Scientists have discovered that these beautiful Blainville’s beaked whales enter a ‘stealth mode’ by becoming silent and not communicating with each other when near the surface. Little is known about these animals as they spend most of their time diving deep in the ocean. Below a depth of 450m the whales communicated with a series of clicks, buzzes and whistles. But it’s thought at the shallower depths they are at more risk of being discovered by killer whales and so enter their radio silence.
Posts Tagged ‘science’
Lion are more likely to attack you just after a full moon scientists have found. Using the data from 500 lion attacks, they found that most attacks occurred when the moon is waning, just after full moon. As lions use the cover of darkness to hunt, this lack of moonlight aids their chances of attack. Scientists also found attacks were more likely to occur in the rainy season when the clouds obscured the moonlight, also helping the lions.
Scientists have discovered that the arctic polar bear has a rather warmer (and definitely rainier!) history. Fossils found recently in Irish caves have DNA that show modern polar bears have all evolved from a female brown bear in the last ice age. She is thought to have interbred with a polar bear…creating the hybrid offspring which survives today. Interactions between the two species is not unusual and scientists have traced contact over the last 100,000 years when unusually hot or cold weather allowed their paths to cross.
Photo : AP
Scientists have discovered the world’s loudest animal (relative to its size)…and its something you might have come across yourself, the humble water boatman! Only a few centimetres long, they can produce an ear-splitting 99.2 decibels! The males attract mates by creating the song by rubbing its abdomen.
Photo : Alamy
Good news for the endangered Tasmanian Devil, scientists are hoping that mapping the animal’s genetics will help win the battle against the devastating facial cancer that is wiping out the species. The world’s largest carnivorous marsupial has been battling the disease since the 1990s…but unlike human cancers, it is highly contagious acting like a virus and can be passed by simply two animals touching. The disease kills the animal within 9 weeks and scientists estimate the whole species will be wiped out without human intervention. Scientists are hoping discovering which animals are genetically best to preserve will help the species survive.
Having come face to face with these small but very noisy creatures I hope something can be done to save them. Incredibly, although they are only the size of a dog, weighing around 7kg, they have the strongest bite per unit mass of any living mammal…or as the guide I met says, their teeth can shatter a cow’s skull!
Photo : PA
Scientists have found that pigeons recognise ‘friendly faces’ who are much more likely to feed them and gravitate towards them…instead of wasting time on the people who are likely to just chase them away!
Up to 28 million pigeons live in Europe, with the majority in urban areas surrounded by humans who provide the majority of their food. In an experiment, the birds quickly learnt to differentiate between a ‘friendly’ feeder and an ‘agressive’ one who would chase the birds away, even when they swapped coats! This implies the pigeons are using distinctive human characteristics to tell the people apart.
Harbour seals can use just their whiskers to detect the fattest fish when swimming underwater. They sense the differences in the wake left by the fish which helps determine their size and shape…and therefore the best prey to go for!
Scientists in Cologne Zoo set up an experiment with paddles to mimic the disturbance created by fish. Henry the seal, wearing headphones and a mask to limit his senses, then swam up to one of the two boxes to get a fish reward. They found he could tell the size and shape of the paddle used proving how useful their whiskers are!
Bald penguins chicks have been baffling scientists trying to figure out the cause of their feather loss. These penguins have been found on both sides of the Atlantic; in South Africa and Argentina. The disease also affects different species of penguins and there are fears it’s spreading. Whilst it may not look serious, scientists have found that bald chicks take longer to grow.
Photo : Jeffrey Smith
While this Pink Handfish isn’t going to win any beauty awards…it might for its ingenuity. Instead of swimming, these angler fish walk across sea beds with their hand-like fins. The first of these species were found in 1802 but it’s only recently been properly studied and 14 separate species have been found. They all live off Southern and Eastern coasts of Australia and are considered vulnerable due to their limited ability to flee predators.
Britain could be under a raccoon invasion as abandoned pets are dumped in the countryside. Legislation changed in 2007 so people no longer need a licence to keep them as pets. But when inexperienced owners can’t cope with the change in temperament when they reach sexual maturity, they panic and release them into the wild. Experts are warning of a similar population explosion to the non-native grey squirrel…now one of the most ubiquitous critters in the UK!
There’s a lot to be worried about, in 1934 a pair of raccoons were released in Germany to ‘enrich local fauna’ and for sport…now there are an estimated 500,000 – 1 million raccoons and a decrease in bird numbers as the bandits raid their nests for eggs.