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Wed, 28 Jul 2021
The World for People who Think



Signs and Portents: Two-headed turtle found on South Carolina beach

Two-headed turtle

The two-headed turtle
Two heads are better than one.

A state park in South Carolina posted pictures of a rare find made on one of its beaches: a two-headed baby turtle.

According to the park, the anomaly is likely the result of a genetic mutation.

The rare turtle was found at Edisto Beach State Park by one of the park's sea turtle patrols, according to a Facebook post from the South Carolina State Parks account. While this actually isn't the first two-headed turtle found in South Carolina, it was for this particular crew.

Cloud Precipitation

'The sky has fallen': Chinese farmers see livelihoods washed away by floods - Over a million animals killed

Pig carcasses tied to trees are seen in floodwaters next to a farmland following heavy rainfall in Wangfan village of Xinxiang, Henan province, China July 25, 2021.
© REUTERS/Aly Song
Pig carcasses tied to trees are seen in floodwaters next to a farmland following heavy rainfall in Wangfan village of Xinxiang, Henan province, China July 25, 2021.
Chinese farmer Cheng wades through knee-deep water, pulling dead pigs behind him one-by-one by a rope tied around their ankles as he lines up the bloated carcasses for disposal. More than 100 of Cheng's pigs drowned in floods that paralyzed China's central Henan province last week, and the outlook for those left alive is bleak.

"I'm waiting for the water levels to go down to see what to do with the remaining pigs," said the 47-year-old farmer from Wangfan village, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) north of provincial capital Zhengzhou.

"They've been in the water for a few days now and can't eat at all. I don't think even one pig will be left."

Cheng's farm is one of thousands in Henan, famous for agriculture, and pork production in particular. The province was struck by heavy rains last week that sparked the worst flash flooding in centuries, catching many by surprise.

"In an instant, we now have no way of surviving. We have no other skills. We have no more money to raise pigs again," Cheng, who has raised pigs all his life, told Reuters at his farm on Sunday.

"This is as if the sky has fallen."


Even seagrass affected by noise pollution says new study

Seagrass may not have ears, but that doesn't stop noise pollution from causing serious damage to the plant's other structures.
© Shane Gross/NPL/Minden Pictures
Noise pollution affects the structures within seagrass that help the marine plant detect gravity and store energy.
From the whirring propellers that power our ships, to the airguns we use to search for oil, we humans have created a cacophony in the ocean. For years, scientists have known that human-generated noise pollution can hurt marine animals, including whales, fishes, and scallops. However, the damaging effect of noise pollution is, apparently, not limited to animals with ears, or even animals at all. A first-of-its-kind study has shown that at least one species of seagrass, a marine plant found off the coast of nearly every continent, also suffers when subjected to our acoustic chaos.

Scientists have recently discovered that Neptune grass, a protected seagrass species native to the Mediterranean Sea, can experience significant acoustic damage when exposed to low-frequency artificial sounds for only two hours. The damage is especially pronounced in the parts of the plant responsible for detecting gravity and storing energy.

The research was led by bioacoustician Michel André, director of the Laboratory of Applied Bioacoustics at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia in Spain, who says he was inspired to conduct this research a decade ago after he and many of the same colleagues who worked on the current study revealed that cephalopods suffer massive acoustic trauma when exposed to low-frequency noise. Cephalopods lack hearing organs, but they do have statocysts — sensory organs used for balance and orientation. Similar to a human's inner ear, statocysts sense the vibrational waves we interpret as sound.

Light Sabers

Chimpanzees are killing gorillas unprovoked for the first time: scientists

gorilla 1
In December 2019, more than two dozen chimps went after five gorillas.
Chimpanzees have been seen killing gorillas in unprovoked attacks for the first time, scientists said.

The lethal encounters between the two species occurred as they were being observed at Loango National Park in Gabon, according to a study Monday in the journal Nature.

In the first attack in December 2019, more than two dozen chimps went after five gorillas.

"At first, we only noticed screams of chimpanzees and thought we were observing a typical encounter between individuals of neighboring chimpanzee communities," said Lara M. Southern, the study's lead author, in a statement.

"But then, we heard chest beats, a display characteristic for gorillas, and realized that the chimpanzees had encountered a group of five gorillas."

While the adult gorillas were able to escape, the infant separated from its mother didn't survive, the study said.


Woman dies of dog bite to neck, says Lucas County Coroner in Toledo, Ohio

The Lucas County Coroner's Office on Thursday determined a 31-year-old central Toledo woman died of a dog bite to the neck.

Emily Kahl, of the 600 block of Hamilton Street, died Sunday, the coroner's office said. Dr. Cynthia Beisser, a deputy coroner, said the woman suffered bite trauma to the neck. Toxicology tests are pending, but the manner of death was ruled an accident.

