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May 16, 2013: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
A new study by researchers at the University of Arizona finds that human athletes aren’t the only ones who get a euphoric feeling from exercise — dogs do, too. The researchers say the reason for the feeling might be a natural payoff for doing moderate to intense exercise. They found that after using a treadmill, both dogs and humans had a significant increase in endocannabinoid signaling, which sends reward signals to the brain. “A neurobiological reward for endurance exercise may explain why humans and other cursorial mammals habitually engage in aerobic exercise despite the higher associated energy costs and injury risks, and why non-cursorial mammals avoid such locomotor behaviors,” David Raichlen of the University of Arizona and his colleagues wrote in their study, published in the Journal of Experimental Biology. — Read it at Discovery News
Researchers have found the oldest known ape and Old World monkey fossils in a riverbed in Tanzania. Dating back 25 million years, they said the remnants reveal when apes and monkeys first diverged. The discovery supports longstanding DNA evidence that suggested the species diverged 25 to 30 million years ago, but until now, no fossils older than 20 million years had been found. "These discoveries are important because they offer the earliest fossil evidence for either of these primate groups," said the study’s lead author, anthropologist Nancy Stevens of Ohio University. The study was published in the journal Nature. — Read it at Live Science
Fans of a 52-foot inflatable duck were disappointed to see it deflated in Hong Kong’s harbor this week. The work of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, the huge yellow bird has been transported to cities around the world since 2007. It arrived in Hong Kong on May 2, and was becoming a popular tourist attraction. But not to worry: exhibition organizers say the duck was deflated for routine maintenance work. If the duck has a clean bill of health, it will be inflated quickly, “so the public can appreciate it,” said Andrew Yeung, a spokesman for the Harbour City shopping center that arranged the installation. The giant yellow bird is due to stay in Hong Kong until June 9. — See photos at BBC News
A homeowner in southwest Florida contacted law enforcement on Monday after spotting an endangered panther kitten dragging its rear leg. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and its partners located the 9-month-old female in thick brush and sedated her in order to rescue her. Veterinarians determined that she had several injuries, likely from a vehicle collision, including a compound fracture in her right rear leg. She underwent surgery and is now recovering at White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee, Fla. The FWC says the kitten has a “very good chance of returning to the wild.” — Read it from FWS
OK, it’s not to officially join a team. But some lucky dogs have been asked to make appearances to “throw” ceremonial first pitches at professional baseball games this month. Norman the Scooter Dog trotted the ball over the plate at the opening of a Texas Rangers game earlier on May 3, and then Tillman the Skateboarding Bulldog took to the mound at a game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Miami Marlins on Saturday. We’re seeing the start of a cute trend here! — See photos at Dogster
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