Monday, January 31, 2011

Chimpanzees mourn their dead just like humans

According to a report by scientists from the respected Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, chimpanzees appear to mourn their dead infants just like humans. The scientists have filmed how one chimpanzee mother, whose 16-month-old infant died, apparently begins the grieving process. The ape continues to carry the body of her baby for more than 24 hours before tenderly laying it on the ground. Then from a short distance she watches over her child. Periodically she returns to the body and touches the face and neck with her fingers to establish it is dead. She then takes the body to other chimpanzees in the troop to get a second opinion. Source

Eternally cute

Photo Credit

Beauty in the eye of the beholder?

I've had the most fun this morning. Exploring, hunting, learning - THIS is what the internet was meant for, isn't it? I started at Albert's Window, where the portrait to the left caught my eye. AND - I had a little moment of Déjà vu. Something about that painting was so familiar. Now, why would such a bizarre piece of art be familiar to me? I thought I'd keep exploring. The letter which Antonietta Gonzalez the subject of the portrait is holding says,

"Don Pietro, a wild man discovered in the Canary Islands, was conveyed to his most serene highness Henry the king of France, and from there came to his Excellency the Duke of Parma. From whom [came] I, Antonietta, and now I can be found nearby at the court of the Lady Isabella Pallavicina, the honorable Marchesa of Soragna."
Now I detoured to Wikipedia, to read about hypertrichosis, also known as "werewolf syndrome." There, I learned that Antoinetta's father, Petrus Gonzales, has gone down in history as the first recorded case of hypertrichosis. There are more recent people who are afflicted with hypertrichosis, but they unfortunately are ostracized, or treated as freaks of nature and put on show in traveling carnivals. This was not the fate of Petrus Gonzales and his children. In Failure Magazine, Merry Wiesner-Hanks, author of “The Marvelous Hairy Girls”, states that,
"They lived at court and Petrus and his sons were given minor positions, Petrus being an assistant bearer of the king’s bread. The Gonzales family was at court because of their hairiness, in a situation similar to that of court dwarves. They were not exactly free to come and go as they pleased, but they were not slaves. Their noble patrons dressed them in luxurious clothing."
In reading an article which Merry Wiesner-Hanks wrote for National Sexuality Resource Center (NSRC), I was thrilled to see that the portrait of Antonietta Gonzales now hangs in the castle of Blois in France. Then, I had that "Aha moment." See, I've visited Blois! In 2006, we made a trip to France to visit some of the Chateaux of the Loire Valley. I had visited the Chateaux of Blois and had seen that painting before! It just took me about four and a half years to learn its history. I'm so glad that I did! (click for larger) Portrait of Antonietta Gonzales, by Lavinia Fontana

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Friday, January 28, 2011

Paper Art FAIL

I think these guys must have seen my last post, the one about Paper layers can create stunning art, but I really don't think that this is the correct way to do it. The stars of the above photo are Jake (Jacob Sylvester, when in trouble) and Fergi (The Lovely Miss Fergi) who have a wonderful blog, Two Special Wires.

Got lots of spare time?

from Paper layers can create stunning art via Reddit


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Shoveling again

via Bunny Food

Pug joins list of Top Ten dogs

They are stubborn, affectionate, fiercely loyal – and small enough to cuddle in one hand. Now, more than 300 years after they were popularized, the pug has entered the nation’s top ten best loved dogs. They are now more popular than boxers, whippets, beagles or bulldogs. Chihuahua numbers have also gone up threefold, while last year saw the miniature smooth-haired dachshund make it into the top 20 for the first time. Source

Can't sew them back on

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A valuable pedigreed cat that went missing from its New Zealand home turned up two days later a little different — it had been surgically castrated. Owner Michelle Curtis said she was furious when Buddy, her prized Siamese-Bengal cross, came home "fixed." Curtis had owned Buddy for almost two years and was considering using him as a stud cat. "What am I supposed to do now? I can't exactly get someone to sew them back on," she said. Source

An unusual painting

While we often see dogs in art, one very seldom finds a cat. Painted many, many years ago - but preserved forever ... I love this painting: Francois Boucher, La Toilette (A Lady Fastening Her Garter). 1742, oil on canvas. Fundacion Coleccion Thyssen-Bornemisza. (click for larger) via

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

'Godzilla-like creature' nabbed in Calif. town

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — The 5-foot Monitor lizard wandering around a condo complex in the city of Riverside had residents freaking out and reporting a Godzilla-like creature in their neighborhood. Black-throated Monitor lizards are carnivorous, legal to own in California and native to the African grasslands and parts of Asia. Juveniles go for about $100 in pet stores, but they grow. The animal was captured and taken to Riverside County Animal Services. Photo: Riverside County Department of Animal Services Source

