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hikergirl:
Using infrared cameras, surgically implanted electrocardiograms, and radio transmitters, Barnes and his team monitored hibernating black bears (Ursus americanus) for three years. Think of it as CBS’s Big Brother—except someone actually cared about the bear feeds. Their research showed that bears can drop their heart rate from 55 to 9 beats per minute and reduce their metabolism by an incredible 53 percent. They accomplish this without compromising much on body temperature, a crucial fact that allows bears to be more alert than true hibernators. (Those fancy squirrels can require hours to thaw out.)
Higher body temperatures also allow hibernating bears to keep newborn cubs warm. During a period when most animals are locked in hand-to-hand combat with the bony fists of Death, bears perform the miracle of Life. Bear reproduction is actually sort of a boring story though, so let’s move on to …
I’m kidding, of course. Bear reproduction is all kinds of curious. The coitus occurs in spring or summer, when many animals are already giving birth. The male is aided by a penis bone called a baculum, which is not attached to the rest of the skeleton. (Baculi are rather common among mammals, from walruses and chimps to cats and bats. Because the Internet is a wonderful, horrible place, you can purchase baculi online, where they are marketed improbably as Mountain Man Toothpicks. Humans do not have penis bones, alas. Just the euphemism.)
After bears rock it in the usual way, the reproductive process takes a hard left from everything you learned in that sex-ed class taught by the school gym teacher. Following fertilization, the baby bears stop growing after becoming multicelled blastocysts. For a few months, they just float around in a state of arrested development known as delayed implantation. Should the female bear fail to fatten up enough over the course of the year, her body can put the kibosh on pregnancy in an act of self-preservation. Conversely, if times are good, her body will allow more blastocysts to develop and implant in her womb—adjusting the number of cubs created based on fat stores.
Even though the deed is done months ahead of time, active gestation is surprisingly short—just 60 days in polar bears—and this results in helpless, underdeveloped cubs that are usually born between November and February, depending on the species and climate. Super-rich milk ensures that by the time spring comes, the cubs are ready to hit the ground running in a life-or-death race to rotundness. Polar bear milk contains up to 46 percent fat and tastes like the chalky cream of a fishy cow. And how do we know what it tastes like? Well, because polar bear scientists like Andrew Derocher are absurdly dedicated dudes. (click through to read the whole thing)
 Photo by Kaisa Siren/AFP/Getty Images(via Do bears hibernate: Polar bear, black bear, grizzly bear sex and torpor. - Slate Magazine)


Interesting, no?

hikergirl:

Using infrared cameras, surgically implanted electrocardiograms, and radio transmitters, Barnes and his team monitored hibernating black bears (Ursus americanus) for three years. Think of it as CBS’s Big Brother—except someone actually cared about the bear feeds. Their research showed that bears can drop their heart rate from 55 to 9 beats per minute and reduce their metabolism by an incredible 53 percent. They accomplish this without compromising much on body temperature, a crucial fact that allows bears to be more alert than true hibernators. (Those fancy squirrels can require hours to thaw out.)

Higher body temperatures also allow hibernating bears to keep newborn cubs warm. During a period when most animals are locked in hand-to-hand combat with the bony fists of Death, bears perform the miracle of Life. Bear reproduction is actually sort of a boring story though, so let’s move on to …

I’m kidding, of course. Bear reproduction is all kinds of curious. The coitus occurs in spring or summer, when many animals are already giving birth. The male is aided by a penis bone called a baculum, which is not attached to the rest of the skeleton. (Baculi are rather common among mammals, from walruses and chimps to cats and bats. Because the Internet is a wonderful, horrible place, you can purchase baculi online, where they are marketed improbably as Mountain Man Toothpicks. Humans do not have penis bones, alas. Just the euphemism.)

After bears rock it in the usual way, the reproductive process takes a hard left from everything you learned in that sex-ed class taught by the school gym teacher. Following fertilization, the baby bears stop growing after becoming multicelled blastocysts. For a few months, they just float around in a state of arrested development known as delayed implantation. Should the female bear fail to fatten up enough over the course of the year, her body can put the kibosh on pregnancy in an act of self-preservation. Conversely, if times are good, her body will allow more blastocysts to develop and implant in her womb—adjusting the number of cubs created based on fat stores.

Even though the deed is done months ahead of time, active gestation is surprisingly short—just 60 days in polar bears—and this results in helpless, underdeveloped cubs that are usually born between November and February, depending on the species and climate. Super-rich milk ensures that by the time spring comes, the cubs are ready to hit the ground running in a life-or-death race to rotundness. Polar bear milk contains up to 46 percent fat and tastes like the chalky cream of a fishy cow. And how do we know what it tastes like? Well, because polar bear scientists like Andrew Derocher are absurdly dedicated dudes. (click through to read the whole thing)


Photo by Kaisa Siren/AFP/Getty Images(via Do bears hibernate: Polar bear, black bear, grizzly bear sex and torpor. - Slate Magazine)

Interesting, no?

