Category Archives: Amazing animals

Interesting stories from around the net…

Our intrepid reporter Max the Reptile has been exploring the web and has found some very interesting stories to share with us…..

World-first hybrid shark found off Australia

By Amy Coopes

Scientists said on Tuesday that they had discovered the world’s first hybrid sharks in Australian waters, a potential sign the predators were adapting to cope with climate change.

The mating of the local Australian black-tip shark with its global counterpart, the common black-tip, was an unprecedented discovery with implications for the entire shark world, said lead researcher Jess Morgan.

“It’s very surprising because no one’s ever seen shark hybrids before, this is not a common occurrence by any stretch of the imagination,” Morgan, from the University of Queensland, told AFP.

“This is evolution in action.”

Colin Simpfendorfer, a partner in Morgan’s research from James Cook University, said initial studies suggested the hybrid species was relatively robust, with a number of generations discovered across 57 specimens.

Read the full story here at yahoo news

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By Pallab Ghosh Science correspondent, BBC News

 Spider-Man’s webbing is something that researchers have been trying to reproduce for decades

US researchers have created silkworms that are genetically modified to spin much stronger silk.

Writing in the PNAS journal, scientists from the University of Wyoming say that their eventual aim is to produce silk from worms that has the toughness of spider silk.

In weight-for-weight terms, spider silk is stronger than steel.

Comic book hero Spider-Man generated spider silk to snare bad guys and swing among the city’s skyscrapers.

Researchers have been trying to reproduce such silk for decades.

But it is unfeasible to “farm” spiders for the commercial production of their silk because the arachnids don’t produce enough of it – coupled with their proclivity for eating each other.

Silk worms, however, are easy to farm and produce vast amounts of silk – but the material is fragile.

Researchers have tried for years to get the best of both worlds – super-strong silk in industrial quantities – by transplanting genes from spiders into worms. But the resulting genetically modified worms have not produced enough spider silk until now.

Read the full story here at BBC.co.uk news

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True fact: A common ingredient in commercial breads is derived from human hair harvested in China

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com
(NaturalNews) If you read the ingredients label on a loaf of bread, you will usually find an ingredient listed there as L-cysteine. This is a non-essential amino acid added to many baked goods as a dough conditioner in order to speed industrial processing. It’s usually not added directly to flour intended for home use, but you’ll find it throughout commercial breads such as pizza dough, bread rolls and pastries.While some L-cysteine is directly synthesized in laboratories, most of it is extracted from a cheap and abundant natural protein source: human hair.

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Woolly Mammoth to Be Cloned

Woolly_Mammoth-RBC

Within five years, a woolly mammoth will likely be cloned, according to scientists who have just recovered well-preserved bone marrow in a mammoth thigh bone. Japan’s Kyodo News first reported the find. You can see photos of the thigh bone at this Kyodo page.

Russian scientist Semyon Grigoriev, acting director of the Sakha Republic’s mammoth museum, and colleagues are now analyzing the marrow, which they extracted from the mammoth’s femur, found in Siberian permafrost soil.

Read full story at Discovery news

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Pavan Sukhdev: Put a value on nature!

Every day, we use materials from the earth without thinking, for free. But what if we had to pay for their true value: would it make us more careful about what we use and what we waste? Think of Pavan Sukhdev as nature’s banker — assessing the value of the Earth’s assets. Eye-opening charts will make you think differently about the cost of air, water, trees …

Pavan Sukhdev
A banker by training, Pavan Sukhdev runs the numbers on greening up — showing that green economies are an effective engine for creating jobs and creating wealth.

Source: TED Talks

News from the world of nature

Some interesting finds are reported here by our roving reporter, Max the Reptile, who keeps an eye on developments in the world of nature and discovery for the Noetic Digest…

Saber-Toothed Squirrel Lived Near Dinosaurs

Source: Discovery News

Northern Patagonia was once home to a squirrel-like mammal with extremely long canine teeth, a petite 4 to 6-inch-long body, a narrow muzzle and a rounded skull, according to a paper in the latest issue of Nature.

You won’t see this critter stealing birdfood in your garden because it lived more than 100 million years ago when dinosaurs were still thriving. As you can see from the above image, dinos must have been no strangers to this saber-toothed animal that might have spent its days darting around columnar dino legs.

The discovery breaks a prior gap of about 60 million years in the fossil record for South American mammals.

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‘Shieldcroc’ May Be Father of All Crocodiles

Source: Discovery News

An enormous prehistoric crocodile-like creature called “Shieldcroc,” so named because of a shield-like bony plate on its head, could be the last common ancestor of animals related to crocodiles and alligators.

Shieldcroc lived during the Late Cretaceous approximately 93 to 99 million years ago. Its skull was discovered in continental freshwater deposits from what is now Morocco, and researchers think that modern crocs may have first evolved near the Mediterranean Sea.

But Shieldcroc then and now is capturing greater interest due to its hard-to-miss “shield,” a raised mound of tissue packed with blood vessels and likely covered by a thick sheath, similar to what is seen in the frill of horned dinosaurs. It might have helped to regulate body temperature, but probably served a flashier purpose.

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Wither the Wolf, Behold the Coywolf

Source: Discovery News

Wolf pups howling. Credit: Monty Sloan. Wolf Park, Battle Ground, Ind.)

According to werewolf legends, some humans can suddenly “shapeshift” or transform into wolves. But in real life, wolves are disappearing in large numbers and being replaced by coywolves. These coyote-wolf hybrids are now common in parts of the U.S.

A new study in the Journal of Mammalogy proves that such interbreeding is taking place. Lead author Christine Bozarth of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and her colleagues collected coyote scat (aka poop) and conducted DNA studies on it. The DNA revealed that coyotes moving into Northern Virginia stopped along their route to breed with native Great Lakes wolves.

People are to blame for the coyotes moving in the first place, since the changes inflicted on North American ecosystems over the past 150 years, due to hunting, habitat encroachment, pollution and other causes, have pushed coyotes out of their native homelands of the plains and southwestern deserts. Now coyotes are on the move and seeking other places to live.

The poop trail left behind by the animals reveals that coyotes have been migrating eastward along two main routes — one through the South and another through the northern U.S. The new DNA information shows that Virginian coyotes are most closely related to coyote populations in western New York and Pennsylvania.

While trekking northward, they eventually encountered the Great Lakes wolves and interbred before converging again on the East Coast. They then gradually headed south along the Appalachian Mountains toward what is considered the Mid-Atlantic region, to an area centered around Virginia.

“The Mid-Atlantic region is a particularly interesting place because it appears to mark a convergence in northern and southern waves of coyote expansion,” Bozarth was quoted as saying in a press release. “I like to call it the Mid-Atlantic melting pot.”

Hybridization between canid species is thought to be rare, but as this latest study proves, it can occur. Hybridization may happen when individuals have trouble finding mates from their own species.

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