King Kong fans will be pleased to hear that the massive skyscraper climbing ape is not just a figment of filmmakers' imagination. There were actual giant apes or Gigantopithecus that roamed the planet not too long ago. However, since the only fossil evidence found is the lower jawbone and a handful of teeth, researchers have been unable to glean much insight into the giant ape's lifestyle or what caused it to become extinct.
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Australia is home to some of the world's deadliest animals. However, few are as dangerous as the cane toad. Native to Central and South America, the innocent looking amphibian is an invasive species that was imported to Australia in 1935 to control the native grey-backed cane beetles that were harming sugarcane crops. With very few natural predators, their population began to grow rapidly. Experts estimate that there are currently over 200 million specimens spread across Northern Australia and the numbers are only growing.
On January 16, hundreds of panda lovers lined up outside the gates of the National Zoo in Washington D.C. to be the first to get a glimpse at Bei Bei. While the cute panda cub that was born on August 22, has been visible on the zoo's video camera, this was his first public appearance.
Time and again we hear about alliances between animals that would ordinarily be prey and predator. But in most cases they are a result of a strategic decision made by zoo keepers trying to help one or both animals. However, that was not the intention of the workers at Russia's Safari Park when they allowed a goat into their resident Siberian tiger Amur's enclosure in November 2015. They were just serving him dinner! Hence, you can only imagine how surprised they were to find the goat alive and well the following day.
A few years ago, Douglas Long and his colleagues from the California Academy of Sciences were helping D. Ross Robertson identify some chimaeras caught off the Pacific coast of Central America in 2010. Among the images were those of a mysterious pitch black shark. Intrigued, the marine ichthyologist asked the Smithsonian Institute researcher to lend him the preserved specimens so that his team could study the fish in detail.
Manatees or sea cows as they are often called are large rotund marine animals that can weigh as much as 1,000 pounds. But despite their enormous size, the mostly herbivorous animals have no blubber to protect them from chilly winter waters. Hence, every winter, the gentle giants seek out warmer waters. For the approximately 6,000 Florida manatees that reside in the Gulf of Mexico it means heading to the balmy 72°F waters of the roughly one-acre Three Sisters Spring in Florida's Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge.
During a recent trip to the Barcelona Zoo in Spain, Dan Zaleski decided to entertain the resident orangutan with a magic trick. In the video, the orangutan is seen closely observing the Connecticut resident as he places a chestnut inside a Styrofoam cup, seals it with a lid and then shakes it vigorously.