Eusociality - its what bees, ants, and all those other insects that divide into workers, drones, and queens do. But naked mole rats (which are not related to moles or rats) are one of only two mammal species that follow the same pattern, with their cousins Damaraland mole rats as the only other eusocial mammals. They're also nearly cold blooded, impervious to pain, and feed their young on their own feces from the time they're a month old until they can eat the giant tubers that make up most of their diet.
As Moscow changes, so does its population of stray dogs. During Soviet times, Moscow's stray dogs foraged for food and avoided humans, since there wasn't much to be gained from begging. As the city became increasingly affluent, the dogs' behavior changed radically. Some recent adaptations include passive subway begging, observing stoplights, and a food scam called the "come-from-behind ambush." The stray dogs, whose population is estimated at 26,000, have even ceased some of their interpack warfare. Observe the Moscow subway dog here. [more inside]
We're all used to animal cams at the zoo. You can watch animals in the wild or in captivity. But how about a live animal cam at...the library!
Animal Rights History collects quotes and original source documents from historical figures concerned with animal welfare, animal rights and vegetarianism throughout history, including John Locke on kids' cruelty to animals, Voltaire on vivisecting dogs, the author of history's first protected species list, lots about Pythagoras, timelines, a survey of anti-cruelty laws and more.
"With most animals, males duke it out and the winner gets the girls," says Holekamp. "But with hyenas, females have 100 percent say." They decide when and under what conditions they will tolerate deferential sperm donors. At age 2 or 3 a male leaves his natal clan and wanders off to beg acceptance into another clan. After vicious rejections, he eventually succeeds and reaps his reward: brutal harassment as the clan's nadir, one of the last in line for food and sex. This probation, which biologists call "endurance rivalry," is a test, Holekamp explains: "The guy who can stick it out the longest wins." The trial lasts about two years, after which some females may grant him access. "You do not want to be a male hyena," Holekamp says.-From an article in Smithsonian Magazine, Who's Laughing Now? Professor Holekamp's hyena site. Also, hyena pictures and The Hyena Pages, a fine site about this fascinating animal.
Guillermo Habacuc Vargas, Bienarte, Maltratador de Animales. Costa Rican artist Guillermo Habacuc Vargas' exhibit El Perrito Vive has drawn a number of criticisms from concerned animal rights activists after he allegedly starved and deprived a dog named Natividad as an installation piece. [more inside]
50 Animals with Drinking Problems Also, 50 Animals with Day Jobs, 50 Animals Driving, and the apparently related 50 Animals in Casts [Previously] Via
E.J. Peiker, Nature Photgrapher There are a lot of nature photographers out there -- some better than Peiker and some worse -- but what fascinates me about Peiker's site is the number of photos available. A birdwatcher's dream, it features pages of photos of over 500 different species of birds, including an index devoted solely to wild waterfowl. Maybe animals are more your speed? How about nearly 150 pages of photos of wild animals (including my favorite - a quite handsome, flower-eating porcupine.) There's also a section for scenic photography featuring 23 states and 20 countries (or you can search by national park.) The photos are, unfortunately, not that big but there a ton of them, many of them quite pretty.
Michael Cook likes to play with wormspit. And to share his interest in sericulture he's created a site devoted to the raising of silkworms, including the Cecropia, North America's largest moth. Not to be confused with the Hawk Moth, another very large moth, Cecropias are members of the Saturniinae family. Saturniid adults have vestigial mouth parts and no digestive system so they usually live no more than a week. So perhaps it’s best to get down to business right out of the cocoon. (SFW Moth Porn) [more inside]
Undercover video (warning: very graphic) released by the Humane Society reveals abuse of animals on the slaughterhouse floor and other code violations. [more inside]
Hellbenders and Giant Salamanders live in various places around the world: China, Japan, and the United States. Some are only 12 inches long. Some are over 5 feet long. The National Zoo in Washington DC now has them too.
Wildlife rehabilitators take care of wounded or orphaned animals, nursing them back to health and preparing them for a life back in the wild. This leads to a lot of cute baby animal videos. (Roll over for descriptions.) [more inside]
Working Class Cats documents the lives of gainfully employed felines in NYC. There is, of course, some controversy. [via]
For sale: One useless cat.