Toledo police did not have a report or other information immediately available, a spokesman said. A member of Ms. Kahl's family declined to immediately comment Thursday afternoon other than to say the family does not know the circumstances surrounding the incident and is waiting for more information.

The Lucas County Canine Care & Control seized the dog, a "pit bull" named Romeo, on Monday from a relative who had been caring for him and Ms. Kahl's dog after the incident. Romeo's owner, Thomas Holloway, who lives at the same Hamilton Street residence, visited the shelter Wednesday to surrender him. The dog was euthanized Thursday.

Black Cat

Man killed by tiger in Chandrapur district of Maharashtra, India - 20 such deaths so far in 2021

One more person has been killed in a tiger attack in Chandrapur district.

"Kashinath Pandurang Talande, aged 62 years, was killed in a wildlife (tiger) attack in the forest of Govindpur Chak village, in Sindewahi Range of Brahmapuri Forest Division around 6.30 pm. He had gone to the forest for grazing cattle," read a press note issued by Chandrapur Chief Conservator of Forest N R Praveen on Saturday.

This was the third human death due to tiger attack in Chandrapur district this month. One death was caused by leopard attack earlier this week.

With this, the number of persons killed in tiger attacks in Chandrapur district this year so far has gone up to 20. Six more have been killed in leopard attacks in the district this year.

Gadchiroli district has seen five deaths while Yavatmal district had seen one death in tiger attack this year, taking the total human fatalities in tiger attacks in Vidarbha to 26.


Cockatoos learn through social interaction

For the first time, a team of international scientists have proven that cockatoos, an iconic Australian bird species, learn from each other a unique skill - lifting garbage bin lids to gather food. The world-first research published today in Science, confirms that cockatoos spread this novel behavior through social learning. Led by Barbara Klump and Lucy Aplin from the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior in Konstanz, Germany, along with John Martin (Taronga Conservation Society) and Richard Major (Australian Museum), the team have shown that this behavior by cockatoos is actually learnt, rather than a result of genetics.
Cockatoo Australia
© MPI of Animal Behavior/ B. Klump
Cockatoos in Sydney have learned from each other how to open bins to scavange food.
Lead co-author, Barbara Klump, said social learning is the basis of different regional cultures, and some animals, such as primates and birds, appear to learn socially. "Children are masters of social learning. From an early age, they copy skills from other children and adults. However, compared to humans, there are few known examples of animals learning from each other," Klump said. "Demonstrating that food scavenging behavior is not due to genetics is a challenge," Klump added.

However, a few years ago, Richard Major shared a video with senior author Lucy Aplin, showing a sulphur-crested cockatoo opening a closed garbage bin. The cockatoo used its beak and foot to lift the heavy lid then shuffled along the side to flip it over, accessing a rich reward of leftover food. Aplin, who was then researching at Oxford University and has since moved to the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior in Germany, and Klump were fascinated by the footage.

"It was so exciting to observe such an ingenious and innovative way to access a food resource, we knew immediately that we had to systematically study this unique foraging behavior," Klump said.

Black Cat

Leopard kills 2nd village woman in 3 days in Uttarakhand, India

Stock image of leopard
© Getty
Another woman was killed by a leopard in Durogi village of Tehri district in Uttarakhand on Tuesday in the second such incident in the area in less than a week, officials said.

Gundri Devi (50) was attacked by the leopard while working in a field, forest ranger Devendra Singh Pundir said.

The woman''s body bearing deep wounds on the neck was found a few hours later in a gorge, he said.

This is the second leopard attack casualty in the village in just three days.

The big cat had lifted a woman from her courtyard last Saturday and left her half-eaten body in the fields.


Man killed in bear attack in Madhya Pradesh, India

bear print
A 55-year-old man was mauled to death by a wild bear in the Panna Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh, a senior official said on Wednesday.

The incident took place on Tuesday evening in the forest near Bagoha village, said the reserve's field director Uttam Kumar Sharma.

The deceased, resident of the same village, had ventured into the forest in search of his buffalo.

While his family suspected that a tiger could have killed him, Sharma said a bear was found to be roaming in the area when the incident took place and inspection of the spot also indicated attack by a bear.


Pit bull kills man who climbed through family home's window in New Orleans

A 66-year-old man has died after being attacked by a dog when he climbed through the window of a home in Louisiana.

The New Orleans Police Department said the victim, who has not been identified, was found at the address in the 8700 block of S. Claiborne Avenue on Sunday, July 18 around 6:41 p.m., reported WVUE.

After climbing through the window of the house, police believe he was then attacked and killed by the family's pit bull.

Police said the man was a relative of the people who lived at the home and was authorized to be there.