Broken Teeth And Fake-umentaries: Another Shark Week Gone By

The hit summer series was once observed with some respect by serious members of the scientific community. Through the decades, however, it has devolved into a B-movie-style blend of fiction, bad acting, a few facts and potential injuries to sharks.

In some of the shows, real scientists are featured onboard real research vessels at sea. However, their chief priority, beneath flimsy scientific premises, seems always to be landing sweet video footage of sharks biting stuff.”

Read more at NPR.

Little Giant Whales Take 100 Gulps an Hour

The blue whale can swallow half a million calories in a single mouthful. When it spots its prey—shrimp-like creatures called krill—it lunges forward, accelerating rapidly and opening its jaws to an almost right angle. Its mouth expands, its tongue inverts, and it engulfs around 110 tonnes of water—about the same mass as another small blue whale. Over the next minute, it pushes the water through sieve-like plates, filters out the krill, and swallows. Then, having reloaded its face, it’s ready for another attack.

But lunge-feeding didn’t evolve among titans. The fossil record tells us that the technique first arose in species in the size class of the modern minke whales—the smallest of the rorquals at a mere (!!) 5 metres long.”

Learn more from Ed Yong at Not Exactly Rocket Science.

Two-headed dolphin washes ashore

Turkey’s Dogan news agency reports that the remains of a conjoined dolphin calf were found on a beach near Izmir. It is thought to have been about a year old at the time of its death.

Akdeniz University marine biologist Mehmet Gokoglu was quoted as saying the dolphin was a rare occurrence, similar to conjoined twins.

But Mr Gokoglu denied media reports that his university in Antalya, southern Turkey, is studying the remains. He said the university would be happy to display them, but it is still unaware of the where the remains of the dolphin have been taken to.”

(via Boing Boing)

Meet the newborn ‘miracle baby’ panda triplets

These are the first publicly available photographs of newborn giant panda triplets born to giant panda Juxiao inside an incubator at the Chimelong Safari Park in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China. According to local media, this is the fourth set of giant panda triplets born with the help of artificial insemination procedures in China, and the birth is seen as a miracle due to the low reproduction rate of giant pandas.”

See more images at Boing Boing.

Despite severe poaching, hopeful signs on World Elephant Day

In light of World Elephant Day, conservationists are fighting to raise awareness and stop the slaughter of one of the world’s largest mammals, as more governments join the herd and ban elephant-made products.

The animals are dying at a rate of 35,000 a year due to the lucrative growing market for ivory-coated trinkets, which are made from the elephants’ majestic tusks and teeth. Criminal cartels export the luxury good – worth more than $1,000 a pound – by illegally gunning down the plant-eating pachyderms and then bribing border guards and police, saysthe United Nations Environmental Program. Wildlife trafficking is worth $7-$10 billion annually.”

Read more at csmonitor.

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