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Jan. 2, 2014: We've scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it's all right here.
Ever wonder what your dog is thinking? Wonder no more: Swedish researchers claim their invention No More Woof will be able to translate a dog’s thoughts into human words. The project, which has raised $16,000 through crowdfunding, uses a headset that will collect EEG signals from a dog and software that can then translate those signals into thought. The device is set to go on sale in April of this year. No word yet on what dogs think about the device. — Read it at Philly.com
State wildlife officials in Utah say the West Nile virus is to blame for 27 bald eagle deaths in the state last month. The eagles, whose symptoms included leg paralysis and tremors, are believed to have contracted the disease by preying on sick or dead water birds that were infected by the virus, said Leslie McFarlane, Utah wildlife disease coordinator. "This is really kind of undocumented. Eagles have been known to feed on birds infected with West Nile virus but the transmission hasn't happened on this large of a scale," she said. "And the total number of birds we're talking about is on a grand scale that may not have been seen before." — Read it at The Huffington Post
Hellabrunn zookeepers placed a camera in expectant polar bear Giovanna's den to hopefully capture the momentous event. And the new mama delivered, in every possible way: While birthing her twin cubs, Giovanna positioned herself so that she was directly in the camera’s field of view, much to the delight of her keepers. This is the first time a polar bear birth has been captured on color film. “It is as if we were there live watching the labour and birth of a polar bear and, as if that weren’t enough, Giovanna showed us not one, but two very different births!” said Dr. Andreas Knieriem, the zoo’s director. —Read it at Zooborns
Documentary filmmakers discovered an interesting snack for dolphins that may do more than fill them up. While working on Dolphins: Spy in the Pod, the crew noticed that after eating puffer fish, dolphins seemed to enter a trance-like state. "[They were] hanging around with their noses at the surface as if fascinated by their own reflection," John Downer, executive producer of the documentary, toldInternational Business Times. "It reminded us of that craze a few years ago when people started licking toads to get a buzz." But experts say it doesn’t seem likely that puffer fish would be a first-choice drug in the sea. "The puffer fish's tetrodotoxin shuts down nerve cells, but it doesn't cross the blood brain barrier," said Christie Wilcox, a researcher at the University of Hawaii. "It's not like recreational drugs that have some effect on the brain, so I find it hard to believe that it would be pleasurable." —Read it at Yahoo News
Remember the K-9 that honored his partner at a funeral? Or how about the adorable piglet with his very own wheelchair? The Today Show has posted its 10 most popular animal stories of the year and has asked viewers to vote for their favorite. Winners will be announced at the end of the week. — Read it at Today
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