Crocodile-buffalo hybrid photographed in Thailand! (And Egyptian demon seen in Greece!)

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This creepy crocodile-buffalo hybrid turned up in High Rock, Thailand this month. The beast bears a striking resemblance to the half-aquatic, half-terrestrial Hindu god Makara, and is now on display in the village! According to Mysterious Universe, the creature may actually be a calf with a skin disorder. Sure it is....

Related, off the west coast of Greece, tourist Harvey Robertson snapped the following photo of this bizarre crocodile-hippo-dolphin that could be the earthly incarnation of the Egyptian demon Ammit, seen in illustration below!

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Guns don't kill people, dogs with guns kill people

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Following up on their highly successful data-driven charticle about toddlers shooting people to death in America, the Washington Post publishes a new infographic about all the people being shot to death by dogs.

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China plans to ban ivory trade “within a year or so.” US official: Yes it's a “huge” deal.

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During his visit to Washington last month, China's President Xi Jinping vowed to stop the commercial trade in ivory in his nation, but didn't say much about when or how.

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'Dracula fish' and snub-nosed monkeys among 200+ new species discovered in Himalayas

Bompu litter frog,  newly discovered in India. [Sanjay Sondhi]

“A sneezing monkey, a walking fish and a jewel-like snake are just some of a biological treasure trove of over 200 new species discovered in the Eastern Himalayas in recent years,” reports the World Wildlife Foundation today.

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Ocean life or acid trip? Photos of psychedelic jellyfish

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No, you're not tripping. And these aren't CG. You're looking at Portuguese man-of-war jellyfish captured by Florida-based photographer Aaron Ansavor who finds them on a local beach.

"It's an opportunity to explore a new world," he told National Geographic.

More images at his site Ansarov.com. (via Jux)

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“I built my rabbit a cart and now he delivers me beer!”

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Says the uploader of this superb video, “I built my rabbit a cart and now he delivers me beer! This event marks the release of an epic accomplishment.” Read the rest

Animals attacking drones

They've already made up their minds about annoying buzzing noises we humans are in two minds about. Read the rest

Cat discovers an effective method for dog shutdown

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Works every time. “We've been monitoring our pup at home to get a sense of how much barking he's been doing,” Devon Meadows explains.

“Chazz had just started barking after my wife and I left for work but luckily our cat, Greyscale, shuts that down.”

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Doge proprietor of corner store in Japan greets customers with happy Shiba Inu wag

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Miki Kotevski, who shot this video, says: “This Shiba Inu has brought more people together from across the world than most politicians and other figures will ever be able to. Shiva's owner is the kindest owner and a great and kind person. Shiva is the Shiba's name and he is the best dog around.” Read the rest

Watch an octopus disappear into "quicksand" on the sea bottom

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The southern sand octopus (Octopus kaurna) whips up some seafloor "quicksand" lined with mucus and burrows into it to rest during the daytime. From New Scientist:

(University of Melbourne researcher Jasper) Montana and his team first caught the octopus in the act of burrowing in 2008 when they were scuba diving at night in Port Philip Bay, south of Melbourne, Australia. When they shone a light on the octopus, the startled animal spread out its arms and repeatedly injected high-powered jets of water into the sediment using its funnel. This caused grains of sand to be temporarily suspended in water, making it like sandy water.

“The sediment became fluid like quicksand,” Montana says. The octopus put its arms into the sand while still pumping out water and eventually dived down into the sediment. The liquefied sand is likely to reduce drag and so allow the animal to burrow more quickly, using less energy, Montana’s team speculates....

They (later) found that the animal used its arms and mantle to push the sand away and form a burrow. It also extended two arms to the surface to create a narrow chimney to breathe through. Finally, it secured the walls of its new home with a layer of mucus that kept the grains of sand together so the entire thing maintained its shape.

"Zoologger: Octopus makes own quicksand to build burrow on seabed" (New Scientist via Laughing Squid)

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Little budgie likes preening this cat, and the cat likes it

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This white budgie is grooming a cat friend, and the cat seems to like it. Read the rest

Baby meets beagle

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“My wife and I were worried about how the dog would react to a baby, so we kept them apart for a few months. This is when they get introduced to each other.” Read the rest

Box full of abandoned guinea pigs found

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If you're in central Missouri and have been thinking about fostering a guinea pig, now's your time.

From KQFX, Missouri:

A Good Samaritan rescued the animals after discovering them next to a dry creek bed near Andrew Sapp Road outside Ashland.

They were very malnourished, dehydrated and showed signs of hair loss. Staff provided them with clean water and fresh food, including kale and carrots. One died on Sunday.

Seven young adults and five one-week old pups remain. After they recover, the agency will put them up for adoption.

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Endangered and beloved Sumatran elephant Yongki killed in apparent ivory poaching

Yongki the Sumatran elephant was found dead in his enclosure. Photo: Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park.

There may be as few as 2400 Sumatran elephants still alive on the planet. One of their tame brethren, who worked with humans to protect wild ones from being killed, was killed on Friday--apparently for his tusks. Indonesian authorities today described the incident as a “murder and a theft,” and called for a criminal investigation. Read the rest

Scientists discover that giraffes "hum" at night

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Giraffes aren't known for their vocalizations, a limitation thought to be caused by their long necks, but biologists have know determined that they do "hum" at night. According to cognitive biologist Angela Stöger at the University of Vienna, the animals produce a low frequency hum with "a complex acoustic structure." Hear it below!

"It could be passively produced – like snoring – or produced during a dream-like state – like humans talking or dogs barking in their sleep,” Stöger told New Scientist.

Stöger adds that the hum could also be how giraffes communicate with each other when it's too dark to see.

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What mentally ill animals can teach humans

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An increasing amount of scientific evidence suggests that animals, from chimpanzees to coyotes to parrots, can suffer from the same mental illnesses as humans. Understanding the biology behind animal depression, OCD, and PTSD could provide insight into why people suffer from mental illness and how these conditions evolved. From BBC Earth:

In a 2011 study, scientists found signs of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in chimpanzees that had been used in laboratory research, orphaned, trapped by snares, or been part of illegal trade.

Stressful events can even leave marks on animals' genes. In 2014, researchers found that African grey parrots that were housed alone suffered more genetic damage than parrots that were housed in pairs...

"All you can do with animals is to observe them," says (University of Mississippi neurogenetics researcher Eric) Vallender. "Imagine if you could study mental disorders in humans only by observing them. It would be really hard to tell what's going on in their brain."

Faced with these obstacles, scientists have begun looking at animals' genes.

"A lot of mental disorders can be quite different. But what we do know is that they have a very, very strong genetic component to them," says Jess Nithianantharajah of the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne, Australia.

All mental disorders, from depression to schizophrenia, involve abnormal behaviours. Those behaviours are influenced by genes just like other behaviours.

So the idea is to identify genes that can cause abnormal behaviours in humans and other animals. By tracing the origins of these genes, we can trace the origins of mental disorders.

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Puppy caught eating paper decides killing witness is only way out

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Small but fierce.

[Chest-Bump, Vine]

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