Top 10 new species of 2012
A human-faced monkey, a glow-in-the-dark cockroach an tiny frog and more. They’re a strange, varied bunch, these newly-honored creatures, but what they all have in common is a shared place on International Institute for Species Exploration’s top 10 new species list.
The list, released annually by Arizona State University and culled from a list of 140 nominees discovered last year, is part of a larger effort to identify more of the estimated 8.7 million species on Earth - with just 1.2-2 million officially identified.
Said Quentin Wheeler, an entomologist at ASU:
“Knowing that millions of species may not survive the 21st century, it is time to pick up the pace.”
Photos: Maurice Emetshu, Peter Vrsansky & Dusan Chorvat, Christopher C. Austin, Sevastian Lotzkat / ASU
For anyone in need of a pick-me-up on hump day, here’s the great short “Omelette,” by Madeline Sharafian. Enjoy!
An archival puppy
On Sept. 21, 1942, staff photographer Paul Calvert visited the City Animal Shelter during National Dog Week for a story on adoption promotions and ended up falling in love with the dachshund puppy pictured above - so much so that a 11-by-14 print of the puppy currently sits in the Times archives.
Photo: Paul Calvert / Los Angeles Times
Animals Acting Human, 1923-1956
Ever since photography began, the genre of animals acting human as been a popular novelty. There is something about animals mimicking human behavior that is just too cute. Whether its “Carrots” the rabbit firing table tennis balls from a toy cannon, a lamb and a cat playing checkers or a cat hanging mice like laundry, its hard not to smile.
As it turns out, it wasn’t just the Internet that inspired people to take crazy photos of animals.
test reblogged from odditiesoflife
The fight over foie gras
To some, it’s a delicacy with a taste beyond comparison, but to others, its cultivation is an act of cruelty, and its consumption a crime. Foie gras, to put it simply, is traditionally meat from a goose or duck that has been forcibly fed (like so) which leads to a gigantic, fatty bird.
California has a ban on serving the fattened meat, but that hasn’t completely stopped people from serving dishes with the illegal ingredient.
From chefs Noah Blom of Arc and Santana, who think they’ve found a legal way to serve the meat - giving it away for free with a $55 glass of wine:
“No one has the right to tell people what to eat or not eat,” Santana said. “Just because you’re vegetarian, vegan or love animals, it doesn’t mean your neighbor feels the same way.”
PETA, in response, has threatened legal action against the duo.
Photos: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times
Saving Banjo, a pup found tied to train tracks
Banjo, pictured above, was discovered last week by a train engineer who noticed an elderly man walking away from the Mecca-area tracks. The engineer, luckily, was able to brake an oncoming train quickly enough to avoid hitting Banjo, who is now up for adoption from Riverside County Animal Services.
Read more about Banjo over at L.A. Now.
Photos: Riverside County Animal Services, Coachella Valley Animal Campus
Let’s discuss talking monkeys
University of Michigan researcher Thore Bergman thinks he may have stumbled upon the linguistic missing link between monkeys and humans while researching wild Gelada baboons (pictured above).
“I would find myself frequently looking over my shoulder to see who was talking to me, but it was just the geladas,” said Bergman. “It was unnerving to have primate vocalizations sound so much like human voices.”
Bergman thinks that communicative lip-smacking by the baboons, in alignment with rhythmic facial expressions, could represent the bridge between animal sounds and human speech.
Read more on Bergman’s study via Science Now, or check out his report in Current Biology. Or just listen to Ricky Gervais’ perfect lead-in for any and all primate news.
Photos: Associated Press
The crisis facing California sea lions
State officials have declared an “unusual mortality event” for California sea lions, after an unusually high number of pups barely clinging to life have recently washed ashore.
For a sense of the sheer number of pups who have reportedly been found washed up:
In Los Angeles County, nearly 400 pups have been stranded since the beginning of the year. Last year, 36 were reported during that stretch.
As of March 24, officials said, 214 sea lions were reported stranded in San Diego County, 189 in Orange County, 108 in Santa Barbara County and 42 in Ventura County.
Read more from reporter Rick Rojas here.
Photos: Allen J. Schaben, Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times
Springtime for Yosemite
Times photographer Mark Boster ventured out to the Yosemite Valley recently, documenting the blossoming of springtime amid the beautiful backdrop of mountains and waterfalls.
To look at all of Mark’s photos, head over to the Framework blog.
Photos: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times
From the Times photo archives:
April 26, 1964: An unconcerned rabbit nonchalantly keeps pace with a high-speed sports car driven by Dick Guldstrand of Manhattan Beach during the 125-mile manufacturer’s race Sunday at Riverside Raceway. Guldstrand finished fifth in the auto race. Rabbit was bored and dropped out.
Photo: Cal Montney / Los Angeles Times
Malnourished sea lion pups have started arriving in northern California – by the vanload.
It’s a three-day, two-night trip for the weary mammalian travelers, with overnight stops in San Luis Obispo and Moss Landing. At the end of the road: The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, where the pups will be cared for and returned to health.
California AND baby sea lions being rescued - if that’s not worthy of a share, we don’t know what is.
test reblogged from wired
Why do roosters crow in the morning?
They’ve been doing it as long as anyone can remember - the silhouette of a rooster crowing against the rising morning sun seems to be ingrained in popular consciousness. But no one knows why.
But two researchers in Japan are trying their darnedest to figure it out:
When the roosters were subjected to cycles of 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dim light, the birds crowed about two hours before the lights came on. In conditions kept constantly dim, the roosters also continued to vocalize early in the “morning,” suggesting that their internal body clocks, or circadian rhythms, were involved in timing their crows at dawn.
For more details on the (unfinished) research, mosey on over to Science Now.
Photo: Barbara Davidson /The Los Angeles Times
Polar bears remain a threatened species
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided to keep polar bears protected by broad federal measures Friday,
The court rejected the argument that the 25,000 remaining polar bears, most of which live in relatively stable populations, were perfectly fine without “threatened species” status. But many scientists worry that the effects of climate change on the Arctic climate could prove dangerous for the remaining bears.
And it looks like polar bears may remain on that list for the foreseeable future, according to Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity.
“So for practical purposes, the listing of the polar bear is final, and really no longer under any serious threat from these challenges.”
Read more about the court’s decision here, via Nation Now.
Photos: Jeon Heon-Kyun, Koen Van Weel / EPA, Sven Hoppe / Associated Press