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2015: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal
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A stowaway kitten hitched a ride out of the devastating floods in Texas Hill Country last week — and luckily survived the journey on top of a car engine. Pat Joblinsky was vacationing in San Marcos, Texas, when she was awoken at 1 a.m. last Sunday for a mandatory evacuation. It was 2 a.m. by the time she got on the road for a 3-hour drive home. At one point during the ride, she thought she heard meowing, but then thought she was hearing things. "I heard a kitten and I thought, I am really stressed out, I'm hearing
cats," Joblinsky said. The next morning, she heard the sound again — and lifted the hood of her car to find an adorable 1-pound kitten sitting on the engine block. She thought the rain might have kept the engine cool enough for him to survive. Joblinsky said she’ll keep the kitten, and has named him Lucky. — Watch it at Houston’s
Scientists in Australia have found two new species of a marsupial known to have sex until they die. “The breeding period is basically two to three weeks of speed-mating, with testosterone-fueled males coupling with as many females as possible, for up to 14 hours at a time," said Dr. Andrew Baker of
Queensland University of Technology. His team discovered two new species of Dusky Antechinus in Tasmania. "Ultimately, the testosterone triggers a malfunction in the stress hormone shut-off switch; the resulting rise in stress hormones causes the males' immune systems to collapse and they all drop dead before the females give birth to a single baby." In addition, the animals are endangered due to climate change, habitat loss and feral animals. The study was published in the journal
Memoirs of the Queensland Museum — Nature. — Read it at
New research finds chimpanzees have the cognitive ability to cook. Scientists from Harvard and Yale found chimps have enough patience and foresight to resist eating raw food and put it in a device they thought would cook it. The chimps would give up a raw slice of sweet potato for the prospect of a cooked slice a bit later. Because they didn’t want to give the chimps real cooking devices, the researchers created a device with two plastic bowls that fit closely together, allowing them to hide pre-cooked food in the bottom. When a chimp placed a raw piece of sweet potato in the device, the researcher shook it and offered the chimp a cooked slice. The researchers said there were several indications that the chimps had the ability to take advantage of a real cooking opportunity. The study was published in the journal
Proceedings of the Royal Society B. — Read it at
The New York Times
Pacific white-sided dolphin Piquet gave birth to an energetic calf just
after midnight Monday at the Shedd
Aquarium in Chicago as trainers and health staff cheered. Mom and calf are
doing well, and the animal care staff has been relieved to see the baby pass
its crucial first milestones, including swimming to the surface to take its
first breath. It then figured out how to be carried along in its mom’s wake
without expending its limited store of energy. Shedd staffers will monitor
Piquet and her calf around the clock for the next several months. They’re now
watching for the baby to learn how to nurse, which is the next critical
milestone. — Read it from the Shedd
A large raptor has become a fixture on the grounds of 1600
Pennsylvania Avenue, and has been involved in "more
than one lethal confrontation in broad daylight," according to The New York
Times. The hawk was likely attracted to the bounty of squirrels on
the White House lawn. “So
as long as the food is there and there's habitat — these tall buildings with
open roofs are a great place for them to hunt — and it doesn't feel threatened,
it will hang out," Tom Auer of the National
Audubon Society told the Times. — Read it at NPR
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