Zoology

Whale Week What Was

Steve Harris - Iron Maiden, Whale Oil Beef HookedSaturday started with a Face of the Day photo that was a bit hard to look at before breakfast. ?Cam finds a Frenchman worthy of respect, and is pleased to find they aren’t all cheese eating surrender monkeys.?Count Jacques le Bel de Penguilly does have a poofy name though. ?Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche is a play that Whale suggests David Farrar should review for his Womans Weekly blog. ?Australia charges its second Catholic Priest for child sex crimes, and this blog continues to ask: ?Why is New Zealand immune? ?We’re either better than the rest of the world or we’re still covering it up. ?Which is it, and why? ? Sadly, another Cry Baby post where we highlight those who aren’t taking personal responsibility. ?This time, people who booked on Jetstar had their flights cancelled are in the paper bleating they’ll never fly Jetstar again. ?If only they knew this could happen, eh? ?Sharing a public space is tough when the others are eating, playing music and talking on their phones. ?Cam Slater throws in a joke about an ERO school inspector and Hekia Parata, and follows it up with a post where he reveals that politicians lie. ?Yeah. ?Why do women wear high heels? ?It can get to the point of ridiculousness for sure. An interesting post showing that a Connecticut newspaper is still advertising guns right next to Sandy Hook School news. ?That was followed by a post of dash cam footage from 1927 as well as dash cam footage of a plane crash last week. ?Next a top drawer post about glow in the dark toilet paper and poop hand soap. ?Only on WOBH. ? An interesting BBC2 short about Gordon Buchanan turning himself potential into Polar Bear lunch?leads a post about Iron Maiden showing Steve Harris wearing a Whale Oil Beef Hooked T-Shirt. ?Perhaps we should avoid NZ Herald Stock tips: ?Australian shares are hot apparently? ?Especially those APN stocks. ?Oh, and Fairfax stocks are doing just great as well. ?And as we wind down towards the end of the Saturday, we have a post about a CK Stead letter in which he slams the Binnie report as having clear bias. ? Read more »

Genetic Modification we can all believe in

Grolar or Pizzlie Bears would be awesome. The world needs more Grolars.

?As caribou migration routes have moved North, grizzlies have followed and started mating with polar bears. Not only have they produced hybrid young, but those young are fertile. Polar bears and grizzlies only diverged about 150,000 years ago and haven?t developed many genetic differences, despite quite dramatic visual dissimilarities. Second-generation hybrids have now been confirmed in the wild. There have been a dozen sightings in only a handful of years, mostly by hunters, and most of those bears were identified after they were shot. It?s also a legal problem, in that you can?t shoot a grizzly with a polar bear license. Grolar bears, or pizzlies ? I know, shudder ? bring out the excitement of cryptozoology (Big Foot and the Loch Ness monster), but they?re very real.

Obligatory Whale post

If it has an Orca in it then the story gets blogged. Morgan needs to be set free:

New Zealand orca expert Ingrid Visser is hoping shocking evidence of a captive orca’s injuries will persuade a Dutch court to set it free.

Dr Visser is due to give evidence in an Amsterdam court today in a last-ditch attempt to force Dutch authorities to reconsider last year’s decision to allow a young orca to be exported to a theme park in Spain’s Canary Islands.

The female orca, known as Morgan, was rescued off the Dutch coast in 2010 and taken to a marine park near Amsterdam where it was nursed back to health.

The park claimed Morgan was unsuitable for a return to the wild, and transferred it to Loro Parque in Tenerife after getting a green light from the Amsterdam District Court in November 2011.

Dr Visser said she had observed Morgan at Loro Parque for 77 hours over eight days, and saw 91 acts of aggression against Morgan by other orca in the tank. She had documented 320 bite and puncture marks on the orca’s body, not including injuries inflicted by Morgan’s own abnormal behaviour such as banging her head against the side of the tank. The orca was also wearing its teeth down by chewing on the concrete, which was likely to lead to infection.

Whale Sex

Brace yourself…someone has papped Whale having sex and it has exploded all over the internet.

Bloody media.

Image after the break

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Most definitely a spit don’t swallow moment

? Stuff.co.nz

Word to the wise, when a squid spoofs in your mouth your really should spit not swallow:

A semi-cooked squid inseminated a 63-year-old Korean woman’s mouth as she was eating it causing her to feel a “pricking and foreign-body sensation”,?according to research.

