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Jan. 29, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Humans aren't the only ones that dress up for Mardi Gras. In the famed French Quarter of New Orleans, costumed canines (and owners) strutted their stuff in this year’s Krewe of Barkus parade on Sunday. The tradition dates back to 1992, and the parade gained official status in 1994. This year, many of the participants took on the hit TLC reality show Honey Boo Boo. Their doggie takes on it included Honey Bow Wow and the Krewe of Honey Do Do. And, of course, there were plenty of more traditional looks, too. Registration fees for the parade go to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. — Read it at New Orleans’ Times-Picayune
A new study by researchers at Arizona State University unravels some of the mysteries about the elastic properties of spider silk, using a non-invasive laser light scattering technique. "Spider silk has a unique combination of mechanical strength and elasticity that make it one of the toughest materials we know," said Jeffery Yarger of ASU's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, who was the study’s lead researcher. The team studied the molecular structure of the silk, which is made from a substance related to collagen, in an effort to use the information to improve materials including bulletproof vests and artificial tendons, as well as many other items. The results were published in Nature Materials. — Read it at Science Daily
Much like humans start to clap or walk together, research by Japanese scientists shows that monkeys often spontaneously synchronize their movements with their friends. In an experiment, three trained macaques were seated facing each other to do a button-pushing task, and then were seated across from a video screen showing a monkey doing the task, sometimes without audio. They found that the monkeys were best at coordinating their movements when they could both see and hear their partner. In a paper published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, the researchers speculated that synchronization could be tied to behaviors that are important for survival in the wild, such as facial imitation. — Read it at Live Science
When workers at a Scottish ferry terminal saw a male seal pup in a parking lot on Jan. 17, they tried everything to get him back into the water, but he refused. So, when he was still there the next morning, they called the Scottish SPCA for help — and put him in the trunk of a worker’s car to try to keep him safe. The seal, who workers aptly named Smartie, pushed down one of the rear seats and made his way to the dashboard instead. “Normally we’d ask people to leave seals alone until we arrive, but there was a risk he could have been injured,” said animal officer Alistair Hill. Hill said the pup was likely trying to escape choppy seas during bad weather. “He ended up watching the storm out the windscreen of the car from his warm, dry spot on the dash,” he said. Smartie is now recovering at Scotland’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre, and officials hope to return him to the wild in about a month. — Read it from the Scottish SPCA
The Grammy nominee and her husband, fellow country star Blake Shelton, have six dogs at home, in what she admits is a “full-on farm.” "I have a huge passion for rescuing animals," she told People. She said she takes two small dogs, Delta and Cher, on tour with her, and that Betty sometimes comes, too — but she’s more of a “daddy’s girl.” The animal lover recently helped launch The Pedigree Feeding Project, an initiative where the company will provide a pet shelter in a worthy community with a year’s worth of dog food. — Read it at People Pets
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