Sleeping with pets carries disease risk

Nonsense! Nonsense! Nonsense! Sleeping with and “kissing” your animals on their little pet lips puts you at risk for some serious medical problems — even when those pusses and pooches are seemingly healthy, according to “Zoonoses in the Bedroom,” a study published in the February issue of the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. “The risk of contracting something is rare, but if you’re that person who gets a disease from a pet, rare doesn’t matter that much,” says the paper’s co-author Bruno Chomel, a professor at the University of California-Davis school of veterinary medicine and an expert in zoonoses, the transmission of disease from animal to human. “I know this will make me unpopular, but pets really don’t belong in your bed.” Source --- Please remember: you can't believe everything you read on the internet. The American Veterinary Medical Association doesn’t have a formal recommendation about pets sleeping with their humans. But AVMA president Larry Kornegay affirms that zoonotic diseases are “uncommon, if not rare.”

He should be the next mayor of Chicago

Ann at paper bag & string blogged about Freddy, the unofficial mayor of the Village of Sharon, in Walworth County, Wisconsin. The cat known as the mayor of Sharon, or Freddy, lives at the Village Hall, greeting folks who come to pay water or property tax bills. He meows to go out twice a day to make his rounds in the small downtown, visiting the post office, the back doors of restaurants and at least one tavern, as well as stopping to catch mice in a wooded area across from the Village Hall. "This is his town," said Sharon Postmaster Scott Vinke. "Everyone looks out for him. If he's crossing the street, everybody stops and gives him the right of way. He's the mayor." Read more Wouldn't it be great to get Freddy's name on the ballot for Mayor of Chicago?

Animal cruelty laws among fastest-growing

Incidents of abuse and a shifting national consciousness have made animal anti-cruelty laws one of the fastest-growing fields in the legal profession. In 1993, just seven states had felony animal cruelty laws; today, all but four do. "Animal law is where environmental law was 20 years ago. It's in its infancy but growing," said Pamela Frasch, who heads the National Center for Animal Law at Lewis & Clark Law School in Portland, where she has been an adjunct professor for 10 years. Lewis & Clark opened the first Animal Legal Defense Fund chapter in 1992. Today it has branches at more than 115 law schools in the United States and Canada. In 2000, nine law schools had animal law studies. Today about 100 do. READ More

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Here's a real Christian for ya

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Authorities have charged a South Carolina woman with felony animal cruelty, saying she hanged her nephew's pit bull from a tree with an electrical cord and burned its body because the dog chewed on her Bible. Animal control officers said Monday that 65-year-old Miriam Smith told them she killed a female dog named Diamond because it was a "devil dog" and she worried it could harm neighborhood children. Source

World's oldest dog?

Meet Uncle Chi-Chi, A miniature poodle who has had three owners, traveled the world, survived a rescue home, cataracts, glaucoma and at least two near-death experiences is being hailed as the world's oldest dog. Believed by his current owner to be at least 23, and possibly 24, he takes eight short walks a day in Manhattan's exclusive West Village where he has been doted on by film producer Frank Pavich for the last 15 years. Source

Giant new crayfish species

A new species of giant crayfish, Barbicambarus simmonsi, has been found in Tennessee. At about 5in (12 cm) long, the huge crayfish is twice the size of other species. Its 'bearded' setae on the antennae, bright red highlights and aquamarine tail fins add to its distinctiveness. Photograph: Courtesy of Carl Williams Source

Monday, January 24, 2011

Remember Leo the Lion?

Leo the Lion is the mascot for the Hollywood film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and one of its predecessors, Goldwyn Pictures, featured in the studio's production logo. Slats was the first lion used for the newly-formed MGM studio. He was born at Dublin Zoo, Ireland on March 20, 1919. The photo above is Slats the Lion being filmed for his cinematic debut as the MGM Logo, c. 1924. Slats was used on all black-and-white MGM films between 1924 and 1928. Slats was trained to growl rather than roar (although in the logo he did nothing but look around), and for the next couple of years, the lion would tour with MGM promoters to signify the studio's launch. Slats died in 1936. His skin is now on display at the McPherson Museum, in Kansas. The original logo was designed by Howard Dietz and used by the Goldwyn Pictures Corporation studio from 1916 to 1924. PHOTO 1: via The Daily What PHOTO 2: Wikipedia

