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Lou

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PostSubject: more crazy animal facts .x   Tue May 28, 2013 5:33 pm

Owls Aren’t Very Wise At All

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It is hard to look into the face of an owl and not think that sucker knows something you don’t. It does, actually, but that thing is how to kill and eat rodents with great efficiency and that’s about it. An owl’s eyes are quite large, but its skull… not so much. This leaves very little room for a brain that, while capable of processing very large amounts of optical data, just doesn’t have the power to do much critical thinking.

It is incredibly difficult to train them to do even the most rudimentary tasks. When Gary Gero, an owl trainer that worked on the Harry Potter movies, was asked where the term “wise old owl” came from, he replied with, “I don’t know who coined the phrase, but I certainly know it wasn’t an owl trainer.”



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Taxifolia Is Taking OVer

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Every saltwater fish tank had caulerpa taxifolia in it when I was a kid. It’s an impressively hearty and vibrant species of seaweed, which produces a toxin that makes it inedible to almost all aquatic life. This is great for certain species of tank fish that like to destroy your live decorations. So what happens when a fast-growing and poisonous plant happens to get into an ecosystem where it doesn’t belong? It gets dubbed “The Killer Algae”, and then tossed right onto the IUCN’s list of most invasive species in the world.

How it got into the Mediterranean Sea is as much a matter of debate as its effects, but it only took a decade for taxifolia to cover an estimated 30 square kilometers by the early 90′s. Some research implies that its introduction might even be overall positive, but the fact remains that many native species simply cannot coexist with it.

The saddest part is that the invasion was discovered early. Debate over whose fault it was prevented it from being dealt with, and now it may be too late to do anything more than watch what happens.



3


Hoatzin Chicks Have Hands

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On to an animal that is doing just fine. The hoatzin is a really neat looking bird that tastes awful and smells worse, which are very useful advantages for being left alone by humans. There are a few types of birds that hatch with some form of spurs or claws on their wings, but in hoatzin chicks they actually have a purpose.

The babies are active climbers, using the pair of claws on each wing for extra grip as they make their way around the trees. Falling? That’s okay, they can swim pretty well too. In fact the only thing they aren’t so good at is flying. A newborn will have to wait months before it’s developed enough to fly, and the adults are notoriously clumsy.



2


Jumping Spiders Have Great Depth Perception

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Just because something has eight eyes doesn’t necessarily mean it has great eyesight. Field of vision isn’t the same as acuity. It isn’t really an issue for most spiders since they hunt by setting a trap and waiting, but not so in the case of more nomadic hunters like the jumping spider.

Only in recent years have researchers begun to understand how the jumping spider’s eyes actually work. The two primary eyes are incredibly complex. Even though the lenses are fixed, they are able to achieve some form of binocular vision by moving the retina around behind it. Those retina are composed of separate layers of light sensitive cells.

An image that’s in focus on one layer is out of focus on the one right above it, so by comparing the sharp image to the blurry one the spider is able to judge distance quite accurately. It does this so well that a Japanese company is currently attempting to apply the concept to a camera potentially capable of filming in 3D with a single lens.



1


Siphonophores Will Blow Your Mind

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Siphonophores raise some really important philosophical questions about what makes an individual organism, but first I should probably explain what they are. The most famous example is the Portuguese man o’ war, which is often incorrectly classified as a jellyfish. Other notable members include the praya dubia which is one of the longest creatures we know of at an astounding 50-60 meters, and a recently discovered species of the Erenna genus that produces an extremely rare red bioluminescense.

The Siphonophore is composed of zooids, each a singular animal within the colony, which are specialized for certain tasks. These zooids are capable of performing their duties on their own to the benefit of the collective, but they must rely on others types of zooids to perform the functions they cannot. This doesn’t necessarily make them individuals. Despite all the things that separate from the rest of the colony, the entire siphonophore still grows from a single egg.

So are they one creature or many? That’s where it gets complicated. Zoom back far enough and it certainly looks and behaves as one animal, but the closer you examine it the more distinctive the pieces become. Because they hover right on the line between colonial and a complex multicelled organism the siphonophore may hold some very important clues as to how evolution could have bridged that gap. That, to me, is truly amazing.

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PostSubject: Re: more crazy animal facts .x   Tue May 28, 2013 6:57 pm

jumping spiders....creepy.
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PostSubject: Re: more crazy animal facts .x   Tue May 28, 2013 7:02 pm

I thought they were all interesting .x

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PostSubject: Re: more crazy animal facts .x   Wed May 29, 2013 9:10 am

jumping spiders can go and jump into a pit of fire.. BYE BYE, HAVE A NICE TRIP!!! TAKE YOUR RELATIVES AND OTHER SPECIES WITH YOU THANKYOU KINDLY MUCHLY! muhahaha xx

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