Tagged With biology

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Baleen whales (Mysticeti) are vacuums of the sea. The blue whale, which is one of 12 species of baleen whales, is the largest animal in the world — AKA the biggest sea vacuum. It fuels its 200-tonne body by eating tiny crustaceans called krill, which get filtered through the blue whales' baleen. New research suggests that over millions of years, baleen whales' filter system — and a hell of a lot of krill — allowed these beasts to grow into giants.

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Lots of people really want to go to Mars. Some of them want to live on that barren litter box forever, which sounds exciting, but would probably suck. The thing about a Martian colony is that people would have to be able to reproduce there in order to keep it going — and luckily for those hopeful pioneers, a team of Japanese scientists have achieved an important first step toward making their pipe dream a reality.

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Vaquitas are cartoonish-looking porpoises that swim around, bothering literally no one. These little guys, which only weigh about 54kg, are found in just one region in the world — the Northern Gulf of California. Their nickname — the "panda" porpoise — comes from the dark rings around their eyes, similar to that of the much-beloved bear. Sadly, over the years, vaquita numbers have plummeted dramatically due to unscrupulous fishing practices, and as a result, there are less than 30 left in the wild — according to the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF), unless urgent action is taken, the porpoises could be extinct by next July.

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Not all chillies are created equal, and few are as unequal as the Dragon's Breath chilli — a new breed that may soon find itself atop the "world's hottest" throne. Forged by Wales horticulturalist Mike Smith, the red-orange, fingernail-sized fruit is the unintentional product of a trial of a new performance-boosting plant food developed by Nottingham Trent University. Smith says the ferocious fruit is the spiciest on the planet, just over 1.5 times as spicy as a Carolina reaper — the current record holder. That's pretty fiery, but despite what much of the media coverage of this new chilli has claimed, the Dragon's Breath is not lethally hot.

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Eight days ago, a one-eyed goat was born in the Indian state of Assam. Since then, this brave little fluff has become an international sensation for obvious reasons: Clearly, it's training to be in the X-Men.

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It's not every day one stumbles upon a 181kg whale heart, but when you do, you put that crap in a museum. Thankfully, that's exactly what the folks at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) did when they uncovered a dead blue whale in Newfoundland back in 2014. Since then, biologist Jacqueline Miller and her team at ROM have been working tirelessly to put the massive organ on display, and today, they finally did just that.

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In the 1993 cult classic Jurassic Park, a T. rex manages to scare the living crap out of kid heroes Lex and Tim Murphy by casually ripping apart their Ford Explorer like it's a scrap of meat. It's a scene that crystallised the destructive power of this extinct apex predator in the public consciousness — and as a new study highlights, it might not have been that hyperbolic.

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For those who came here expecting the uncut version of Bee Movie, you're in the wrong place. This is a blog about some very unnerving bee-on-bee action — not some culmination of sexual tension between Renee Zellweger and Jerry Seinfeld's characters in the 2007 cult movie. Apparently, long-horned bees copulating is pretty unsettling and uh, there's video to prove it. I'm sorry.

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Splash-back poison frogs (Ranitomeya variabilis) are generally devoted parents, with the amphibian dads taking on the bulk of the childcare responsibilities. But when the frog fathers skip out on their young, it's every tadpole for themselves, and that means a horrifying cannibalistic melee from which only one young frog emerges.

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It seems like everything on this trash planet is doomed to go extinct before humans do, much to my chagrin. The woeful tale of New Zealand's yellow-eyed penguin is no different: The adorable bird — which even makes an appearance on the country's currency — is dangerously close to extinction, at least at one well-monitored mainland breeding ground. And it's (probably) all our fault.

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The common ladybird is easily recognised by its signature red and black spotted shell. But when researchers at the University of Tokyo used a creative trick to make its carapace transparent, it revealed insect wing secrets that could impact development of robotics, satellite antennas and microscopic medical instruments — perhaps even a re-imagining of the folding mechanism of your umbrella.

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By now, you probably know that humans are really screwing up the ocean. Climate change aside, we often dump oil into it, ruining the lives of whatever animals live nearby. Just imagine if someone drilled for oil right in the centre of your house and then accidentally got the toxic black sludge all over your bedroom, bathroom, car, and all of your food.

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New research from Nationwide Children's Hospital shows that around 12,500 kids are treated in US hospital emergency departments each year for injuries caused by cotton tip applicators. That's about 34 each day. In most cases, the swabs were used for cleaning, but as this study shows, it's simply not worth the risks. Thankfully, there are safer ways to get rid of that gunk in your ear holes.

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Deer are generally considered one of the more benign creatures of the forest, going about their herbivorous ways in peace. But as new research shows, there's a dark side to these ungulates. Using camera traps, forensic scientists have captured unprecedented photos of deer munching on the skeletal remains of a human carcass.

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Stings from a Portuguese man o' war are as common as they are dangerous, yet there's a lack of consensus over the best way to treat these painful pricks. New research published in the journal Toxins reveals that stings from the man o' war (Physalia species) shouldn't be treated any differently than stings from jellyfish, a conclusion that upends conventional wisdom. And no, peeing on yourself is not recommended.

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A conservation group has rescued an incredibly rare albino orangutan from villagers on the Indonesian part of Borneo island, who were keeping the blue-eyed, white-haired primate in a cage. Sick, dehydrated and exhibiting signs of a bloody nose, it could take a month before the ape can be released back to the wild.