats [Suborder: Megachiroptera] have to rely exclusively on their vision. Or that's what we thought up ........ Read more »

  • December 4, 2014
  • 08:51 AM
  • 1,417 views

Journal Club: Do pufferfishes hold their breath when inflated?

by GrrlScientist in Maniraptora

SUMMARY: A newly-published study by a team of Australian scientists reveals that inflated pufferfish do not hold their breath, that they continue to obtain oxygen across their gills as usual. ... Read more »

  • November 30, 2014
  • 03:16 PM
  • 646 views

Population Genomics Reveal Recent Speciation and Rapid Evolutionary Adaptation in Polar Bears

by Olesya Pavlova in genome ecology evolution etc

The polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is a carnivorous species which is closely related to the brown bear (Ursus arctos) and is adapted to the severe living conditions of the High Arctic due to the great physiological changes happened during evolutionary … Continue reading →... Read more »

Liu, S., Lorenzen, E., Fumagalli, M., Li, B., Harris, K., Xiong, Z., Zhou, L., Korneliussen, T., Somel, M., Babbitt, C.... (2014) Population Genomics Reveal Recent Speciation and Rapid Evolutionary Adaptation in Polar Bears. Cell, 157(4), 785-794. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.03.054  

  • November 25, 2014
  • 08:00 AM
  • 891 views

As A Bird - It's No Turkey

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

The turkey is an amazing bird, beyond it’s taste on Thanksgiving. It has some really funky structures on its head, like the caruncles, wattle and snood, but research shows that they are important in mate selection. The question is why they have been retained even though they are artificially bred nowadays. Maybe they are for more than just mate selection. And yes....turkeys can fly.... Read more »

  • November 23, 2014
  • 10:52 AM
  • 1,321 views

Ampulex compressa: The Wasp That Turns Cockroaches Into Zombies

by beredim in Strange Animals

Jewel WaspBy Muhammad Mahdi Karim (Own work) [GFDL 1.2], via Wikimedia CommonsKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ArthropodaClass: InsectaOrder: HymenopteraSuborder: ApocritaSuperfamily: ApoideaFamily: AmpulicidaeGenus: AmpulexSpecies: Ampulex compressaCommon Name(s): Emerald cockroach wasp or jewel waspThe Emerald cockroach wasp is best known for its unusual parasitoid reproductive behavior, which among other includes stinging and injecting a cockroach with mind controlling toxins and using its ........ Read more »

  • November 22, 2014
  • 10:32 AM
  • 2,087 views

Hammerhead Slug: World's Largest Flatworm

by beredim in Strange Animals

Bipalium kewenseNotice the distinctive hammer-like headBy Ajaykuyiloor (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia CommonsKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: PlatyhelminthesClass: TurbellariaOrder: TricladidaSuborder: ContinenticolaFamily: GeoplanidaeSubfamily: BipaliinaeGenus: BipaliumSpecies: Bipalium kewenseCommon Names: Hammerhead slug, Greenhouse PlanarianNicknamed as the "hammerhead slug" due to its half-moon shaped head, Bipalium kewense is not your ev........ Read more »

  • November 19, 2014
  • 10:33 AM
  • 1,527 views

Video: Seals Caught Raping Penguins !

by beredim in Strange Animals

Someone's having a really bad day!In a study published a few days ago, researchers from the Mammal Research Institute at the University of Pretoria, South Africa reported three incidents of fur seals (Aptenodytes patagonicus) sexually harassing and coercing with king penguins!The authors even took footage of the large mammals forcefully putting the birds to the ground and attempting to mate with them! The incidents took place at the sub-Antarctic Marion Island, on Goodhope Bay and Funk beach.The........ Read more »

  • November 10, 2014
  • 01:17 PM
  • 1,322 views

The Dancing Kiwa Puravida (Yeti Crab)

by beredim in Strange Animals

Kiwa PuravidaCredit: Andrew ThurberKingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ArthropodaSubphylum: CrustaceaClass: MalacostracaOrder: DecapodaInfraorder: AnomuraFamily: KiwaidaeGenus: KiwaSpecies: Kiwa puravidaConservation Status: Not assessedCommon Name: Yeti crabMeet Kiwa puravida, a recently discovered deep-sea dwelling decapod and one of three species informally known as "yeti crabs". The other two are kiwa hirsuta and a creature commonly known as the "Hoff cr........ Read more »

