Tsumeb mine, Namibia
How Do Bamboo-eating Red and Giant Pandas Coexist?
Using high-resolution imaging, scientists at the American Museum of Natural History and the University of Málaga in Spain found that the skulls of the two panda species have structural differences related to the way the animals chew. These substantial differences reflect distinct bamboo-feeding preferences, with red pandas foraging on softer parts of the plant and giant pandas seeking out the tougher stems, allowing the two species to share the same habitat.
Meet Claudia Mitchell, the first woman with a bionic arm.
In 2006 she was outfitted with the arm to replace the arm she lost in a motorcycle accident. Her prosthesis, a prototype developed by the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago is one of the most advanced prosthetic arms developed to date.
Mitchell, who lives in Ellicott City, was the fourth person- and first woman- to receive a “bionic” arm, which allows her to control parts of the device by her thoughts alone. The device works by detecting the movements of a chest muscle that has been rewired to the stumps of nerves that once went to her now-missing limb.
She hopes to upgrade to a prosthesis, still under development, that will allow her also to “feel” with an artificial hand.
A while after the initial surgery, surgeons took the first step by rewiring the skin above her left breast so that when the area is stimulated by impulses from the bionic arm, the skin sends a message to the region of her brain that feels “hand.”
Future arms will be able to perform even more precise movements, but even the first-generation device “has changed my life dramatically,” she said. “I use it to help with cooking, for holding a laundry basket, for folding clothes — all kinds of daily tasks.”
Technology like this gives hope for the future because it is a great example how science can actually improve the quality of people’s life!
You can see a video of her using her bionic arm here:
Haüyne and Fluorapatite - Laach Lake Volcanic Complex, Eifel, Germany
If you were an orphaned animal, you’d want this woman to be your mom
Meet Margit Cianelli, a wildlife rehabilitator in Australia who provides her charges with the utmost care — including daily cuddles, verbal encouragement and fresh spaghetti.
"I will do everything in my power to help so they will not be disadvantaged for having had to grow up without their natural mother," Cianelli said.
And if you think these photos are cute, just wait until you watch this video.
Some facts about the evolutionary relationships of charismatic dholes
Canids form one of the most prominent families of carnivores, with 36 interesting taxa in 13 genera that occur throughout most of the world. As a family, canids occupy every continent except Antarctica. Foxes, dholes, dingoes, wolves, jackals, coyotes and various dogs comprise the family.
Within the canid family the dhole is something of an enigma and it is classified in a genus of its own - Cuon. All dholes belongs to the species Cuon alpinus, which includes nine extant subspecies.
The genus Cuon is post-Pleistocene in origin. In 1945 Simpson placed the dhole in the subfamily Simocyoninae of the family Canidae, together with the African wild dog (Lycaon pictus) and the bush dog (Speothos venaticus) of South America on the basis of shared anatomical features, most notably the reduction of the role of the crushing post-carnassial molars. Many have questioned Simpson’s classification arguing that similarities in dentition are due to convergent evolution because of a highly predatory diet.
Currently, evolutionary relationships within the family Canidae, reconstructed using comparative karyology, allozyme electrophoresis, mtDNA protein coding sequence data, and super tree method, as well as the relationships at the genus level studied with mtDNA, shows that the living Canidae is divided into five distinct groupings. These include the wolf-like canids, which consists of the coyote, grey wolf, Ethiopian wolf, jackals, dhole and African wild dog. This clade is associated with a group containing bush dog and maned wolf in some trees and, further, this larger grouping is associated with the South American foxes. The red fox group is a fourth independent clade, and finally, three lineages have long distinct evolutionary histories and are survived today by the raccoon dog, bat-eared fox and island and gray fox.
The wolf genus Canis is a monophyletic group that also includes the dhole. Basal to Canis and Cuon are the African wild dog and a clade consisting of two South American canids, the bush dog (Speothos venaticus) and the maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus). Consequently, although the African wild dog preys on large game as does the grey wolf and dhole, it is not closely related to either species but is sister to the clade containing these species. This phylogeny implies that the trenchant-heeled carnassial now found only in Speothos, Cuon and Lycaon, evolved at least twice or was primitive and lost in other wolf-like canids and the maned wolf.
In summary, dholes are part of a clade of wolf-like canids within which is related more closely to the extant jackals than to wolves.
Photo: a pair of Indian dholes in wild, Cuon alpinus dukhunensis, from Maharastra National Park, Central India | ©Sandeep Dutta
"Static Morning" by Toby Harriman