The woman, from Seoul, immediately spat out the partially boiled squid along with its internal organs after experiencing severe pain in her mouth.

Despite that, she could feel many “small squirming” organisms in her mouth.

A trip to the hospital revealed she had twelve “small, white, spindle-shaped, bug-like organisms stuck in the mucous membrane of the tongue, cheek and gingiva”, the researchers said.

Doctors initially thought they were squid parasites because they were still moving during the examination.

However, researchers later noticed the presence of a sperm bag and identified the creatures as the dead squid’s spermatophores.

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Climate Change: Then and Now

There are plenty of terrible stories about how global warming is killing all and then there are the various canaries in the mine stories…except they are wrong:

James Woodford in The Sydney Morning Herald, January 13, 1996:

A TRAGEDY is beginning to unfold for the creatures of the zoologically rich Macquarie Island, with climate change in the Southern Ocean occurring at the fastest rate on earth. Scientists now fear that a 94 per cent crash in the population of rock hopper penguins on New Zealand?s Campbell Island is about to occur at Macquarie.?Macquarie?s population of rock hoppers, which has fallen from 6000 pairs in the 1970s to 3000 pairs now, is estimated to have declined by a further 5 per cent this season. The increase in ocean temperatures may have forced the krill into colder waters and, because the birds are so small, they are unable to reach it, said Ms Cindy Hull, a zoologist at the University of Tasmania. She is now concerned that the collapse in rock hopper numbers may be a warning that numbers of the island?s three other penguin species may soon also be affected by climate change.

Tasmania Parks & Wildlife website yesterday:

Macquarie Island is recognised for its rich and diverse animal life. Around 3.5 million seabirds arrive on Macquarie Island each year to breed and moult. Most of these are penguins. No accurate counts of rockhopper penguins are known; estimates range from 10,000 to 500,000 breeding pairs.

and from a pdf paper about the pest eradication project:

King penguins (Aptenodytes patagonica) and?Rockhopper penguins (Eudyptes chrysocome) are the next most common penguin species with 200 000 – 400 000 breeding pairs and >32 000 pairs respectively

Whale Watching

There is a reason why they tell you to stay 100 metres from Whales and why it isn’t a good idea to go paddling amongst school fish when Whales are feeding.

A woman floating on a surfboard near Santa Cruz, California almost ended up on the lunch menu for a humpback whale over the weekend. Barb Roettger had her camera rolling as two hefty whales popped out of the calm waters not far from the unsuspecting surfer and a pair of kayakers.

A pod of humpback whales has been hanging out off the Santa Cruz coast, noshing on anchovies that flock to the area to feed on plankton. The woman found herself in the middle of a feeding frenzy called lunge feeding, which occurs when whales herd anchovies and shoot straight up out of the water with their mouth wide open to catch the fish.

The whales have had quite a few dangerous close encounters with humans and boats in recent months. Whale watchers are warned to stay at least 100 yards away from the feeding area. Roettger says she has now gained a greater respect for whales, their feeding patterns and will now only spectate from the decidedly safer dry land.

Face of the Day

An orca takes a seal and drags it into the water to drown it. This was after a three hour team hunt in which the entire pod co-operated in order to make giant waves that washed the seal from its ice floe, and then did side swipes with their tail, blew bubbles, rolled the ice floe and then eventually dragged the seal to its death. It is partly done as a training exercise for the younger members of the pod but is also to ensure that the seal is exhausted and won’t turn round and attack. Captain Scott witnessed these hunts over 100 years ago and scientists today think that they may be the most complex team hunts in the natural world.

Penguins and Projectile Pooping

No not David Farrar, I’m talking about Adelie Penguins.

When Adelies poop, they stand on the edge of their nests, their rear ends facing outward, and expel the fecal matter as far as possible. The researchers estimated the penguins’ range at about 40 cm–not as far as the caterpillars, but still considerably better than the average human can do. Unlike humans, Adelies have a single “vent” for all bodily excretions (and sex)–the cloaca. Based on the size of the cloaca and the viscosity of penguin poo, Meyer-Rochow and Gal calculated the internal pressure at poo-launching at as high as about 600 grams per square centimeter (compare this to about 100 grams per square centimeter for humans). As SamW puts it, “no matter how hard you try to poop, a penguin can do it harder.”

There you go. Penguins poop harder.

Penguin Projectile Poop Diagram

Penguin Projectile Poop Diagram

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