Tane Sinclair-Taylor's image of a clownfish and a bleached anemone is one of the many remarkable biological photographs chosen as finalists and winners in Royal Society Publishing's 2016 contest. Read the rest
The Cape Kiwanda sandstone pedestal, a feature of the Oregon coastline known to locals as the duckbill, was "toppled intentionally" by tourists. Video captured at a distance by visitor David Kalas of Hillsboro shows a group of people heaving and pushing the rock until it falls to the ground and collapses: "Got it!" one shouts. Read the rest
SER DAVOS: Well, hello there, little fellow? Who's that behind you? Read the rest
Amorphophallus titanum is known as the "Corpse Flower" because it smells like rotten flesh. The infamous stink attracts flies and beetles that helps it get pollinated. Native to Sumatra, the plant rarely flowers and can take as long as a decade to bloom if it does. The New York Botanical Garden has cultivated a fine Corpse Flower and you can livestream it blooming any time now. Watch the video stream above but don't blink or you may miss it. If only Smell-O-Vision had caught on...
From the NYBG:
Each day of careful tending and feeding has led up to this moment: a brief yet glorious window in which the enormous plant (up to eight feet high) will unfurl, displaying the striking red interior and uncanny scent to which it owes its name. This is the first time that a blooming titan-arum has been put on display at the Garden since 1939, and this unique plant is unpredictable—it may be in flower for only one or two days.
The Corpse Flower (NYBG)
In Botswana, conservation scientists from the University of New South Wales are painting eyes on the rear ends of cattle in an effort to deter lions from eating them. As the lions' protected habitats shrink, they move closer to human settlements. In Botswana, the lions attack the livestock that the subsistence farmers count on. That leads the farmers to kill the African lions, further endangering the species.
(UNSW conservation biologist Neil Jordan’s idea of painting eyes onto cattle rumps came about after two lionesses were killed near the village in Botswana where he was based. While watching a lion hunt an impala, he noticed something interesting: “Lions are ambush hunters, so they creep up on their prey, get close and jump on them unseen. But in this case, the impala noticed the lion. And when the lion realised it had been spotted, it gave up on the hunt,” he says.
In nature, being ‘seen’ can deter predation. For example, patterns resembling eyes on butterfly wings are known to deter birds. In India, woodcutters in the forest have long worn masks on the back of their heads to ward-off man-eating tigers.
Jordan’s idea was to “hijack this mechanism” of psychological trickery. Last year, he collaborated with the BPCT and a local farmer to trial the innovative strategy, which he’s dubbed “iCow”.
This is why we can't have nice things.
Some really stupid visitors to Yellowstone National Park decided that a baby bison they'd seen was "too cold," so they put it in their rental car trunk to warm it up, and drove it around for a while.
After the herd rejected the calf, the National Park Service decided to kill (or if you prefer, “euthanize”) the calf, and warned tourists not to interact with animals. For, like, the billionth time.
National Park Service officials want everyone who visits Yellowstone to know that adult animals, like this calf's mom and dad, can become aggressive when they're trying to protect their young. Mothers sometimes reject offspring that have interacted with humans.
As Mark wrote here, the father and son tourists visiting the park in Wyoming received a ticket from Park Rangers for putting the bison calf in their rental car.
As dumb as these tourists were, they're not alone. There have been several similar incidents this year in the park, shared on social media in which visitors ignore the rules, get too close to animals, and pose for selfies. In 2015, Bison seriously injured five park visitors, which makes them more dangerous by the statistics than any other animal, including predators like bear, wolves, or big cats.
Read the rest
The newborn bison calf that visitors to Yellowstone National Park last week inadvisedly tried to rescue from the cold has been euthanized after efforts to reunite it with the herd were rejected, according to the National Park Service.
The massive wildfire that continues to burn in the Fort McMurray area of Alberta, Canada has been captured from space by NASA imaging satellites.
Step outside, look in any direction, and you’re sure to spot some exquisite designs in nature: the vivid jewel-like symmetry found on the wings of a butterfly, the fractal branching of trees, the pointillist patterns sported by a snake, or the hexagonal nest of a wasp, just to name a few. And science writer Philip Ball has captured some of this beauty with over 300 stunning photographs that he includes in his latest book, Patterns in Nature.
Categorized in chapters such as Symmetry, Fractals, Spirals, Cracks, and Flow and Chaos, Ball explains with both images and an accessible narrative how the most magnificent designs on the planet come from math, physics and chemistry, not human beings. He describes the various mathematics that create various patterns, and also points out parallels between similar patterns with seemingly unrelated sources. For example, the spots on a butterfly mimic the face of an owl. The “spots” on a giraffe look similar to cracked mud. Ball turns complex science into a fascinating read, and his gorgeous coffee table book is perfect for both the science and art minded alike.