The Klondike region in Canada’s Yukon territory, which is famous for its gold mines, was once home to a large variety of animals. They included the long-extinct saber-toothed cats and woolly mammoths, as well as creatures like gray wolves, whose descendants still roam the Arctic territories. Hence, it is not uncommon for miners to stumble upon fossilized remains of the Ice Age inhabitants while unearthing the precious metal. However, the mummified remains of a caribou calf and wolf pup, unveiled in Dawson City, Yukon on September 13, 2018, are among the oldest-known specimens found with perfectly preserved skin, muscle, and hair. The wolf pup is also the only one of its kind discovered to date.
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Found all the way from New England to West Texas and northern Mexico, copperhead snakes, which get their name from their reddish-brown heads, are the most commonly seen snakes in North America. Hence, a sighting of the venomous reptile is not earth-shattering news, unless, of course, you happen to find one with two heads! Believe it or not, that is what a Woodbridge, Virginia homeowner stumbled upon while tending to her flowerbed on September 20, 2018.
Mention the word shark, and the first image that comes to mind is that of a ferocious carnivore circling helpless prey. However, while the bonnethead enjoys meat as much as any other shark, it seems to love its greens as well – so much so that about 50 percent of the shark’s diet is plant-based.
The “Ediacaran biota,” a common name given to a large group of over 200 types of fossils that have been found across the world, have baffled scientists for decades. Over the years, researchers have debated whether the strange-looking organisms were fungi, algae, or just ancient animals that had failed to evolve. Now, some experts believe they have proof that the mysterious creatures were indeed animals, probably one of the first ones on Earth.
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s charismatic giant panda Bei Bei, who has won over millions of hearts with his playful behavior and bold personality, turned three on August 22, 2018. To celebrate the occasion, the Zoo’s youngest panda bear was treated to a special enrichment painting session, gifted a new toy, and, best of all, given a massive ice cake, complete with the number 3, to feast on all by himself!
Florida residents are no strangers to harmful algal blooms (HABs), or “red tides.” The natural phenomena, which occurs along the state’s Gulf Coast annually, is the result of excessive growth of microalgae Karenia Brevis. The single-celled organisms, which are only visible through a microscope, are dangerous because they release brevetoxin – a nerve toxin, that attacks the nervous systems of animals with often fatal results.
Just a few decades ago, humans were the only species believed to be smart enough to grasp the concept of zero — the idea that nothing can be counted as something. While a select group of animals including dolphins, primates, and a few birds have since been added to the list, experts have always maintained that only “intelligent” species are capable of processing the difficult concept. Now, researchers from Melbourne’s RMIT University in Melbourne and France’s Université de Toulouse, assert that honeybees, which like all insects are considered to be at the low end of the cognitive spectrum, also understand the abstract mathematical notion of nothing.
While whales are known to grieve the loss of their loved ones, the recent story of an orca mom clinging to her dead calf for over two weeks demonstrates unprecedented evidence of the strength of the species’ familial bonds. The heart-wrenching saga began on July 24, 2018, after a female calf born to J35, aka Tahlequah — a member of the endangered Southern Residents Killer Whales (SRKW) pod — died 30 minutes after birth. Instead of letting the carcass sink into the ocean, the grieving mother began carrying the lifeless body by balancing it on her forehead or nudging it along the water surface with her nose.