We've seen some fancy ways to improve the flavor of your morning brew, but few can compare to sending it through the digestive tract of an elephant for a little biological flavor enhancement.
Man has long warred against man, bringing all manner of bloody machination to rend the opposition limb from limb. For as long as man has been capable of throwing stones, he has also brought with him all manner of beast. You will likely recall stories of courageous horses, mules, dogs and perhaps carrier pigeons, but animals have "enjoyed" far stranger uses in battle. Here, commonplace creatures have been called upon to fulfill the strangest of roles. Here's our list of the 17 strangest, most under-sung animal war heroes ever called to battle.
This cute little creature is very likely the only liliger in the universe. Her name is Kiara, and she was born last week at Novosibirsk Zoo in Russia. Kiara's dad is a lion, but her mom is a liger — a hybrid cross between a lion and a tiger that's bred for (among other things) its skills in magic.
In news that bears repeating, scientists have shown that bears can differentiate between larger and smaller numbers of dots on a computer screen. That's right, bears can count and use computers, and this may just barely scratch the surface of what they're capable of.
Rayfish Footwear is a company from Thailand that claims to be able to genetically engineer stingrays with customized colors and patterns that it then uses to make shoes. It's a futuristic, dramatic, and perhaps ethically questionable way of designing clothing— we're just not quite sure whether it's real or not.
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.