Category Archives: Animals

If Earth’s life time was the distance from Los Angeles to New York City

Our old planet, the Earth is 4.54 billion years old. In fact, the human mind can no longer make any sense of large numbers like that. Numbers like 1, 2, 14, 20, 50 are all quantities that we encounter quite frequently in our daily lives. And our brain evolved to conceptualize numbers like that: our ancestors saw two lions; they hunted five deer in one hunting party, the population of their tribe was 20, etc… But when the numbers are getting big, i.e. 1,000; 10,000… the problem begins: these numbers become increasingly difficult to conceptualize. Now, what happens when we try to conceptualize quantities like billions, like the Earth’s age? We can’t actually rationalize the immensity of such a big number. Because we haven’t a model of 4.54 billion that’s been compressed into something recognizable to the human mind.

To put this number into a perspective, Alex Kuzoian of Business insider prepared a beautiful video: you can watch Earth’s lifespan as the distance from Los Angeles to New York City. Along the trip, we see the formation of our Moon, the beginning of the life, the evolving of the multi-cellular organisms, and the rise and fall of the dinosaurs. Probably the most interesting part is that modern humans only evolved 175 meters (570 feet) from the finishing line of this journey. And the big jump to the first multi-cellular organisms.

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Hybrid Big Cats

Four of the five species of the big cats (the Panthera genus – lion, tiger, leopard, jaguar and snow leopard), the exception being the snow leopard can hybridize with each other to produce numerous hybrids. In fact, breeding of two different pantheras to produce hybrid big cats has been banned in many zoos and animal sanctuaries due to no conservation value of the hybrid, and the risk it poses on the mother that gives birth to it.

For instance, the liger’s increased growth rate and enormous size can cause the tigress giving birth to have a difficult delivery, endangering both the mother and her liger cubs, which may be born prematurely or require a Caesarian. Common problems in cubs that survive are neurological disorders, obesity, genetic defects, and a shortened lifespan; though a few have reportedly made it to their twenties, many don’t survive past the age of seven.

Moreover, male ligers have lowered testosterone levels and sperm counts, rendering them infertile while females, though capable of reproducing with either a lion or a tiger, often give birth to sickly cubs that don’t survive.

However, hybrids do occur by accident in captivity.

Most hybrids would not survive in the wild due to the males being infertile, but a few (such as the Leopon – leopard father, lion mother) are fertile and have a chance of survival in the wild.

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Your Life On Earth (presented by BBC)

A nice interactive webpage by the BBC – The British Broadcasting Corporation: how you and the world have changed since you were born? You’re simply entering your birth date, gender, and height; selecting units (metric or imperial/US) and then watching how our planet (and you) has changed in your lifetime.

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Watch: Dolphins “rode” the heads of whales in the coast of Hawaii

In two different locations in the coast of Hawaii, scientists have observed unusual interactions between bottlenose dolphins and humpback whales as dolphins “rode” the heads of whales: the whales lifted the dolphins up and out of the water, and then the dolphins slid back down. In the video published by the American Museum of Natural History, the two species seemed to cooperate in the activity, and neither displayed signs of aggression or distress. Whales and dolphins in Hawaiian waters often interact, but playful social activity such as this is extremely rare between species.

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Why Are Chimpanzees Stronger Than Humans?

Chimpanzees are our closest cousins, they share 99 percent of their genes with us. Sometimes, like us, they can show aggressiveness, and attacks on humans are recorded. The worst part of these attacks is, the chimpanzees are strong. Really strong.

One of the most well-known attacks came from Travis, an animal actor, who appeared in several television commercials, including spots for Coca-Cola. On February 16, 2009, he suddenly attacked his owner Sandra Herold’s 55-year-old friend Charla Nash and grievously mauled her, blinding her while severing her nose, ears, and both hands, and severely lacerating her face. He was subsequently shot dead on the arrival of the police, after trying to attack an officer. The photos of the incident were horrible, I won’t publish them here but you can search google for them (beware: the photos are really, really bad).

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Killer Whale uses a bait fish to hunt a bird (video)

The orcas are amazing! They are known for their high intelligence, curiosity, playfulness, and ability to solve problems. But this female killer whale named Kasatka who lives at SeaWorld San Diego takes it one step further: she uses a bait fish to hunt a bird!

Watch the amazing video below:

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World’s top 6 biggest prehistoric crocodiles ever lived

Previously, I published a post about the largest crocodiles ever recorded. All sizes in that post were recorded in recent times. The crocs listed were large, yes, but not as big as most people think. But in the prehistoric ages, some animals were much bigger than today’s counterparts – including crocodiles. So, what was the World’s biggest crocodile ever lived? Here are the top six candidates – top 6 biggest prehistoric crocodiles (actually, crocodilians) ever lived.

Before reading the post, keep in mind that the list given below can change at any time with any newly found fossil. Due to the absence of a complete enough skeleton in most cases, the numbers given are estimates. A common method to estimate the size of crocodiles and crocodile-like reptiles is the use of the length of the skull measured in the midline from the tip of the snout to the back of the skull table, since in living crocodilians there is a strong correlation between skull length and total body length in subadult and adult individuals irrespective of their sex.

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​The Largest Alligator Ever Measured

Alligators can often reach at least 14 or 15 feet in length, which is even larger than some crocodile species, but not all of them, especially not the Saltwater Crocodile (I am talking about the American alligator – A. mississippiensis here, the Chinese alligator – A. sinensis is much smaller). But what is the largest alligator ever measured?

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World’s Largest Crocodile? (7+ meters/23+ feet)

A widely circulated photo over the internet which shows a giant crocodile with a bunch of villagers sitting behind. A story next to the photo saying “the people in a village on the Niger River in Africa were losing fellow villagers at a rapid rate, and called in the army, which shot a 7+ meters, 1200 kg crocodile.

Crocodiles often suffer from a prevalence of “big fish” stories and over-exaggeration. The photo below was first got shared on Reddit, and it started circulating rapidly since then. When I first saw the photo, I tried to guess the length of the crocodile, because it didn’t seem to me 7+ meters. I thought it was not more than 5 meters.

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