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Animals

'I'm outta here' - a crayfish performs a tail-flip (Photo: David D. Yager/Jens Herberholz,...

A team from the University of Maryland has studied the decision-making processes of crayfish in an effort to better understand the workings of the human brain. “Matching individual neurons to the decision making processes in the human brain is simply impractical for now,” explained psychologist Jens Herberholz, the study’s senior author. “History has shown that findings made in the invertebrate nervous systems often translate to more complex organisms."  Read More

Bishop, a 3-year-old black Labrador retriever, is one of the 'EcoDogs' trained to find sca...

Documenting the location and number of rare animals isn’t an easy task - by definition there just aren’t that many of them around. That’s why researchers at Auburn University, Alabama, have turned to man’s best friend to lend a helping hand – or more accurately, a helping nose. The school’s EcoDogs project trains detection dogs to find endangered animal species, or rather their sign (read excrement), in the field to aid researchers in their goals of ecological research, management, and conservation.  Read More

Little PARO, plugged into his pacifier-charger.

PARO is an animatronic baby seal companion robot designed by some very clever people with one simple purpose in mind - to make you love him. From everything we've seen, he's exceptionally talented at his job, melting the hardest hearts and bringing a big silly smile to everyone who meets him. But although he might be a wonderful toy, PARO's real purpose is to address a serious problem that's affecting Japan right now, and will soon spread across much of the Western world.  Read More

A tiny copepod collected this year from the Atlantic depths

“The deep sea is the Earth’s largest continuous ecosystem and largest habitat for life. It is also the least studied,” says Dr. Chris German, who along with hundreds of other Marine Life scientists from around the globe is shedding light on these mysterious depths through an unprecedented census of deep-sea marine inhabitants. Their recordings have yielded astonishing findings of more than 17,500 species of often bizarre marine creatures - from oil-eating tubeworms to elephant-eared octopods - inhabiting the blackest depths between 200 meters and up to 5, 000 meters (~3 miles) below ocean surface. Even more remarkable is the ability of these deep-sea creatures to live and thrive in topographically challenging environments where food availability is marginal, at best.  Read More

The ability to grow artificial meat in a lab could be essential to a stable future

Four years ago, a paper from the Tissue Engineering journal outlined techniques that would allow large-scale meat production in a lab. Scientists now confirm that they have managed to grow a form of meat in a laboratory for the first time. Described as “a soggy form of pork”, the initial result doesn't sound all that appetizing, but it's a development that could have significant impact on the future of global food production.  Read More

Putting safety first ... always restrain your pet

Ever thought how dangerous an unrestrained pet is in a moving vehicle? Did you know that a 35lb dog can become a 2700lb projectile in a 35mph crash? It’s alarming to think of the damage that poor animal could do to itself and other passengers within the vehicle. As increasing numbers of pet-owners take to the roads with animals in tow, safe pet travel advisers Bark Buckle Up and web-based automotive information company, Edmunds, have joined forces to release their Top Ten Pet Safe Vehicles in the hopes that their advice may avert some tragedies.  Read More

Researchers calculated the nocturnal helmet gecko's cone vision was more than 350 times mo...

There’s a lot more to the Gecko than a cute little acrobatic creature that has sticky feet and can walk up walls. The helmet gecko - a nocturnal lizard - is among a few living creatures that can see colors at night. The trick to this unique characteristic is a series of distinct concentric zones of different refractive powers, according to a recent study published by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. The research team hopes these studies may provide insight into creating better cameras and contact lenses.  Read More

Smart Animals Scanopedia uses smart tag recognition technology to teach kids about animals...

If you have kids of your own, you’ll know instinctively the easiest way to encourage little ’uns to learn is through engagement and interaction. Toymakers know this, too, and have been quick to use various technologies to develop new lines of educative products. The Discovery Channel-branded Smart Animals Scanopedia, an electronic talking animal encyclopedia, joins the growing list of electronic toys that try to both teach and entertain.  Read More

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