(via allcreatures)

340 notes

allcreatures:


Two orphaned wombats, called Turtle-belle and Phoenix, are all packed and ready for San Diego. Here they will become some of the first animals to move into the city zoo’s new Australian habitat. The cuddly marsupials will travel in style, boarding a Qantas flight in comfortable custom-built crates, complete with a bed of hay.

Picture: Jay Town/Newspix / Rex Features (via Pictures of the day: 30 November 2012 - Telegraph)

allcreatures:

Two orphaned wombats, called Turtle-belle and Phoenix, are all packed and ready for San Diego. Here they will become some of the first animals to move into the city zoo’s new Australian habitat. The cuddly marsupials will travel in style, boarding a Qantas flight in comfortable custom-built crates, complete with a bed of hay.

Picture: Jay Town/Newspix / Rex Features (via Pictures of the day: 30 November 2012 - Telegraph)

233 notes

dendroica:


For bonobos, yawning is contagious, but only between friends.
Yawns spread more easily between family and close friends, and from high-status monkeys to those lower on the totem pole, according to a study published online today (Nov. 14) in the journal PLoS ONE. This pattern of social yawning mimics one found in humans and suggests infectious yawning is a byproduct of empathy, which coordinates emotions in a group.
“It underlines that the mechanism of yawn contagion in the two species is the same,” said study co-author Elisabetta Palagi, a primate researcher at the University of Pisa in Italy. “One of the possible functions of yawn contagion is to synchronize individuals of a social group. In humans, yawn contagion is extremely important but just between people who share strong bonds.”
Many animals spread yawns: Chimpanzees and baboons catch them from each other, dogs can catch yawns from their owners, and even parakeets yawn contagiously.
In humans and chimpanzees, contagious yawning follows social rules: People yawn if friends do, but not if a complete stranger does. Those who haven’t mastered empathy, such as babies (of the human, canine and chimpanzee varieties) don’t yawn infectiously, and neither do children with autism.
Because the infectiousness of yawning depends on social ties, scientists have argued it is a byproduct of empathy, or the ability to understand someone else’s emotions, Palagi told LiveScience. The same mechanism may underlie other emotional contagions, such as infectious laughter and smiling.
To see whether bonobo yawns spread like human ones, Palagi and her colleague Elisa Demuru recorded 12 bonobos for three months as they groomed each other, had lots of sex, played, fought and made up at the Apenheul Primate Park in the Netherlands. During that time, adult monkeys yawned 1,260 times. Each time one of the apes opened its mouth to yawn, the team watched to see if another bonobo did so within three minutes.
As in humans, Palagi’s team found that yawns were more infectious between close friends or kin, and between male and female bonobos. (They used food sharing and grooming behavior to determine which bonobos were best buddies).
Interestingly, yawns also spread from the top banana bonobo to those of lower status.
The findings support the idea that contagious yawning is a form of basic communication that relies on empathy.

(via Bonobos Catch Yawns from Friends | LiveScience)
I yawned while reading this. >.>

dendroica:

For bonobos, yawning is contagious, but only between friends.

Yawns spread more easily between family and close friends, and from high-status monkeys to those lower on the totem pole, according to a study published online today (Nov. 14) in the journal PLoS ONE. This pattern of social yawning mimics one found in humans and suggests infectious yawning is a byproduct of empathy, which coordinates emotions in a group.

“It underlines that the mechanism of yawn contagion in the two species is the same,” said study co-author Elisabetta Palagi, a primate researcher at the University of Pisa in Italy. “One of the possible functions of yawn contagion is to synchronize individuals of a social group. In humans, yawn contagion is extremely important but just between people who share strong bonds.”

Many animals spread yawns: Chimpanzees and baboons catch them from each other, dogs can catch yawns from their owners, and even parakeets yawn contagiously.

In humans and chimpanzees, contagious yawning follows social rules: People yawn if friends do, but not if a complete stranger does. Those who haven’t mastered empathy, such as babies (of the human, canine and chimpanzee varieties) don’t yawn infectiously, and neither do children with autism.

Because the infectiousness of yawning depends on social ties, scientists have argued it is a byproduct of empathy, or the ability to understand someone else’s emotions, Palagi told LiveScience. The same mechanism may underlie other emotional contagions, such as infectious laughter and smiling.

To see whether bonobo yawns spread like human ones, Palagi and her colleague Elisa Demuru recorded 12 bonobos for three months as they groomed each other, had lots of sex, played, fought and made up at the Apenheul Primate Park in the Netherlands. During that time, adult monkeys yawned 1,260 times. Each time one of the apes opened its mouth to yawn, the team watched to see if another bonobo did so within three minutes.

As in humans, Palagi’s team found that yawns were more infectious between close friends or kin, and between male and female bonobos. (They used food sharing and grooming behavior to determine which bonobos were best buddies).

Interestingly, yawns also spread from the top banana bonobo to those of lower status.

The findings support the idea that contagious yawning is a form of basic communication that relies on empathy.

(via Bonobos Catch Yawns from Friends | LiveScience)

I yawned while reading this. >.>

(via allcreatures)