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Mon, 27 Mar 2017
The World for People who Think



Whale carcass found on the island coast of Jersey, UK

© Rob Currie
The remains of a whale, which washed up on the south side of the causeway, have now been removed
The remains of a 50-foot-long whale have washed up near Corbière Lighthouse.

Experts believe that the highly decomposed carcass could be that of a sperm whale, which are found around the world including in the mid-Atlantic.

Marine biologists from the Société Jersiaise have removed bones and were also due to take teeth for sampling to establish the animal's species.

Francis Binney, a member of the Société Jersiaise's marine biology section, said that the creature had probably been dead for several months and was extremely pungent.

A spokeswoman for the Infrastructure Department confirmed that the animal's remains were cleared from the beach on Thursday between 8 am and 11 am and were taken to the animal carcass incinerator at Howard Davis Farm.


Wolves attacking dogs in two areas of British Columbia

© Times Colonist / Parks Canada
Two dogs have been attacked by wolves in separate incidents near Tofino and Ucluelet.

Isabel Flood said she was walking on the beach with her two sons and her dog, Chester, near Wya Point Resort in Ucluelet on Tuesday about 7:30 p.m. when Chester was attacked by what appeared to be a large dog.

Chester, off-leash at the time, was immediately overpowered and whimpered for help.

"It was viciously biting my dog around its neck and the hind quarter," Flood said.

As she got closer, she realized the animal was a wolf. Flood yelled and the wolf began to drag Chester into the bush.


Domesticated axis deer kills owner in Sunset, Texas

Axis deer
A state game warden says the deer that killed a Sunset man last week was not wild it was the man's pet.

50-year-old Sean Talley was found lying inside a pen March 12 with several punctures to his abdomen.

Montague County game warden Chase McAninch says it was an axis buck that attacked Talley.

Axis deer are classified as an exotic animal by the Texas Parks and Wildlife so they are not native or wild.

McAninch says normally you'll spot these deer behind a fence on someone's private property.

He added they are normally not considered aggressive, but like any animal, hormones can play a factor in any animal snapping.


2 rare vaquitas porpoises found dead in the Gulf of California

A vaquita porpoise - a critically endangered species of porpoise - was found dead in the waters off Baja California on Sunday, according to Sea Shepherd
More than half of the population has been lost in the last three years, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

The remains of two vaquitas, a critically endangered species of porpoise, were found in the waters off the coast of California in the span of one month. A conservation group calls the discovery alarming.

The vaquita porpoise is on the verge of extinction, with only 30 left in the world, conservation group Sea Shepard says.

"It is devastating," said OonaLayolle, captain of Sea Shepard. "It's been like three years we are now patrolling the north of the Gulf of California and this is really what we don't want to see. It's just so sad."

Loyolle, who has been heading the organization for four years now, said they work in collaboration with the Mexican government to battle illegal fishing and poaching in the oceans.

According to Sea Shepard, a pre-born vaquita was found floating in the Gulf of California, just south of San Felipe on March 12.

Just a week later, the carcass of a female adult vaquita was found in the waters off Baja California.


Forestry worker mauled and badly injured by grizzly bear in British Columbia

A Campbell River husband and father has serious injuries after being attacked by a grizzly bear in a remote logging camp north of Vancouver Island.

Ryan Arsenault, a forestry engineer, was attacked Wednesday afternoon near Rivers Inlet at Draney Inlet, on the Central Coast, about 100 kilometres north of Port Hardy, said Arsenault's boss, Larry Fedorkie.

Another worker was nearby and came to Arsenault's aid, using bear spray to deter the grizzly.

"His quick actions certainly saved [Arsenault's] life," said Fedorkie, vice-president of Capacity Forest Management.

Arsenault suffered serious injuries to his left arm, including tissue and muscle damage, a broken right leg and a severe laceration to his head.

Arsenault, who is in his 30s, was airlifted to Victoria General Hospital for treatment. He underwent surgery on Thursday.