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011


Source: one of my favorites, Awkward Family Pet Photos

Phone keeps ringing in croc's tummy

KIEV, Ukraine — Gena, a 14-year-old crocodile at an aquarium in the eastern city of Dnipropetrovsk, has been refusing food and acting listless after eating a cell phone dropped by a woman as she tried to photograph him. Aquarium workers initially didn't believe Rimma Golovko, a new mother in her 20s, when she complained that the crocodile had swallowed her phone. “But then the phone started ringing and the sound was coming from inside our Gena's stomach and we understood she wasn't lying,” said Alexandra, an employee. The mishap has caused problems for the crocodile, which has not eaten or had a bowel movement in four weeks and appears depressed and in pain. "The animal is not feeling well," said Alexandra. "His behavior has changed, he moves very little and swims much less than he used to." Source

1,022 words - largest vocabulary of any known dog

Chaser, a border collie who lives in Spartanburg, S.C., knows 1,022 proper nouns, a record that displays unexpected depths of the canine mind. John W. Pilley, Chaser's owner, bought her as a puppy in 2004 from a local border collie breeder and started to train her for four to five hours a day. He would show her an object, say its name up to 40 times, then hide it and ask her to find it, while repeating the name all the time. She was taught one or two new names a day, with monthly revisions and reinforcement for any names she had forgotten. It was hard to remember all the names Chase had to learn, so he wrote the name on each toy with indelible marker. In three years, Chaser's vocabulary included 800 cloth animals, 116 balls, 26 Frisbees and a medley of plastic items. Source

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Drug-Smuggling Pigeon Nabbed

Colombian police say they have captured a carrier pigeon that was being used to smuggle drugs into a prison. The bird was trying to fly into a jail in the north-eastern city of Bucaramanga with marijuana and cocaine paste strapped to its back, but did not make it. Police believe the 45g (1.6oz) drug package was too heavy for it. Police, who believe the bird was trained by inmates, say they've caught other pigeons attempting to carry phone cards into the jail. Source

Jim Carrey to star with penguins

Think penguin movies peaked about five years ago when March of the Penguins and Happy Feet were playing?

Hollywood believes audiences will come waddling back on Aug. 12, when 20th Century Fox releases the big-screen adaptation of the 1930s children's book Mr. Popper's Penguins, starring Jim Carrey, Angela Lansbury and a half-dozen real-life, flightless water fowl.

Audiences will be watching the real penguins for roughly half the movie. In some scenes, CGI animals were used. Source

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

N. America's oldest Asian elephant dies

VALLEJO, Calif. -- North America's oldest Asian elephant has died at a Northern California theme park at the age of 71. The average life expectancy for Asian elephants is 44.8 years. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom on Tuesday announced the death of Taj, who had lived at the Vallejo park for 33 years. The elephant was one of Discovery Kingdom's most popular attractions. Her tricks included stacking logs and playing tug-of-war with guests. The park retired her three years ago. AP Photo Source

Dogs Were Man's Best Friend Even 9,400 Years Ago

PORTLAND, Maine -- Nearly 10,000 years ago, man's best friend provided protection and companionship - and an occasional meal. That's what researchers are saying after finding a bone fragment from what they are calling the earliest confirmed domesticated dog in the Americas. University of Maine graduate student Samuel Belknap III came across the fragment while analyzing a dried-out sample of human waste unearthed in southwest Texas in the 1970s. A carbon-dating test put the age of the bone at 9,400 years, and a DNA analysis confirmed it came from a dog - not a wolf, coyote or fox, Belknap said. Because it was found deep inside a pile of human excrement and was the characteristic orange-brown color that bone turns when it has passed through the digestive tract, the fragment provides the earliest direct evidence that dogs - besides being used for company, security and hunting - were eaten by humans and may even have been bred as a food source, he said. Source

Bad hair day

These wild haired primates prove that being a real life gorilla in the mist can wreak havoc with your hairdo. Looking in desperate need of some frizz-ease, the grizzled gorillas have the local weather to thank for their curly look. Aren't they cute? Source

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Winter jacket saves small dog from owl

CRYSTAL LAKE, IL -- An Illinois man credited his Chihuahua's winter jacket with saving the small canine from a great horned owl attack. George Kalomiris said he was walking the 4-pound dog, Chico, in the early hours Wednesday in Crystal Lake when the owl swooped out of the darkness and tried to grab the canine. Kalomiris said the owl could not get a good grip on Chico because of the dog's puffy winter jacket. He said the dog suffered scratches to his head and a puncture wound, but quickly recovered from the injuries. Source

