Thursday, February 28, 2008

global ♥☺↕↕☼¶ rampage

A worker at a carrot farm (Getty file)

By Henri Paget

More than 60,000 people from an online group have pledged to swarm supermarkets and buy out their supply of carrots in one day in a bizarre mission labeled "impossible" by vegetable growers.

The "On May 15th 2008, everybody needs to go out and panic buy CARROTS" Facebook group was created earlier this month in London and now attracts more than 10,000 members a day — many of them Australian.

Facebook users plot global carrot rampage

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♠↕☼• Froggy Crossing

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

How the elephants really do make their trunk calls

An Irish-American scientist reveals how elephants use their feet and trunks to communicate.

By Christina Park
Sunday February 17 2008

Cailtin O'Connell

Oneworld, €22.20

ELEPHANTS can stand on tiptoe -- they can run on tiptoe and hardly make a sound. And they can use their sensitive feet to hear through the ground. You would think such behaviour would have drawn attention before but, as the writer Henry David Thoreau (quoted in this book) points out, "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see".

And Irish-American scientist Dr Caitlin O'Connell, author of The Elephant's Secret Sense, has a keen eye.

Employed in 1992 by the Namibian government to study elephant behaviour, with a view to keeping marauding animals away from farmers' crops, O'Connell soon noticed odd goings-on at a waterhole in Etosha National Park. Elephants would often freeze in tandem, face in one direction and lift one front foot to stand on tiptoe. This ritual always preceded the arrival of another animal or herd. It was as if, O'Connell thought, they were listening through their feet.

How the elephants really do make their trunk calls - Books, Entertainment -


Friday, February 01, 2008

Elephantine elephant shrew discovered

There is an exciting new mammal species in the news this week: the gray-faced sengi (Rhyncocyon udzungwensis). This is a record-setting animal, it is the largest known species of shrew, weighing in at a hefty 700 grams (about 1.5 pounds), 50% more than the next largest species.

Elephant shrews are extremely fascinating animals, and the name of the group is relevant to both a misconception and a surprising taxonomic truth about them. In spite of their small furry body form, they are actually more closely related to true elephants than they are to the North American shrews that we know and love. Elephant shrews, along with tenrecs, manatees, elephants, hyraxes, aardvarks, and golden moles, are members of the superorder Afrotheria, which is a mammalian clade distinct from the one that brought us the soricid shrews.

Pondering Pikaia: Elephantine elephant shrew discovered