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Thu, 25 Aug 2016
The World for People who Think



BPA disrupts male turtle's brain development to show behaviour common in females

© StrangerView / Fotolia
Cheryl Rosenfeld and her team found that BPA can induce behavioral changes in turtles, reprogramming male turtle brains to show behavior common in females. Researchers worry this could lead to population declines in painted turtles.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical used in many consumer products including water bottles, metal food storage products and certain resins. Often, aquatic environments such as rivers and streams become reservoirs for BPA, affecting turtle habitats. Last year, a team of researchers led by the University of Missouri determined that BPA can disrupt sexual function in painted turtles, causing males to develop female sex organs. Now, the team has shown that BPA also can induce behavioral changes in turtles, reprogramming male turtle brains to show behavior common in females. Researchers worry this could lead to population declines in painted turtles.

"Previously, our research team found that BPA and ethinyl estradiol (EE2), a hormone found in birth control pills, could 'sex-reverse' turtles from males to females," said Cheryl Rosenfeld, an associate professor of biomedical sciences in the MU College of Veterinary Medicine and an investigator in the Bond Life Sciences Center. "Painted turtles and other reptiles lack sex chromosomes. The gender of painted turtles and other reptiles is determined by the incubation temperature of the egg during development. Studies have shown that exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), such as BPA, can override incubation temperature and switch the sex of males to females. In our latest study, we found that BPA also affects how the male brain is 'wired,' potentially inducing males to show female type behavioral patterns."

Comment: Turtles are not the only species that are being affected by BPA because similar effects have also been found to occur in humans.


Aggressive deer killed after attacking four people in Geneva, Switzerland

Authorities in Geneva have put down a rutting deer that attacked four people over the course of 48 hours, according to reports.

The buck went on the rampage at the end of July in a residential area in the Collonge-Bellerive area of Geneva, newspaper 24 Heures said on Thursday.

Describing his experience to the paper, one of the animal's victims, José Taboada, said he was driving his van through the area on July 25th when he saw it leap out of a sunflower field a few metres from his vehicle.

Taboada got out of the van to take a photo of the buck with his phone when it attacked.


Giant 2-metre catfish attacks woman in Bavaria, Germany

When a young woman went for a swim in an idyllic south Bavarian region, she got more than she bargained for.

The woman was swimming in a lake in Straubing-Bogen in southeastern Bavaria when the huge flesh-eating fish bit into her leg, the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) reported on Wednesday.

She immediately turned round and was able to swim back to the shore in safety. But the large bite left in her leg allowed experts to estimate that the beast - a wels catfish - that had a nip at her was around two metres in length, about 6.5 feet.

An expert from the Bavarian Fishing Association told the SZ that such incidents are not wholly uncommon, especially when the male is protecting a pair's eggs.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning kills 38 animals in India

© DC
In a gross natural disaster, a total of 38 sheep were killed on Tuesday night as lightning struck the Kammalam Poondy village in Kanchipuram district.

The catastrophe had left the village in a pall of gloom and is a first of its kind in the recent past, said the distressed villagers.

Cattle owner E. Lakshmanan (45), who lost 38 sheep among the 104 ones, has incurred a loss of Rs 1.52 lakh. As brief spells and thunderstorms were observed on Tuesday evening, Lakshmanan had chosen to not take the cattle to a fenced field and left them in an open ground, a few yards behind his house. At around 11pm, he woke up to the disturbance and was shocked to see the carcasses of the cattle.


Whale shark discovered dead in coastal waters of Shandong, China

On Aug. 23, a deceased whale shark was discovered in a fishing net on the coast of eastern China's Shandong province.

The shark, weighing about 1.5 tons, has been sent to a local aquarium to be made into a zoological specimen.

Whale sharks seldom approach coastal regions, which indicates that this shark might have been ill prior to its death.

Source: People's Daily Online


Duke the Great Pyrenees becomes mayor of Minnesota town again

© Associated Press
Duke becomes mayor again.
A Great Pyrenees called Duke has been re-elected as mayor of the northwestern Minnesota town of Cormorant, for a third consecutive term.

Duke became a mayor of Cormorant, population 1,000, two years ago. He defeated Richard Sherbrook, the owner of a local store, through write-in votes. Duke was 7 at the time and can now boast of being the first mayor in the US to have taken office at such a young age.

The dog won his third election in a row, held Saturday during the 6th Annual Cormorant Daze Festival. Duke attended the event wearing a patriotic star-spangled bandanna around his neck and a small black top hat.


Zoologists document birds communicating with humans for first time in Mozambique

© Claire Spottiswoode
Zoologists have documented an incredible relationship between wild birds in Mozambique and the local Yao people, who team up together to hunt for honey.

Using a series of special hails and chirps the humans and birds are able to communicate - honeyguide birds lead the way to hidden beehives, where the Yao people share the spoils with their avian friends.

It's a beautiful mutualistic relationship that's been known for more than 500 years - but now, for the first time, a team of researchers from the UK and South Africa have shown that the honeyguide birds and humans are actually communicating both ways in order to get the most benefit out of their collaboration.

While it's not uncommon for us to be able to communicate with pet birds and other domesticated animals, it's incredibly rare for humans to be able to 'speak' to wild animals - and even rarer for them to be able to speak back voluntarily.

Even more impressive, no one's ever trained these birds. They're choosing to collaborate with the humans on their own.


Hundreds of thousands of dead fish discovered in Waackcaack Creek, New Jersey

© New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
Hundreds of thousands of fish turned up dead in a creek in New Jersey this week, prompting environmental officials to investigate.

The Department of Environmental Protection said the dead fish found in Waackcaack Creek in Keansburg are peanut bunker, which is a name used to describe Atlantic Menhaden when they are first developing after hatching. Officials believe they were likely chased into the creek by either bluefish or skates.

The peak of the dead fish appeared to be Saturday, said Bob Considine, a spokesman for the DEP.

"Although the water is tidal, the creek and other surrounding waters where the fish have washed up can get stagnant during certain tides and we believe at this point that the die off is due to dissolved oxygen levels in the water," Considine said.

See what the fish kill looked like from above, via NewsCopter 7:


Baby humpback whale found beached at Cape Cleveland, Australia

Authorities are trying to determine what caused the stranding and death of a 4.4m baby humpback whale that washed up at Cape Cleveland on Monday.

A resident spotted the calf while taking dogs for a run at about 6pm and reported it to the RSPCA, with Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service then notified at 7pm.
Locals also mounted their own night time rescue mission by boat to the remote beach near Salmon Creek, on the eastern side of Cape Cleveland.

The Bulletin understands the group found the whale dead by the time they returned to the location about 8pm.

A Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service spokeswoman said officers were responding to the stranded humpback whale yesterday morning.


Dead humpback whale found in Cowichan Bay, Canada

A dead juvenile humpback whale washed ashore in the Cowichan Valley after being spotted in the area for days. Aug. 23, 2016.
A dead juvenile humpback whale has washed ashore in the Cowichan Valley.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says the whale was spotted in distress a few days ago.

It believes the young whale was separated from its mother and may have starved.

It was discovered on private industrial land in the Cowichan Valley today.

The DFO says it will be performing a necropsy on the juvenile humpback tomorrow.