Poodles in a car

From an excellent collection at Flickr by J Van Noate, Antique Dog Photos

Tuesday - feels like Monday - I could sleep .....

via The Daily What

Monday, January 17, 2011


A wounded fox shot its would be killer in Belarus by pulling the trigger on the hunter's gun as the pair scuffled after the man tried to finish the animal off with the butt of the rifle. Source

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Today's awwwwwww

Photo: Kevin Zhao / Reuters

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Video: Cat vs. Bear

It's OK, the cat wins, I think.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Yeah, I tried to get out of jury duty, too

Boston resident Sal Esposito recently got called in for jury duty. He might have some problems performing this required task, though, as Sal is a cat. The problem arose after owners Anna and Guy Esposito listed him on the last U.S. Census under "pet." Anna filed for his disqualification of service. He was not "too old," "ill," or a "convicted felon," so she filed that he "cannot speak English." The jury commissioner denied this request. Source Note: cat in photo is NOT Sal Esposito.


Picture: CATERS

Got lots of time to waste? Cat video collection

From cute to curmudgeonly, sappy to scary, tame to thrilling, and more, here's Gawker's compilation of the 2010's best feline-focused video offerings. OK, so their video will only take 90 seconds of your time. If you have lots of time:

Have fun!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Law and Order: Animal Victims Unit

A COMPLICATED MURDER CASE Brandon Bird diorama 2010 via Laughing Squid

Hold that tiger!

German police have told an employee of a Russian circus group that he can take his tigers for walks as long as the authorities are notified in advance. The 30-year-old man caused a stir in the northern German village of Ratzeburg on Sunday when a woman called police to report a man walking a tiger cub outside of town. The man, who is from a nearby village, works for a Russian circus group that is now on a break in the Netherlands and was charged with looking after three grown tigers and a cub. Source

Baby, it's cold outside!

But Gizzy is nice and toasty (and absolutely adorable!) via Crocheting in Georgia

Help keep your pet healthier

According to Colorado State University, as many as 50% of pets die of cancer, making it a leading cause of pet death. With loads to worry about and treatments being insanely expensive, what can you do now to help prevent cancer in the future? 10 Dog Foods that May Lead to Cancer by Vet Tech blog, lists foods and additives which have been known to cause illness in humans and are also a good choice to stay away from in all pet and people foods.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chicago: another mass animal death

Along the Chicago lakefront, gizzard shad - a type of herring — are dying off in large numbers. Thousands, maybe more, are dead and frozen or floating in Lake Michigan. Geese and ducks are feeding on the dead and dying fish. Gizzard shad, members of the herring family, are more sensitive to drops in oxygen levels than most fish. And thick ice came early to Chicago harbors in December. PHOTO: Dale Bowman~For the Sun-Times Source

Pandas in kilts?

Giant pandas are to return to the UK for the first time in 17 years. The pair of seven-year-old pandas, Tian Tian and Yangguang, will arrive at Edinburgh zoo this year, marking "the culmination of five years of political and diplomatic negotiation at the highest level" according to the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. The ambassador of China to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, said: "Pandas are a Chinese national treasure. This historical agreement is a gift to the people of the UK from China. It will represent an important symbol of our friendship and will bring our two people closer together." Source

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pet Ferret Bites Off 7 Fingers Of Infant

GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. -- A 4-month-old boy had seven of his fingers gnawed off by a pet ferret in Grain Valley. Police and firefighters responded to a home in the 200 block of Young Street Monday morning after an animal bite call. Grain Valley police Chief Aaron Ambrose said it was much worse. Video: Ferret Bites Off Fingers Of Infant "Upon further investigating, they learned that the infant's fingers had been taken off by the family's pet ferret," Ambrose said. The police report said the boy was in a rocker when his parents fell asleep, one parent in the bedroom, the other in the same room the bites occurred. The ferret bit off all but the boy's two thumbs and one pinky, the report said. Source

Honey - another Chinese import to worry about

As crime sagas go, a scheme rigged by a sophisticated cartel of global traders has all the right blockbuster elements: clandestine movements of illegal substances through a network of co-operatives in Asia, a German conglomerate, jet-setting executives, doctored laboratory reports, high-profile takedowns and fearful turncoats. What makes this worldwide drama unusual, other than being regarded as part of the largest food fraud in U.S. history, is the fact that honey, nature’s benign golden sweetener, is the lucrative contraband. What consumers don’t know is that honey doesn’t usually come straight – or pure – from the hive. Most honey comes from China, where beekeepers are notorious for keeping their bees healthy with antibiotics banned in North America because they seep into honey and contaminate it; packers there learn to mask the acrid notes of poor quality product by mixing in sugar or corn-based syrups to fake good taste. None of this is on the label. Rarely will a jar of honey say “Made in China.” Instead, Chinese honey sold in North America is more likely to be stamped as Indonesian, Malaysian or Taiwanese, due to a growing multimillion dollar laundering system designed to keep the endless supply of cheap and often contaminated Chinese honey moving into the U.S., where tariffs have been implemented to staunch the flow and protect its own struggling industry. Continue to read this fascinating story ...

