Moss Phlox Blooms In Hitsujiyama Park

SAITAMA, JAPAN — MAY 01: A cat is seen sitting in Moss phlox flowers in full bloom in Hitsujiyama Park on May 1,2008 in Chichibu, Saitama Prefecture, Japan. Over 400,000 pink, white and purple «Moss Phlox» bloom in approximately 16,500 square meters.
(Photo : Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images)
There’s a pretty good reason why cat lovers flock to Japan. Not only does the country boast a good number of cat cafés, but the there are also 11 different cat islands that have been virtually dubbed as feline paradises. Cat lovers have been descending on these tiny isles hoping for a glimpse of fluffy kitties prowling the roads freely.
One of the most notable of the bunch is Tashirojima Island, a small fishing island off the coast of Ishinomaki City in the Miyagi Prefecture. According to Japan Guide, the hundreds of felines have long dominated the land, outnumbering human inhabitants by nearly four to o… Read more

Recreating the womb: New Hope for Premature Babies

Artificial wombs could be the future of caring for premature babies. In animal testing, a lamb survived and developed inside a biobag for four weeks.
(Photo : The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia/YouTube Screenshot)
Researchers from the Children«s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) are searching for ways to help premature babies survive. The research is now in the early stages of animal testing where a lamb was placed in an artificial womb to mimic the conditions inside the mother»s uterus.
The biobag is filled with amniotic fluid and attached to a placenta that helps keep blood oxygenated. The first attempt appears to be a success as the premature lamb grew successfully inside the artificial womb or the biobag for three to four weeks.
“We start with a tiny fetus that is pretty inert and spends most of its time sleeping. Over four weeks we see that fetus open its eyes, grow wool, breathe… Read more

Tarsier

Two new species of tarsiers have been discovered in Indonesia.
(Photo : zefrank1/YouTube)
Tarsiers, tiny nocturnal primates that remarkably look like Star Wars icon Yoda, are only found in certain parts of southeast Asia. Recently, scientists discovered two new species of the strange-looking animal in the Sulawesi island of Indonesia, a region where forests are in rapid decline.
According to a report from Conservation International, the two newly discovered species of tarsiers were spotted in the northern part of Sulawesi. Dubbed the Tarsius spectrumgurskyae and Tarsius supriatnai , the two are very similar but display distinct vocalizations and genetic data.
“These two new species are the 80th and 81st primates new to science described since 2000 – this represents about 16 percent of all primate species known, and is indicative of how little we know of our planet’s unique and… Read more

An African Safari

Elephant versus crocodile: which one wins?
(Photo : Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Elephants and crocodiles don’t often find themselves locked in a deadly battle, but a thrilling footage of one such battle has emerged from the Liwonde National Park in Malawi.
A group of tourists who were on a boating safari were able to capture the terrifying encounter on film, according to a report from Mashable. The clip showed a herd of elephants trudging through a shallow river when a crocodile suddenly jumped out of the water and chomped on the trunk of one of the smaller members of the herd.
The rest of the elephants backed away, but roared ferociously as the crocodile trashed around violently and refused to let go of the elephant’s trunk. Eventually, the largest elephant of the herd came forward and appeared to help its friend, stomping on the crocodile in the process.
Alexander Makanga, wh… Read more

elephants

Elephants are truly one of the most intelligent species in the animal kingdom, as proven by a simple test recently conducted by the University of Cambridge.
(Photo : Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Elephants are highly intelligent creatures, but the animals might be even more self-aware than we thought.
A new study showed that Asian elephants were able to pass a simple body-awareness test that suggests they know how to use their bodies as tools to achieve a goal.
According to a report from Science Daily, researchers from the University of Cambridge — led by Dr. Josh Plotnik — conducted a test that was adapted from an experiment in which children were tasked to push a trolley that’s attached on a mat that the children stood on. Humans tend to make a connection between their body and the environment after passing 18 months of age.
The scientists modified the test to see how elephants will res… Read more

