At the end of WWII, a single pregnant brown tree snake stowed away on a military transport from Papua New Guinea to Guam. 65 years later, two million snakes are eating everything on the island that moves, and the USDA is trying to fight them off by parachuting dead mice stuffed with aspirin out of helicopters.
Last September, brainiologists figured out that they could read people's minds by sticking them in an fMRI machine and tracking thought patterns. Scientists at Emory University have taken the obvious next step and put dogs in an fMRI machine to figure out what they're thinking. Here's a hint: steak. Steak. Bacon. Steak.
Penguins have been locked in an arms race flippers race with leopard seals for eons, and like any aquatic superpower, they've been developing technology to keep them in the game. Their latest trick seems to have been stolen from 1960s Soviet rocket torpedoes, and allows the birds to fly underwater impossibly fast.
Rodents are typically the immediate beneficiaries of new medical tech, which is only fair as they deal with the other end of things, too. Usually just trying random stuff doesn't yield much in the way of benefits, but as it turns out, stuffing rats full of carbon 60 molecules increases their lifespan. By a lot.
Did you know you can make a simple computer out of a swarm of soldier crabs? I sure didn't, and I'll bet you a fresh seafood dinner that the crabs themselves had no idea either. But some enterprising researchers from Japan have shown that it is possible to make a crabputer. Practical? Maybe not so much.
Hermit crab housing has just taken on an interesting new turn. Harry, the local resident at the rock pool in Legoland in the U.K. has crawled into a specially crafted shell made of the local building material — Legos. So, adorable hermit crabs enjoy plastic blocks as much as they love 3D-printed enclosures.
Ah, the fearsome T. rex! Mighty carnivore of the cretaceous! Able to scarf down hapless cavemen in a single bite! Possibly snuggly soft and covered with fluff! Yeah, if there's one thing that utterly fails to make giant carnivorous dinosaurs more badass, it's the fact that they (or their relatives) were likely covered in soft, downy feathers.
For the last time, people, let's get it right: whether they're living or dead or made into lamps that glow in the dark, jellyfish are not fish. They're jellies, or gelatinous zooplankton, if you prefer. Thank you for your kind attention to the finer points of cnidariology and modern home decor.
Architecture Student André Ford is proposing raising chickens for meat in vertical racks after severing their frontal cortexes, rendering them effectively brain-dead. It would be much, much more efficient, there's no doubt about that, but would it be any more ethical than current factory farms?
Alex, the African Grey Parrot, was likely one of the most demonstrably intelligent non-human animals in the world when he died prematurely in September of 2007. A final paper on his mathematical prowess has just been published, showing that the bird was likely capable adding sets of numbers in his feathery little head.