Reblogged from cosmosmagazine.com July 24th, 2009 at 1:12 pm 0 notes #nature
Whale researchers have witnessed the birth of a humpback whale off the coast of Australia. This may be the first time the initial breath of a humpback calf has ever been photographed.
Reblogged from dsc.discovery.com July 29th, 2009 at 11:13 pm 1 note #weather #nature
A small, fist-sized jellyfish pulsating through the water seems like an unlikely candidate to alter Earth’s climate.
But its motion, combined with all the swimming creatures in the sea, could stir things up enough to do exactly that, according to a new study.
Reblogged from brylog July 30th, 2009 at 2:07 am 1 note #science #nature
Using high-speed cinematography, scientists at Cambridge University have discovered that individual algal cells can regulate the beating of their flagella in and out of synchrony in a manner that controls their swimming trajectories. Their research was published on the 24th July in the journal Science….
Using a specialised apparatus to track the swimming trajectories of individual cells, the group showed that the periods of synchrony correspond to nearly straight-line motion, while sharp turns result from the asynchronous beating. Whereas previous studies had suggested that these modes were associated with different subpopulations of cells, the new work shows that the cells actually control the frequencies and thereby switch back and forth between the two modes. In essence, this suggests Chlamydomonas has two ‘gears’.… (more @ ScienceDaily)
- Sea mammal blowhole. Any animal that spends appreciable time in the ocean should be able to extract oxygen from water via gills. Enlarging the lungs and moving a nostril to the back of the head is a poor work-around.
- Hyena clitoris. When engorged, this “pseudopenis,” which doubles as the birth canal, becomes so hard it can crush babies to death during exit.
- Kangaroo teat. In order to nurse, the just-born joey, a frail and squishy jellybean, must clamber up Mom’s torso and into her pouch for a nipple.
- Giraffe birth canal. Mama giraffes stand up while giving birth, so baby’s entry into the world is a 5-foot drop. Wheeee! Crack.
- Goliath bird-eating spider exoskeleton. This giant spider can climb trees to hunt very mobile prey. Yet it has a shell so fragile it practically explodes when it falls? Well, at least it can produce silk to make a sail. Oh, wait — it can’t!
- Shark-fetus teeth. A few shark species have live births (instead of laying eggs). The Jaws juniors grow teeth in the womb. The first sibling or two to mature sometimes eat their siblings in utero. Mmm … siblings.
- Human stomach. People can digest a lot — except for cellulose, the primary component of plant matter. Why don’t we have commensal bacteria in our guts to do it? They’re busy helping termites.
- Slug genitalia. Some hermaphroditic species breed by wrapping their sex organs around each other. If one of said members gets stuck, the slug simply chews it off. What. The. Hell?
- Quadrupeds. Let’s say you’re a four-footed animal. Now let’s say you get a wound on your back, or an itch, or a bug wandering up there. Tough luck, kid. You probably can’t do much about it. Hope there’s a low branch around.
- Narwhal tusk. The unicorn-like protuberance on a male narwhal’s head is actually a tooth that erupts through the front of the jaw and keeps on growing, up to 9 feet. Narwhal: “Doc, I have a toothache.” Dentist: “Indeed.”
[via Wired]Reblogged from Wired July 31st, 2009 at 1:06 am 4 notes #lists #nature