Some Fruits Actually Adapt Themselves to Attract the Animals That Eat Them, and It Makes a Lot of Sense
Can’t resist that juicy, ripe summer raspberry? It turns out your appetite may not be driving the show — the raspberry plant likely knows exactly what it’s doing.
Almost all fruits have seeds, and they’re designed that way for reproductive purposes; animals eat the fruit, transport the seeds internally, and — eventually — deposit them far and wide, ensuring the continuation of the plant species.
The Need to Travel With Emotional Support Animals Is Real, but Some Are Ruining It for the Rest of Us
As more people globally are living with mental illnesses such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression, the safety and comfort of support animals is growing in popularity. Traveling with Emotional Support Animals (ESAs), however, can be a challenge, largely because not every mode of transportation allows for animals.
Recently a student traveling home on Spirit Airlines attempted to bring her companion dwarf hamster along with her. The Transportation Safety Administration allows for traveling with just about any licensed emotional support pets; Spirit Airlines, however, does not.
Many animals can learn to understand human language, and some even learn to speak it. Studies involving primates, dolphins, and domesticated animals confirm what any dog owner already knows: No matter what language we speak, the animals we interact with know the meaning of some of our words.
The average dog knows 165 human words, and smart ones can more than 250 words — about the same as a two-year-old human. An elephant named Koshik learned to imitate six words of human speech — in Korean — and use them to communicate with his trainers. Seals and sea lions in captivity learn to understand several human words, and some learn to speak it, including a harbor seal named Hoover who was raised in a Maine household and learned to say, “Hello there!” and “Hey! Hey! Come over here!” in a New England accent.
The first time children can recognize themselves in a mirror is a significant developmental milestone. However, a new study has found that young bottlenose dolphins reach this stage sooner than human infants.
Human babies typically develop self-awareness, or the ability to recognize that the reflection in a mirror is themselves and not just another baby, around 12–18 months. In contrast, according to a study published this month in PLOS One, bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) gain this awareness around seven months.
There are 19 billion chickens on the planet, and they exist at our pleasure. Yet we don’t really understand them. Perhaps the wisdom of the chicken isn’t something the world needs to hear, but on the other hand, as factory farming techniques proliferate around the world, and the risk of diseases intensifies, any information chickens can communicate is valuable.
Engineers and poultry scientists at The University of Georgia and Georgia Institute of Technology are collaborating with farmers to interpret the chicken language to monitor flock and farm conditions. They’ve developed software that can listen in chicken facilities and alert farmers to problems with temperature, air quality, illness, or other stressors.
The complicated process of catheterizing — inserting a thin, flexible tube into a medical patient for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes — may soon be made easier thanks to an unexpected model: the beetle penis.
The sexual organ of the thistle tortoise beetle (Cassida rubiginosa), a Eurasian-native green leaf beetle originally introduced to New Zealand to control invasive Canada thistle, has caught the attention of scientists for its unusual shape and structure. Though the female beetle’s sexual organ is unusually complicated — both long and spiral in shape — damage to and breakage of the male’s appendage is exceedingly rare.
Cows have a reputation as docile, calm creatures. But the truth is much more grim. In 2015, cows officially became the deadliest large animals in Britain. And yet, the current trend of taking selfies with cows and newborn calves continues—with potentially fatal consequences.
According to a 2009 article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 20 people a year are killed by cows in the United States. In most of these instances (16), the cows purposely attacked the humans, usually resulting in fatal injuries to the head and chest. In England, 74 people were killed between 2000 and 2015.