Offal Good is a blog dedicated to helping you get more dining experience out of your animal. Most people stop at the skeletal muscle cuts, but there's a world of tripey goodness, not to mention snouts, feet, etc. Videos, recipes, photogalleries & more.
What Cats Know About War. A reporter adopts cats to reconnect with life amid unremitting death. [Via linkfilter.] [more inside]
Giraffe mating battles can be brutal but they are generally gentle giants. Man's fascination with these exotic creatures can be tracked from 9,000 year old rock art to the quest for exotics that brought them to the courts of Medici-era Florence, Restoration Paris, and Imperial China, spawning much curiosity and fanciful illustration. Today, giraffe-o-philes can get up close and personal in Kenya's Giraffe Manor. [more inside]
Animals at Play: Stuart Brown, a physician and clinical researcher who founded the National Institute for Play, describes Norbert Rosing's striking images of a wild polar bear playing with sled dogs.
25 Weirdest Animals. See also: 24 bizarre creatures of the deep. Not responsible for nightmares related to the viperfish, the oarfish, or the star-nosed mole.
"While we were there, sitting by the fire one night, I saw an extraordinary-looking dog that appeared to have two noses. I was sober at the time, and then I remembered the story that the legendary explorer Colonel Percy Fawcett came back with in 1913 of seeing such strange dogs in the Amazon jungle", explains fellow British Colonel John Blashford-Snell. The double-schnoz phenomenon has been documented in other species, and has even been studied, dramatized, and synthesized in humans. But a clue has recently been discovered in Bolivia that hints at not just a random mutation, but what might have once been a multi-snouted dog breed.
I love giraffes. Sure, some people think they're evil (previously on MeFi), but did you know that they have black tongues? Or that their scientific name hints that early viewers thought they resembled a camel/leopard mashup? That their closest living relative is the okapi? Did you know that they come with a special structure to prevent too much blood flow to the brain while drinking, and built-in pressure hose to protect the capillaries in their legs from their massive height and resulting blood pressure? This here giraffe is an amazing critter.
Deyrolle: The Strangest Shop in All of Paris. "Paris has many unusual shops, but one of the most unusual has to be Deyrolle."
Earthlings (1 hr 35 min Google video) is "a feature length documentary about humanity's absolute dependence on animals (for pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and scientific research) but also illustrates our complete disrespect for these so-called 'non-human providers.'" Also in three parts on YouTube.
Animal Face Off! A herd of buffalo battle a pride of lions and two crocodiles. Like "The Warriors" at a watering hole.
The Encyclopedia of Life project will create a compendium of every aspect of the biosphere. It aims to compile data on all of Earth's 1.8 million known species on one Web site, and will include species descriptions, pictures, maps, videos, sound, sightings by amateurs, and links to entire genomes and scientific journal papers. E. O. Wilson is getting his wish. [Via BB.]
Suicide food. Yep, some animals just have an inexplicable death wish. Classic. Creepy. Cute. Sporty. Disturbingly sexy. Just plain confusing. These animals all have one thing in common. They're freakin' tasty.
Zoo Babies from around the world. Probably the cutest photo gallery you'll see this week.
The most effective Surreality is that which is entirely Unintentional (15-minute Google video). A delightful balance between amusing & disturbing. Harvested from Doctor Macro's MGM Shorts page. Previously.
Nearby residents didn't seem too upset. No one claimed it was the work of aliens or a secret cult. 250 animal carcases dumped. Included coyotes, dogs, cats cows, the usual stuff. "I'm a little concerned about it,""Stuff like that happens," she shrugged. But the folks in the forums think otherwise and have opinions as to what should happen to the deed doers and the cause of their actions.
In this corner: John "Mack Daddy" Mackey. In this corner: Michael "The Pollanator" Pollan. Mackey. Pollan. Mackey. Pollan. Mackey vs. Pollan!! (.rm file via)
Saving the world’s weirdest creatures. The EDGE of Existence programme, a project of the Zoological Society of London, aims to conserve the world's most Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species by implementing the research and conservation actions needed to secure their future. [Via MoFi.]
Gregory Colbert's Ashes and Snow has been linked to twice before on Metafilter. However, you can now view 10 minutes of his film as part of his Ted Talk--it's the most stunning nature footage I've ever seen. In the talk he also mentions a new concept he's developing called Animal Copyright, which I think is long overdue.