Monday, February 29, 2016

5 Times People Ruined Animals' Lives for a Selfie

Bad ideas and selfies are like the peanut butter and jelly of our times. While trying to snap impressive self-portraits at wildly inopportune moments, some of the distracted and vain have accidentally driven off the road and plowed into a tree, walked backward off a dangerously high cliff, and been bitten by a rattlesnake who was not in the mood to be photographed.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Kids Get Shelter Dogs' Tails Wagging by Reading Them Tales

Who wants a bedtime story? Well, your local shelter dog might — and at the Humane Society of Missouri, that's just what they're getting.  In the Book Buddies Reading Program, trained volunteers ages 5-16 read to the shelter dogs, helping them gain confidence and grow comfortable with visitors.  "We saw more and more rescue animals that were shy, fearful, and stressed out in the shelter environment," explained JoEllyn Klepacki, the society's assistant director of education. "Unfortunately, these dogs are less likely to get adopted, since they tend to hang back instead of engage when potential adoptees come through.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Sea Sponges Are Likely First Animals On Earth

The title of "Earth's First Animal" may be awarded to sea sponges, American scientists say. A new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) reveals that sea sponges were present even before most animals appeared millions of years ago.  New genetic analyses confirm that a mysterious molecule found in rocks that are about 640 million years old are from sea sponges. This means that sea sponges were already present before the Cambrian explosion, a period that began about 540 million years ago, when most ancient animals were reported to appear.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

14 Stories That Prove Animals Have Souls

Animals are capable of so much more compassion, love, bravery, and ingenuity than most people realize. Here are 14 incredible stories that reveal their hidden depths.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The Dark Side of Trendy Animal Photos

Selfies, GIFs, and viral videos can be deadly for wildlife. Just last week, an endangered baby dolphin died after beachgoers in Argentina hauled it out of the water to pose with it for photos. Also this month two peacocks in a Chinese zoo died after being mishandled by visitors taking selfies.  The International Union for Conservation of Nature, which sets species’ conservation status, lists the La Plata dolphin as vulnerable to extinction, protecting it from hunting and capture in Argentina—but not from people passing one of them around until it died from dehydration.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Students Learn Hands-on With Animals

Talking birds, goats butting heads, and a giant tortoise that hangs out with chickens are all part of a living classroom.  High-school students at the Career Center in Arlington, Virginia are learning firsthand, and hands-on, how to care for animals. They are at the animal science laboratory, learning about, and taking care of, about 50 species of animals.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Verge Review of Animals: the cow

When we review animals here on The Verge, some of the conceptual fun comes from treating things that have been shaped by the callous hand of evolution like they’re high-tech gadgets. But cows — or more formally, members of the species Bos taurus — actually are as carefully designed as the iPhone, except that Jony Ive didn't need to capture and tame a herd of wild BlackBerrys to make one. The cow is an invaluable invention and a terrible animal, and we have only ourselves to blame.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Stick Insect Helps Scientists Study How Animals Move

Stick insects, which look like walking twigs, are popular as pets and research subjects because they’re easy to keep, can’t fly away, and move at a pace that allows observation and study.  “I think they’re really, really sweet insects,” said Chris J. Dallmann, a researcher at Bielefeld University in Germany, who just completed a scientific report on the biomechanics of a stick insect’s six legs and what are, loosely speaking, its knee and hip joints.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Video: Orphaned Animals Learn to Love After Losing Their Mothers

The bond shared between animals and their parents is just as strong as that in humans. With this in mind, when a baby animal loses their parent – for any reason, the impact is absolutely devastating.  Sadly, many baby wild animals are forced to face this tragedy as a result of poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. Many think that when an elephant is killed for their tusks, for example, they are the only victim. But what we don’t realize is that these animals live in family and social groups as complex as our own. And many times, when an adult is killed, they leave behind children.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Would You Still Eat Meat If Animals Could Talk?

Futurologist Ian Pearson recently predicted that by 2050 it will be possible to implant devices into our pets and other animals to give them the ability to speak to us.This raises the interesting question of whether such a device would provide animals raised and slaughtered for food with a voice, and whether this voice would make us think twice about eating them.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Three Animals Have Died at SeaWorld San Antonio

Dart was a Pacific white sided dolphin, the kind that’s known for zipping through the water near the bows of ships and performing ocean acrobatics, one of the most active and playful species of an already active and playful animal.  But for the past month, the 12-year-old SeaWorld San Antonio show animal had been ailing. And this weekend, he died, the park said.  Dart was the third mammal to die at the Texas SeaWorld branch in as many months, his death coming fast on the heels of those of Unna, an orca, and Stella, a beluga whale.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Not So Dumb Animals: Putting Dog Through IQ Test

Like anyone who has ever had to fight Fido for space by the fire, I’ve never had much time for the idea that dogs are just dumb animals. Sure, they can play the innocent after snaffling that stilton, but in reality they operate with a low and lethal cunning that’s all too familiar.

Monday, February 8, 2016

As Perceptions of Animals Evolve, So Does English

Last month, a steer escaped from a slaughterhouse in the New York City borough of Queens. Video of the animal trotting down a busy street was soon featured on many media outlets. For those who care about animals, the story has a happy ending: The steer was captured and taken to a sanctuary, where he will live out the remainder of his natural life.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Life Isn’t a Cartoon, and Animals Are Not Our Playthings

Sometimes, in the small hours, terrible visions haunt you. Loved ones, upset. Abandoned children. Satanic flashes. Long-suppressed scenes from especially frightening films. And now, to add to the portfolio of nighttime horrors, we have Betty the photobombing horse from Prestatyn, north Wales.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Five Reasons You Need to Watch "Animals"

Rodents (and cats and dogs and pigeons) are people, too — at least in the clever, offbeat, and slightly sad new HBO animated series Animals. Brought to you by the Duplass Brothers producing arm, Animals was created by young up-and-comers Phil Matarese & Mike Luciano. Originally scheduled for a February 5th release, we just found out today that the premiere episode will be available online a day early, on Thursday. Here are five reasons you should watch:

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Oxygen-Free Animals Don't Exist After All

In 2010 a group of scientists announced that they’d found evidence of multi-cellular life in hyper-salty, oxygen-free pools at the bottom of the ocean. A new study indicates that what they thought were living animals were actually corpses taken over by bacterial “body-snatchers.”  Scientists from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have published a paper in BMC Biology that dashes the hopes of biologists on Earth and those who hope to find life in extreme conditions on other planets. Their findings cast doubt on whether or not metazoans can ever live entirely without oxygen.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Big Animals Poop Out, Study Of Daring Doo

Once upon a time, giant mammoths roamed Earth and the oceans teemed with great whales. These creatures ate massive quantities of food and deposited equally massive quantities of poop. A new study shows that these big animals and others like them, along with vast flocks of seabirds, schools of migrating fish, and herds of grazing animals, played a more vital role in keeping the planet fertile than previously believed.