Brown-Tailed Moth Caterpillar

Thousands of the brown-tailed caterpillars’ cocoons are found around Haybridge Basin, usually in shrubs and hedges.
(Photo : sjwillerton/YouTube)
It’s not too common to hear about entire villages being this scared over insects. When there are thousands of venomous ones, the havoc is understandable. Locals in Heybridge Basin, Essex, in England are panicking over an outbreak of toxic caterpillars terrorizing the quiet little village.
According to a report from The Mirror, thousands of the brown-tailed moth caterpillars’ cocoons are found around the Haybridge Basin, usually in shrubs and hedges.
«The infestation here is so bad, with every tree having a nest of about 500 caterpillars in it and we are trying so hard to get rid of them,» said local resident Jill Doubtfire.
Locals are terrified — and with good reason. Even just coming into contact with a small amount of the toxic caterp… Read more

Want Your Pets to Feel Better? Placebo Effect Might Work, Experts Say

New pet? A handful of companies make life easier for new pet-adopters by offering up to a week’s worth of paid leaves to help the animal integrate fully at home.
(Photo : Leon Neal/Getty Images)
HarperCollins Publishers India (HCI) is granting their employees «pawternity leaves» when they newly adopt a pet. Starting this year, those who take in a dog, cat or any other pet will be entitled to up to five working days of paid leave to settle in with their new animal friend, according to a report from Huffington Post India.
It might seem strange but anyone who has ever had a pet can attest that settling in at home with a new pet can be nearly as stressful as taking care of a newly born baby. Companies like HarperCollins seek to encourage responsible adoption of animals as well as make life easier for their staff who choose to open their homes to furry friends.
“At HarperCollins we want the very best of wor… Read more

dead whale

In the past 15 months, NOAA has reported 41 humpback whales deaths from North Carolina to Maine along the Atlantic coast.
(Photo : Mario Tama/Getty Images)
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is currently probing an «unusual mortality event» on the number of humpback whale deaths. In the past 15 months, NOAA has reported 41 humpback whale deaths from North Carolina to Maine along the Atlantic coast.
NOAA has conducted a full necropsy examination on 20 humpback whales. The agency revealed that 10 of the 20 whales died due to ship collisions while the cause of death for the rest of the whales is still unknown.
«Of the 20 whales examined, 10 had evidence of blunt force trauma or pre-mortem propeller wounds indicative of vessel strike,» NOAA said in an official report.
This is in connection with a recent study, published in the journal Marine Mammal Science, which rev… Read more

Two New Species of African Mole-Rats Discovered in Tanzania

Scientists working in Tanzania have discovered and named two new species of the mole-rat genus Fukomys . The research was published in the journal PeerJ .

The Hanang mole-rat ( Fukomys hanangensis ). Image credit: Chris Faulkes.
African mole-rats of the family Bathyergidae are burrowing rodents that occur throughout sub-Saharan Africa, with much of their range subdivided by the Great Rift Valley.
Also known as blesmols, they have been widely studied because of the variation in their social and reproductive behaviors.
More recently, the naked mole-rat ( Heterocephalus glaber ) has also emerged as a model species for the study of longevity and cancer resistance.
“A clear understanding of African mole-rats’ biodiversity and evolutionary relationships has become increasingly important, not lea… Read more

Study: Oxygen-Deprived Naked Mole-Rats Turn into ‘Plants’

Deprived of oxygen, African naked mole-rats ( Heterocephalus glaber ) can survive by metabolizing a type of sugar called fructose just as plants do, a new study says.

Prof. Gary Lewin holding a naked mole-rat ( Heterocephalus glaber ). Image credit: Roland Gockel, MDC.
The naked mole-rat is a nearly hairless and nearly sightless burrowing rodent found throughout most of Somalia, central Ethiopia, Djibouti, and much of northern and eastern Kenya.
The species lives in large colonies, which vary in number from 75 to 300 individuals, deep underground in hypoxic conditions.
The colonies are extended family groups, with overlapping generations. Reproduction is restricted to a single reproductive female (the queen), and at most three breeding males.
Adults are 3-4 inches (7-10 cm) long and weigh 30-35… Read more

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