Start the Countdown Cows lie down when it rains, right? So why are these cows standing up? Is this just a myth? Chris Hyde/Getty Images The cow in the meadow may go "moo," but is she bidding a simple hello, asking for more hay or warning of an impending storm? Meteorology is pretty advanced now, thanks to the impressive capabilities of modern weather radar and other tools, but it wasn't all that long ago that humans relied on far less scientific methods for predictions of rain, sleet, snow or sun. In fact, the behavior of animals like good old Bessie the cow has been popularly used for centuries to help people get a leg up on all types of weather emergencies. Although these behaviors might seem mysterious on the front end, experts credit the fact that animals are more finely attuned to nature and its changing states (humidity, air pressure, length of the day) with their seeming ability to predict the daily or seasonal forecast [source: Thomas]. But not every animal is a … [Read more...] about 10 Ways Animals Supposedly Predict the Weather
Scientists experiment on a chicken in a lab. Michael Blann/Getty Images Why do we experiment on animals? Because we can't experiment on people. It sounds like a joke, but it's absolutely true -- medical, scientific and academic ethics prohibit professionals from engaging humans in potentially harmful experiments. One can imagine scientists -- flush from the excitement of creating a new hypothesis to test -- frowning when they receive a shipment of rats or mice to tinker with instead of an affable guy named Ted. Since we're trying to figure out what makes Ted tick (or makes Ted's ticker stop ticking), why not cut out the middle mouse? One of the reasons that scientists experiment on non-human animals is pretty simple: Testing on certain creatures works really, really well. In many ways, they're really much easier to test on. Take mice: They breed fast, they're small and don't take up a lot of room, and scientists can manipulate their genes (by either adding foreign DNA or … [Read more...] about Why do we experiment on animals?
Start the Countdown The axolotl can drag itself along lake bottoms, or else swim along the surface. Peculiar but versatile. See more mysterious marine animal pictures. iStock/Thinkstock From winged dragons and unicorns, to Bigfoot and the Chupacabra, we humans have imagined a vast menagerie of animals that don't actually exist. We tend to be so engrossed in fantasy creatures that we don't pay much attention to many of the 7.7 million different animal species that scientists estimate really live on our planet [source: Science Daily]. Some are so colorful and bizarre that they almost seem as if some overeager fabulist made them up. Take, for example, the golden lion tamarin, whose lush, resplendent mane and scowling visage make it look like a miniature version of one of those late-1980s heavy metal rockers on MTV. Then there's the axolotl, which uses its stubby legs to crawl along the bottoms of lakebeds, and the dingiso, a tiny kangaroo-like creature that hops around on … [Read more...] about 10 Real Animals That Seem Make-believe
Wild horses graze on the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve in Beaufort, North Carolina. Most survived 2018's Hurricane Florence. Bonnie Gruenberg/USED UNDER CREATIVE COMMONS CC BY-ND 3.0 The full impact of September 2018's Hurricane Florence is still being measured. Its verified death toll continues to rise: Forty-eight people across three states are now known to have died in the storm or its aftermath. Sadly, the fatalities left in Florence's wake were not restricted to humans. In North Carolina (an important livestock hub), flooding has killed roughly 3.4 million domestic fowls and 5,500 captive hogs. Yet local animal fanciers did receive a spot of good news as well. For almost five centuries, herds of feral horses have lived on the Tarheel State's barrier islands. Thought to be descended from mustangs brought over by Spanish explorers, these Outer Banks equines are beloved by the community and enjoy government protections. It turns out they're also quite storm-savvy. … [Read more...] about How Do Animals Survive Major Storms?
Start the Countdown Blood is red, right? In most cases, yes. But, there are animals out there whose blood comes in different colors, such as the octopus, whose blood appears blue. LOIC VENANCE/Getty Images Red elicits strong reactions. Around the world, it is by far the most commonly-used color in national flags. It can be a major confidence-booster: Researchers have found that wearing red garments makes people feel more attractive. On the flip side, according to one 2013 study, looking at red things might cause us to experience pain more intensely. You win some, you lose some. Maybe red wouldn't provoke our brains so much if it didn't happen to be the color of human blood. In this regard, Homo sapiens is far from unique. From timber wolves to tiger sharks, most vertebrate animals have crimson blood in their veins. This hue is produced by hemoglobin, the protein that helps our blood distribute oxygen. In grade school, you probably learned that blood contains three types of … [Read more...] about 5 Animals Whose Blood Isn’t Red