Prairie dogs on the lam from Ohio zoo

POWELL, Ohio -- An Ohio zoo is trying to round up runaway prairie dogs and is asking its neighbors for help. The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium said Friday 11 of the critters wriggled their way out of temporary quarters and so far only four have been recovered. Assistant Curator Jeremy Carpenter says in a statement there's no reason to believe the animals have left zoo property. But he says nearby residents are being asked to watch for prairie dogs, just in case. Source

Monday, January 10, 2011

Scary pork?

In a small complex of nondescript barns set in the flat, snow-covered fields of Ontario, Enviropig is a scientific project which, some argue, represents the new frontier of a technology that could benefit millions of people around the world. For others what is happening here is weird, dangerous science. The pigs they are breeding could be among the first genetically modified farm animal to be approved for human consumption.Each pig contains genes from mice and E.coli bacteria, which have been inserted into their DNA with absolute precision. Those genes make a small but important difference to the way these pigs process their food. Ordinarily, pigs cannot easily digest chemicals called phosphates. That means that the stuff that comes out of the back end can be toxic and damaging to the environment. The phosphates are easily washed into waterways, where they can produce a hugely fertile environment for plants. But the plants grow so rapidly that they choke the stream or river and cause huge damage to the ecosystem. The genetic modification enables these pigs to digest phosphates, which means they are less polluting and cheaper to feed. Source

Sleepy, sleepy Monday morning

Rusty yawns Romeo yawns Let's go back to bed! from Flickr, corsi photo

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Orphaned bat epidemic in Australia

Torrential rain has brought chaos to Australia, and not just to the humans who live there. Australian Bat Clinic and Wildlife Trauma Centre director Trish Wimberley and her carers have helped save 130 orphaned bats on the Gold Coast in past weeks. They saved 350 young bats during the 2008 storm season but this year think there's more going on than just wild weather. Carers have visited several bat 'camps' on the coast in recent weeks to find four-week-old babies on the ground covered in maggots and fly eggs. Trish said: 'They're coming down to feed on the ground. That makes them vulnerable. It's not a natural occurrence and shows there is trouble in the environment. 'Bats are a barometer to what is going on in the environment. They're our canaries down the coal mine'. Source

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Friday, January 7, 2011

Two-headed calf wows villagers in Georgia

The brown-haired baby cow, born Jan. 2, has to be bottle-fed by its owner, Irakli Dzhgarkava, because its mother refuses to feed it. Source

Mass Animal Deaths: The Creepiest Casualties Ever

In light of the recent occurrence of large numbers of dead birds appearing mysteriously, The Huffington Post recaps a few of the creepiest mass animal deaths that have occurred throughout history. One I had never heard of before is Scotland’s Overtoun Bridge, where many dogs have committed, or have attempted, suicide. "The Daily Mail wrote an article featuring reports of horrified pet owners who walked their dog over the bridge, when suddenly the dog would, without warning, leap over the bridge, falling 50 ft to the rocky bottom below. Perhaps even more disturbing, there are reports of “second timers” – of the few dogs who have survived the fall, some jumped over the same bridge again. " Source

Thursday, January 6, 2011

3 Times Cute!

Three white lion cubs are presented to the public for the first time at the city zoo in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Wednesday Jan. 5, 2011. The cubs were born on Nov. 16, 2010. According to zoo officials these are the first white lions to be born in South America. Source AP Photo/Eduardo Di Baia

Into the Lion's Den

At a zoo in western Germany, a baby African Penguin decided to go on a little stroll through a lion's den. As reported by Der Spiegel, the tiny bird escaped its habitat and started waddling through the lion enclosure. Fortunately, the lions were asleep. Zookeepers guided the penguin to safety using a trail of herrings. The zoo doesn't usually name its penguins, but apparently bonded with this one, since they started calling it Leona. Source Photo: Allwetterzoo Münster

It's Snowing in Chicagoland

Go outside and play! Photo source

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Today's awwwwwww

Photo:Marian Brickner / Zuma Press