"One hunter recalled a nighttime visit to a swamp in Ohio in 1845, when he was sixteen; he mistook for haystacks what were in fact alder and willow trees, bowed to the ground under gigantic pyramids of birds many bodies deep." In his new book about the passenger pigeon, the naturalist Joel Greenberg sets out to answer a puzzling question: How could the bird go from a population of billions to zero in less than fifty years? (SLNewYorker.) [more inside]
Walidah Imarisha is a professor at Portland State University, where she teaches a class on race and Disney. This is her interview with Bitch Media on the racial politics of Disney animals.
There exists a film whose trailer tantalizes the brain; a film whose English dub, believed to have been created by the notorious K. Gordon Murray (his previous lies - he is described as a "flim-flammer" who ran a "kiddie circuit"), has eluded even the most fervent afficionados of strange cinema. Thanks to the people of Sweden and a translator known only as Doctor Death (and fixes from uploader Justin Sane - you can see the translation by turning on captions), you can enter the world of The Secret of Magic Island: the live-action children's film starring an all-animal cast.
Last night, Virginia Tech grad student Ann Hilborn, her labmate Chris Rowe, and their research supervisor Marcella Kelly were posting pictures of animal genitals on their lab’s Twitter account (@Whapavt). When Hilborn added some more from her collection, one of their readers called it a “junk-off”. And thus a hashtag was born. [NSFW?]
We think of the Stone Age as something that early humans lived through. But we are not the only species that has invented it.
Fawn frolics with rabbit (SLYT) (no cats, sorry, but at least it's filmed in landscape).
"New Pal" - the latest comic in a series that Lauren Monger has been cartooning for Vice. More Lauren Monger comics and drawings (most of which involve the same cast of beautifully-watercolored animal friends) at her tumblr and her twitter.
How did they get those dogs to do that? "Hundreds of dogs rise up against their oppressors in this visually stunning, one-metaphor-fits-all Hungarian drama... a film featuring 274 dogs, no CGI, and a pair of canine protagonists who consistently out-emote their human co-stars."
To start your weekend off right, here are 8 opossums eating banana pieces all at the same time. It's hypnotic.
Animal Planet presents The Cute Channel, with clips from their show Too Cute. Caution: With this much concentrated cuteness, you may be rendered temporarily speechless. [more inside]
Mother rabbit defends her bunnies from a snake. Relentlessly. [slyt]
"Actual zookeepers taking photos of themselves doing Chris Pratt's Jurassic World velociraptor taming move is a thing."
Deer using dog door (SLYT)
Historie of Beafts combs through Medieval bestiaries to bring you the finest in olde-tyme animal facts. [more inside]
For tens of thousands of years, wild horses have inspired humans - to nurture, to create, to slaughter - culminating in the past century of America’s legal and psychological battles over the horses we can’t own. [more inside]
The family shows up at Hank’s house unaware that they’ll be sharing it with assorted wildlife whose collective attitude toward humans ranges from playful to scarily aggressive. Oh, and all the animals are real, and largely untrained, and when they paw and pounce on their human costars, you can see real terror in the actors’ eyes — like actual Oh shit please God no terror.The making of Roar, possibly the Most Dangerous Movie of All Time.
Once-Prized Tibetan Mastiffs Are Discarded as Fad Ends in China [New York Times]
“Then there is the Tibetan mastiff, a lumbering shepherding dog native to the Himalayan highlands that was once the must-have accouterment for status-conscious Chinese. Four years ago, a reddish-brown purebred named Big Splash sold for $1.6 million, according to news reports, though cynics said the price was probably exaggerated for marketing purposes. No reasonable buyer, self-anointed experts said at the time, would pay more than $250,000 for a premium specimen.”
Chris Crowe has a girlfriend. She stands a leggy 5 feet tall, weighs a trim 11 pounds, and sports a set of wings like you’ve never seen. Walnut the white-naped crane is the most genetically distinct endangered crane on the block — which means she needs to have been making babies, like, yesterday. Walnut was raised by humans at a zoo, and as a result, she recognizes and trusts humans — and is deeply hostile to other cranes. How hostile? She killed the two male cranes that her former keepers attempted to pair with her. "I like to jokingly tell people that Walnut ‘allegedly’ killed two male cranes," Crowe says. "It’s not like she was tried and convicted. We don’t know her side of the story."
Masao Kinoshita makes sculptures of bizarre anthropomorphic animals and animal-human hybrids, often with their musculature exposed.
"The spotted hyena has a genital set-up that is unique among animals. [...] They have a pseudopenis; an extended clitoris through which they urinate, have sex, and give birth. In order to have sex a male has to place his penis in the pseudopenis, which is extremely difficult without her complete cooperation. Once the two have mated, the female has the option of simply peeing, and flushing out much of the male's sperm."