  • November 9, 2014
  • 06:12 AM
  • 1,486 views

Sunday's Nudibranch: Jorunna funebris

by beredim in Strange Animals

 Jorunna funebrisPhoto by © Mark Rosenstein  [CC BY-NC-SA 3.0]Kingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: MolluscaClass: GastropodaSuperfamily: DoridoideaFamily: DiscodorididaeGenus: JorunnaSpecies: Jorunna funebrisCommon Name: Dotted nudibranch, Polka DotWhen I was writing my "14 Most Amazing Nudibranchs" post I had a really hard time choosing which species to include and which not.This animal group is very diverse and full of beautiful, alien-like or simply weir........ Read more »

Pattira Kasamesiri, Shettapong Meksumpun, and Charumas Meksumpun. (2012) Observations on Embryonic Development of Black-Spot Jorunna, Jorunna Funebris (Kelaart, 1859) (Gastropoda: Nudibranchia) . Journal of Shellfish Research, 33(2), 111-117. info:/http://dx.doi.org/10.2983/035.031.0114

  • November 6, 2014
  • 04:04 PM
  • 872 views

Researchers Design Cyborg Cockroaches for Search and Rescue Missions

by beredim in Strange Animals

Cyborg CockroachCredit: Eric Whitmire.Researchers at the North Carolina State University (NCSU) issued a press release today announcing that they have developed "cyborg" cockroaches with electronic circuit boards strapped to their backs. The cyborg cockroaches (or biobots) can be used to pick up sounds with their attached microphones and seek out their source.Hopefully, the technology will one day help emergency personnel to find and rescue survivors in the aftermath of disasters, like earthquak........ Read more »

Tahmid Latif, Eric Whitmire, Tristan Novak, and Alper Bozkurt. (2014) Towards Fenceless Boundaries for Solar Powered Insect Biobots. Aug. 28 at 36th Annual International IEEE EMBS Conference, Chicago, Illinois . info:/

  • November 6, 2014
  • 01:10 PM
  • 1,651 views

Silky Anteater

by beredim in Strange Animals

Silky AnteaterCredit: Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad Costa Rica (INBio) (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)Kingdom: AnimaliaPhylum: ChordataClass: MammaliaSuperorder: XenarthraOrder: PilosaSuborder:  VermilinguaFamily: CyclopedidaeGenus: CyclopesSpecies: Cyclopes didactylusConservation Status: Least Concern (Not Threatened)Common Name(s): Silky anteater, Pygmy anteater, Dwarf anteater, Two-toed anteaterThis cute, squirrel-sized critter is a silky anteater, the world’s smallest ante........ Read more »

  • November 5, 2014
  • 08:00 AM
  • 1,107 views

Doing More With Less

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

Animal-like protists are similar to animal cells, but they do many things in their single cell that we have a hard time competing with. New research shows that they may be useful in medicine, as well as lethal in some cases. N. fowleri is a brain eating amoeba, but calcium tests of foraminifera may be helpful in bone grafts and repairing skull fractures.... Read more »

Sifuentes LY, Choate BL, Gerba CP, & Bright KR. (2014) The occurrence of Naegleria fowleri in recreational waters in Arizona. Journal of environmental science and health. Part A, Toxic/hazardous substances , 49(11), 1322-30. PMID: 24967566  

  • November 1, 2014
  • 05:42 AM
  • 1,200 views

Strange, Vampire-like Deer Still Alive in Afghanistan

by beredim in Strange Animals

Musk deers use their distinctive fungs tusks during the rutting season  to compete with other males.Photo shows a Siberian musk deer, a similar and closelyrelated species.Credit: Julie Larsen Maher © WCSIt's been more than 60 years after the last confirmed sighting of the Kashmir musk deer in Afganistan, a strange deer with vampire-like fangs native to Afghanistan, Republic of India, and Pakistan.Now, a new study appearing in the latest edition of the journal Oryx reveals that the Kas........ Read more »

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