14,000 year old engraved 'tablets' discovered in France

Some forty prehistoric engravings, more than 14,000 years old, have been discovered in Finistere, at the town of Plougastel-Daoulas, in Brittany (northwestern France).

© N. Naudinot/PLOS ONE
© N. Naudinot/PLOS ONE
Fragment 317 with a bifacial ornamentation: side A) head of aurochs surrounded by radiating lines; side B) head of aurochs.
Depicting several animals, these artistic vestiges date back to the Upper Palaeolithic period and are extremely rare in Europe.

The discovery, whose secret has been well kept, has only just been unveiled but is in fact not a recent one.

It dates back to 1987.

Arrow Down

The weird world of cyborg bugs and animals

© Draper
Roboticists frequently turn to nature for inspiration for their inventions, reverse engineering the traits that evolution has developed over millennia. Others are taking a shortcut by simply integrating modern technology with living animals.

The idea may seem crazy, but animals and machines are not so different. Just as a network of wires carry electrical signals between a robot's sensors, processing units and motors, the flow of action potentials around our nervous system connects our sensory organs, brain and muscles.

But while there are similarities, the natural world has come up with some intricate solutions to problems that engineers are nowhere near replicating in silicon. That has prompted some scientists to try and piggyback on evolution's innovations by building part-animal, part-machine cyborgs. Here's a rundown of some of the most eye-catching examples.


Scientists search for proof that Tasmanian tigers are living in outback Queensland, Australia

The last known Tasmanian tiger (pictured) died in Hobart zoo in September 1936
Scientists will search for the long-lost Tasmanian tiger in Far North Queensland after two promising sightings of what could be the extinct predator.

Experts hold high hopes of re-discovering the Thylacine, based on descriptions of sightings which they believe are 'detailed and plausible'.

Dr Sandra Abell from James Cook University - who recently discovered a second population of the near-extinct northern bettong in the same area, will lead the field survey, Australian Geographic reports.

The search was first instigated after the ABC asked co-investigator Professor Bill Laurance, also from JCU, to respond to a description of a sighting by former tourism operator Brian Hobbs of Ravenshoe.

Mr Hobbs gave Professor Laurance a detailed account of seeing a pack of animals matching the description of Tasmanian tigers while spotlighting in the Cape York Peninsula.


Dead whale with balloon-like swelling found on beach in Chile

Although the whale is about 52ft long, pictures show how an enormous balloon-like swelling dwarfs its entire head
This is the moment tourists flocked to see a dead whale - despite warnings a huge swelling coming out of its head could explode at any moment.

The giant carcass was discovered washed up on a beach in Pelluhue, in the central Chilean region of Maule.

Although the whale is about 52ft long, pictures show how an enormous balloon-like swelling dwarfs its entire head.

Thought to be a minke whale, the carcass has attracted tourists and scientists - but there are already fears it could explode.

President of the Vets of Wild Fauna Association Betsy Pincheira said: 'The protuberance is caused because of the common decomposition process. It is an accumulation of gas, generally methane.

'I wish people would not approach because this could explode.'

Bizarro Earth

Yellow fever killing thousands of monkeys in Brazil

Northern Muriqui monkeys
Yellow fever, a virus carried by mosquitoes and endemic to Africa and South America, has robbed the private, federally-protected reserve of its brown howlers in an unprecedented wave of death that has swept through the region since late 2016, killing thousands of monkeys.

Karen Strier, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of anthropology, has studied the monkeys of this forest since 1983. She visited the reserve -- her long-term study site near the city of Caratinga -- in the state of Minas Gerais, in January of 2017. "It was just silence, a sense of emptiness," she says. "It was like the energy was sucked out of the universe."

Using what in some cases are decades of historical data, Strier and a team of Brazilian scientists focused on studying primates in Brazil's patchwork Atlantic Forest are poised to help understand and manage what happens next. They have never seen monkeys perish in such numbers, so quickly, from disease.

Comment: See also: Yellow fever outbreak in Brazil worries U.S. officials