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    • CommentTimeOct 30th 2009
    There are a number of mammals that secrete toxins. The slow loris also has a toxin they secrete, in rare cases enough to kill a human. Incredibly cute things otherwise, and make great pets, but the nasty process of capturing and turning them into 'pets' is really, really ugly. Plus, because of the capturing and loss of habitat, they are endangered. So, as cute as they are, leave em in the wild :)

    Slow Loris
  1.  (6769.2)
    Warren posted this on his delicious before I got a chance to post it here: Kissing may have evolved to inoculate women against diseases.
    They say the gesture allows a bug named Cytomegalovirus, which is dangerous in pregnancy, to be passed from man to woman to give her time to build up protection against it.

    The bug is found in saliva and normally causes no problems. But it can be extremely dangerous if caught while pregnant and can kill unborn babies or cause birth defects.

    Writing in the journal Medical Hypotheses, researcher Dr Colin Hendrie from the University of Leeds, said: "Female inoculation with a specific male's cytomegalovirus is most efficiently achieved through mouth-to-mouth contact and saliva exchange, particularly where the flow of saliva is from the male to the typically shorter female."
    I'd also never thought about the fact that kissing someone shorter than you probably means they're getting more of your saliva than you're getting theirs. Yummy.
    • CommentTimeNov 3rd 2009
    There's this article in the current National Geographic on extinct dinosaur-eating crocodiles. There's also this feature on weird crocs from the Sahara - extinction, sometimes, has its advantages, for i would not want to have to run from dogcrocs when i get back home.
  2.  (6769.4)
    Okay, I was already a huge fan of Sea Dragons (because THEY LOOK LIKE THEY WERE DESIGNED BY DR. SEUSS!)... but to see them in motion? AWWWW! And WEIRD! And AWESOME!

    Here's the link.
    • CommentAuthorDario
    • CommentTimeNov 6th 2009
    Not as weird as most of the things on here, but I'll post it nevertheless:
    Three spectacled bears at Leipzig Zoo are losing their fur, with the worst being entirely hairless. Experts thus far haven't been able to work out what the cause is. Suggestions have included disease, dietary habits, change of natural climate, or a combination of these things.

    The 'oddness' is pretty much accentuated by their appearance.

    hairless bear
    • CommentTimeNov 14th 2009
    Poo armour worn by young casebearing leaf beetle:

    The experiments showed this fecal armor could successfully repel predators.
    Often the predators did not even investigate the potential meals, presumably because the beetles fooled them into believing they were just turds.

    (Photo Credit: Christopher Brown.)
    • CommentTimeNov 14th 2009
    I've not any picture or video, but i'm currently doing a journal report on Multi Dimensional Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy , which is the single most SCIENCE!!!phrase i've ever encountered.
  3.  (6769.8)
    @Davies0010 That is pretty SCIENCE! There's only one thing I know that'll beat it:

    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeNov 16th 2009
    Leopard seal befriends wildlife photographer - tries to feed him penguins.
      CommentAuthorcity creed
    • CommentTimeNov 17th 2009
    thought this might be the right place for this:
    Bacterial apparel
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeDec 15th 2009
    Octopis have been spotted using coconut shells as tools.

    They carry the coconut shells aroudn with them then withdraw into them for protection when they need rest.

    Some even carry around the two halves of a coconut shell and use them to form a sphere aroudn temselves.

    This the first reported tool use in an invertebrate.

    So did any SF writers ever suggest a species might first evolve tools for defense like this?

    I can't think of an example off-hand.

    • CommentAuthorRyan C
    • CommentTimeDec 15th 2009
    There was a book or short story had Orthopods being used to fly starships and, given time, I could figure it out. Alastair Reynolds?
    • CommentTimeDec 15th 2009
    Trying to remember where I read it, but there was an argument made that cephalopods were the animal most likely to evolve into sentience after man, but the problem was that their short lifespan didn't allow that. Could be a load of bunk, but I thought it was pretty cool, in a Lovecraftian sense.
  4.  (6769.14)
    @ Kosmopolit — I'm somewhat perplexed by the media coverage of this, because Mark Seifert posted YouTube videos of octopi doing this in the blog section months ago.

    I guess scientists don't watch YouTube.
  5.  (6769.15)
    There was this French movie on SBS last week with these flying robot octopus things invading the earth? but seriously, that's pretty cool. Coconuts!
    • CommentTimeDec 17th 2009
    And now, the Hox domain presents: mutant flies

    And yes, those are legs coming out the eyes.
    My evolution classes out here have been fun.
    • CommentAuthorchenryhen
    • CommentTimeDec 17th 2009
    @aike That was the Animal Planet The Future is Wild.
    • CommentAuthorroadscum
    • CommentTimeDec 17th 2009 edited
    @ Kosmopolit: Coconut shells? Hmmm, a species of mimic octopus that impersonates seahorses?
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeDec 22nd 2009
    A group of University of Kansas researchers working with Chinese colleagues have discovered a venomous, birdlike raptor that thrived some 128 million years ago in China. This is the first report of venom in the lineage that leads to modern birds.

    "This thing is a venomous bird for all intents and purposes," said Larry Martin, KU professor and curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Institute. "It was a real shock to us and we made a special trip to China to work on this."
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeDec 24th 2009
    If ever there was a story that illustrated the lengths a male will go to have sex, it is this. Male Muscovy ducks have a penis up to 40 centimetres long – almost half the length of their body – but that's just one of the twists and turns in the story of how female and male ducks try to outsmart each other.

    A female Muscovy duck chooses a mate based on her assessment of his courtship and plumage. But rejected males don't give up easily, and can force copulation on unwilling females. The long, flexible penis helps them do so.

    So females have evolved to wrest back control of copulation, says Patricia Brennan at Yale University. "The males and females become locked in this arms race, each trying to dominate the outcome. It's fascinating to find such a clear and obvious example of sexual conflict."


    Brennan's team also timed the male's penis eversion, which took a mere one-third of a second – around 60 times faster than was previously thought (see video above). "This definitely gives the males a mechanism by which they can copulate," says Brennan, who was taken aback by the speed. "To be totally honest, I'm still in shock," she says.