Posts tagged ‘nature’

Bubble-eyed goldfish. Full time jazz musician.


Curious gorillas gaze at a caterpillar

This is awesome. I love how the dominant male pushes the other guy out of the way to get a better look.

Here we are, walking the fine line of animal behavior and human interpretation thereof. There’s curiosity in their eyes, but is this proof that they are bored, merely checking out their surroundings, or is there some deeper message about animal cognition there?

What do you think?

(via Why Evolution Is True)

What I would give to know what was going through their heads!

I think the focus on such a small, fairly insignificant creature in their domain has to indicate curiosity on a near-human level. Not to mention there is a ton of other distractions, people everywhere, a (probably) reflective lens right in front of them.

Things like this make it undeniably clear that humans and gorillas are relatively closely related.


Birds-of Paradise Evolved in Lost Worlds

For the first time, all 39 known birds of paradise are documented in a single volume that reveals the beauty and unusual behavior of these unique birds, which evolved in remote and rugged parts of New Guinea, the Maluku Islands and eastern Australia.

more birds…

The article on the bees making honey with M&M waste has been updated with some cool pictures, worth checking out again!

Freshwater diatoms




Several of Seattle’s street corners are marked by these detailed images of (mainly) microscopic life, often with a short fact. Way cool.

(via Quaoar Power Zoo)

So it turns out that bees really love M&M dye, and it makes their honey change to different colors.

Beekeepers in northeastern France have been flummoxed by the appearance of colored honey in their hives. They suspect that the bees were traveling about 4km to a processing plant that was working with Mars’ M&M dyes, and the resulting honey was taking on those colors.

Although the colored honey tastes the same as the normal golden variety, the beekeepers don’t intend to sell it. They’re also worried that the chemicals in the dye may be harmful for the bee population, which already took a hard hit last winter.

The processing company has decided to stop keeping waste in open containers outdoors, opting to seal them and store them inside. Good call there, I think.

This is a fistulated cow, and that hole in its side leads to its stomach. This window has a number of uses beyond turning your cow into a submarine, from research to cow medicine. For example, when cows develop bacterial deficiencies they can be replenished by just scooping some out of the local window-stomach. 

Cows aren’t the only ones who can get fistulated; listen as RadioLab describes how a young man, shot in the stomach, ended up with a permanent hole to his digestive system. And how that led to some of the earliest knowledge on how our guts work.

A paper published in Nature by Cambridge researchers Sunday describes a process that might have lead to the first RNA molecules on pre-life Earth.

Essentially, a 2009 study found that cytosine, one of the four bases for RNA and DNA, could be formed with the help of four molecules: cyanamide, cyanoacetylene, glycolaldehyde, and glyceraldehyde. All of them are derived from cyanide but were still relatively complex for the origins of life, particularly the latter two. 

In this paper, the researchers found that they could use hydrogen cyanide (a relatively common molecule in space), some copper ions, and ultraviolet rays to produce glycoaldehyde and glyceraldehyde. Combined with the findings of the 2009 paper, they should be able to produce cytosine from the pre-life components likely to have been on Earth.

Possibly even more exciting, they indicated that by using different metal ions it might be possible to produce even more biological components. Can’t wait to see what they might find a few years down the road!


Opalised fossils

Australia is the only place in the world where opalised fossils are found. Fossils are usually formed when plant or animal remains are buried after death, and are slowly encased with sediments and infused with minerals, leaving a rock-like replica of the original organic material. Opalised fossils, however, replace an organism’s organic material with shimmering, solid opal. Excellent detail can be preserved both on the surface and internally, depending on how the opal forms: it’s a hydrous silicon oxide, and begins as a solution of silica in water. If an organism completely rots away, the opal will fill the empty space and create a cast of the external features—but if an organism has left organic material behind, the solution might harden to form a replica of the internal structure too. One of the richest sources of opalised fossils is Lightning Ridge in northwestern New South Wales. The fossils paint a vibrant history of animals who lived there in the Early Cretaceous Period, approximately 110 million years ago—dinosaurs, marine reptiles, fish, early mammals, molluscs, plants… Unfortunately, the opalised fossils are often cut up for jewellery or sold overseas for their beauty and value, but as they’re of significant scientific interest, researchers and paleontologists are working to preserve them.

(Image Credit: 1, 2)


Bolivian park dubbed one of most biodiverse places on Earth
Report states that there are 200 species of mammals, over 1,000 species of birds and a whopping 12,000 species of plants inside park.