Birds form one of six basic animal groups, with the others being amphibians, fish, invertebrates, mammals and reptiles. They are endothermic vertebrates, characterized by feathers, toothless beaked jaws, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, and a lightweight but strong skeleton. They reproduce by laying of hard-shelled eggs (eggs fertilize inside the female). The fossil record indicates that birds are the last surviving group of dinosaurs. So, they are also termed avian dinosaurs.
Birds (Aves) range in size and weight from the 5 cm (2 in) and 1.6-2 grams bee hummingbird to the 2.75 m (9 ft) and 104-156 kg (229-344 lbs) ostrich. Here are the top 15 largest (by body weight) living bird species.
Continue reading Top 15 Largest Living Bird Species
In the past, there were five major extinction event (a widespread and rapid decrease in the biodiversity on Earth), and a lot of minor ones. Now, we are in the middle of the sixth one, called “Holocene extinction event”. And the cause is… guess what? Humans.
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An alligator’s brain weighs only 8 or 9 grams, and it has the size of a walnut, but that don’t mean they are stupid. In fact, they’re much smarter than you’d think. In Everglades National Park in the United States, a 400-pound (181 kg) gator displays a clever way and uses a bait branch stick to catch egrets during breeding season.
Continue reading Gator Uses Bait Stick to Catch Egrets (Video)
In 2006, Planet Earth, the British television series produced by the BBC Natural History Unit “has changed our view of the world”. It was the first nature documentary series filmed in high definition. It took five years in the making and it was the most expensive nature documentary series ever commissioned by the BBC. Now, ten years later, in February 2016, the BBC announced a six-part sequel had been commissioned, titled Planet Earth II. On October 2016, BBC released the new series’ trailer.
Continue reading Planet Earth II Official Extended Trailer
Like crocodiles, snakes also suffer from a prevalence of “big fish” stories and over-exaggeration in the internet era. In fact, it is very difficult to measure how large actually a snake is, especially if it’s really big.
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The largest insects on Earth – preparing such a list is not an easy task. Because, how can you identify the “large”? It is a relative term: if you mean the “bulkiest” by largest, for instance, this title may go to the Goliath beetle (Goliathus), which are among the largest insects on Earth, if measured in terms of size, bulk and weigh. They measure from 60–110 millimeters (2.4–4.3 in) for males and 50–80 millimeters (2.0–3.1 in) for females, as adults, and can reach weights of up to 80–100 grams (2.8–3.5 oz) in the larval stage, though the adults are only about half this weight. Or maybe Actaeon beetle (Megasoma actaeon) claims the title, which is a rhinoceros beetle, a member of the Scarabaeidae family. They can be up to 7 centimeters (2.8 in) across, with a body length of up to 13.5 cm (5.4 in) long by 4 cm (1.6 in) thick.
Continue reading Top 10 Largest Insects on Earth
If you search for the fastest land animals on the Internet, you will find many “fastest animals” lists, most of them are popular “top list” sites. But, in fact, there is a tendency to overestimate the speed of fast animals. Even the speed of the world’s fastest land animal, cheetah’s speed is usually highly overestimated.
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Here are the top five largest living fish species (within around 33,100 described species).
But, first of all, what is a fish? At first, it looks like an easy question, but in fact it is not. There are a wide range of animals we call “fish”, so it is not easy to define what makes a fish “a fish”. A general description: “a fish is any member of a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic craniate animals that lack limbs with digits” (wikipedia).
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Crocodiles (subfamily Crocodylinae) or true crocodiles are large aquatic reptiles that live throughout the tropics in Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia. Although they are big, they suffer from a prevalence of “big fish” stories and over-exaggeration. In the Internet age, photographs of crocodiles manipulated digitally to make the animal look much larger than it is. But how big are they actually? Here are the top
five ten largest crocodiles ever recorded (when I wrote the post, I didn’t know about Gomek; and after I published it, the Guinness World Record book has accepted a claim that a 23 ft/7.01 meters male saltwater crocodile weighing 2,000 kg lives within Bhitarkanika Park in the state of Orissa, India).
Continue reading World’s Top 5 Largest Crocodiles Ever Recorded
Four Nile crocodiles have been found in Florida by scientists from the University of Florida. Between 2002 and 2004, the researchers have studied populations of crocodiles in the state. Previously, using DNA analysis, they found three Nile crocs: one was a foot long hatchling sitting on a porch in Miami. Another was found on the property of a private zoo in Homestead, and a third, also in Homestead, a 10-pound (4.5 kg) female, was captured in a public park.
Continue reading Nile Crocodiles Have Been Found in Florida