The Burgess Animal Book for Children - text, illustrations, and audio. Thornton W. Burgess previously.
Hitch the cart to a dog, of course. Dogs (and sometimes goats) were used to pull small carts in much of Europe, usually by people who could not afford to keep horses. The heyday of these small dog-drawn carts was in the 19th century, when dog carts were commonly used in places like England, the Netherlands, and Belgium to deliver milk and sometimes other groceries. In fact, the Belgian Army even experimented with dog-drawn carts toting machine guns during WWI. Previously. [more inside]
Tanja Brandt is a German photographer who has dedicated her career to photographing animals and wildlife. In one of her most recent projects, Brandt shot photographs of a highly unlikely pair of friends: Ingo, the Belgian shepherd, and Poldi (Napoleon), the one-year-old owlet.
A baby gorilla who had to be delivered through an emergency cesarean section and had some rocky early days has celebrated her first birthday at San Diego Zoo Safari Park. Includes video of gorillas eating yam cake.
Why Do Severed Goat Heads Keep Turning Up in Brooklyn? (Some may find the pictures at this link disturbing.) [more inside]
Last year Jimmy Kimmel teamed up with Snoop Dogg to produce the nature series, Plizzanet Earth. In the latest episode, Snoop Dogg tackles Otters vs. Crocs. (Mostly bleeped but probably NSFW for a few people.) [more inside]
That's right - it's time for Mammal March Madness! "Battle outcome is a function of the two species' attributes within the battle environment. Attributes considered in calculating battle outcome include temperament, weaponry, armor, body mass, fight style, and other fun facts that are relevant to the outcome. These are one on one- head to head combat situations- um except for the mythical mammals that have multiple heads. Some random error has been introduced into calculating battle outcome & the amount of that error is scaled to the disparity in rankings between combatants. Early rounds, the battle occurs in the better-ranked species' habitat (home court advantage). BUT once we get to the ELITE EIGHT, battle location will be random: forest, semi-arid desert, intertidal zone, or snowy tundra." Action kicks off on March 9 with the wildcard match up between the pygmy jerboa and the bumblebee bat (Kitti's Hognosed Bat). You can follow the action on twitter using the hashtag #2015MMM or on the blog Mammals Suck. In the meantime, start filling out your brackets - common names or binomial nomenclature.
Shortly after meeting my wife, she introduced me to the nuanced meaning that the Spanish word nervio had acquired in the lexicon of her family. As used in their Chilean home, the word could be defined as a feeling of such intense affection that one trembles or grits his teeth with restraint so as not to harm the object of his affection. I have heard others allude to the sensation in seemingly bizarre phrases such as, "It's so cute [that] I want to squeeze it to death." I often ask people about nervio. For those like me who have experienced it frequently throughout their lives, a complete definition is unnecessary and the word fills a void in their vocabulary. With others, my description is often greeted with bewilderment. Having never felt such a sensation, it is hard for them to imagine.More? Tagalog's gigil, corporal cuddling, and some scientific insights into the "cute aggression" phenomenon
African Animals Getting Drunk From Ripe Marula Fruit | Why animals eat psychoactive plants | How catnip gets cats high | Stoned wallabies make crop circles | Dolphins 'chew puffer fish to get high | Fly Agaric: The Psychedelic Secret of Christmas | Jaguar trips on DMT and Reindeer eat Amanita mushrooms | Animals getting high: 10 common drunks | 7 Species That Get High More Than We Do | Tree-shrew is heavyweight boozer | Animals Like to Get Drunk | Lemur gets high | Alcoholic Vervet Monkeys. [more inside]
Dogs Sitting on Cats [slyt | Turn Off Annotations]
Farm Animal Winter Wear from modern farmer. What the coziest animals are wearing this season.
An Argentina court has recognised an Orangutang as 'non-human person': “This opens the way not only for other Great Apes, but also for other sentient beings which are unfairly and arbitrarily deprived of their liberty in zoos, circuses, water parks and scientific laboratories.” - A similar case regarding a chimpanzee in New York was recently thrown out of court.
Modern Farmer describes centuries of military love for the humble donkey. Though the U. S. Army officially ended its pack mule program in the 1950s, current soldiers and Marines-- along with the Afghan Army itself -- have trained again to use donkeys and mules in mountainous terrain. [more inside]
Baby Elephant gets Frustrated Chasing a Dog. [slyt | cute]
Animals sing "Jolly Old Saint Nicholas" SLYT. What it says on the Xmas tin.
The Descent of the Barnacle Goose, a gosling makes a long freefall and bouncy trip down a cliff-face to leave the nest. It is all sorts of wrong, and unexpectedly cute. [via]