Category Archives: Natural History

“Personhood”


Should Apes have some basic Human rights ?

By Tom Geoghegan
BBC News Magazine

Apes and humans have common ancestors but should they have the same rights? An international movement to give them “personhood” is gathering pace.

What would Aristotle make of it? More than 2,000 years after the Greek philosopher declared Mother Nature had made all animals for the sake of man, there are moves to put the relationship on a more equal footing.

Judges in Austria are considering whether a British woman, Paula Stibbe, should become legal guardian of a chimpanzee called Hiasl which was abducted from its family tribe in West Africa 25 years ago.

The animal sanctuary where he has lived is about to close and to stop him being sold to a zoo, Ms Stibbe hopes that she can persuade the court he deserves the same protection as a child.

APES AND US

Gorillas, bonobos, orang-utans and chimps are great apes

Chimpanzees and bonobos differ from humans by only 1% of DNA and could accept a blood transfusion or a kidney

All great apes recognise themselves in a mirror

Elephants and dolphins show similar self-awareness

Great apes can learn and use human languages through signs or symbols but lack the vocal anatomy to master speech

Great apes have displayed love, fear, anxiety and jealousy

In 1997 the UK government banned experiments on great apes but not on primates such as marmosets and macaques

 

Sources: Ian Redmond, Charlotte Uhlenbroek 

Chimps genetically close to humans

Spanish MPs are also being urged to back a similar principle, one already endorsed by the Balearic parliament and held dear by the international organisation The Great Ape Project – that apes be granted the right to life, freedom and protection from torture.

So should apes such as those at London Zoo, which opens its Gorilla Kingdom on Thursday complete with gym and climbing wall, get the same rights as their zookeepers?

They need greater protection in the eyes of the law, says Ian Redmond of the UN’s Great Apes Survival Project, who believes welfare groups could use guardianship as a way to rescue ill-treated apes.

Some rights are conferred on apes but only because they are endangered. And the international trade ban is flouted in Africa and South-East Asia, where mothers are shot and their infants shipped off as pets, circus performers or lab animals. Vivisection on apes is banned in much of Europe but still goes on in the US and Japan.

“Apes are special because they are so closely related to us,” says Mr Redmond. “Chimpanzees and bonobos are our joint closest living relatives, differing by only one per cent of DNA – so close we could accept a blood transfusion or a kidney. Gorillas are next, then orang-utans.”

But there is a stronger cognitive argument, he says, because the apes’ intelligence and ability to reason demands our respect.

 


“If you take a chimp away from its family groups it’s a real wrench ”
Charlotte Uhlenbroek

watch– Hiasl the chimp

“Show a gibbon a mirror and the reaction suggests he or she thinks the reflection is another gibbon. But all the great apes have passed the ‘mirror self-recognition’ test and soon begin checking their teeth or examining parts of their body they couldn’t see without the mirror. This self-awareness surely suggests that they know they exist.”

 

Family ties

Apes also share a range of human emotions, says zoologist Charlotte Uhlenbroek, who thinks they should be afforded legal protection enshrined in law.

They have a similar lifespan to humans and form strong family bonds which they maintain for life, she says. And apes have displayed a tenderness which could be described as love, anxiety when separated, and fear, jealousy and trauma.


The great apes: Status check
In pictures

“If I was an alien from Mars and looked at human society and a society of apes then in terms of the emotional life I would see no distinct difference, although we live very different lives because of language and technology.”

Giving them rights does not mean throwing open all the cage doors because some zoos are important to preserve the species, but it is vital to establish a principle that apes should not be treated like objects, she says.

Daniel Sokol, a medical ethicist, says apes possess cognitive and emotional faculties that make them worthy of moral consideration.

“Justice and consistent thinking require that we treat non-human animals who share morally-relevant properties in a respectful way, and that surely means giving them the opportunity to flourish and not be tortured or subject to cruel or degrading treatment.”

 
Orang-utans can kiss and cuddle

Look into the Apes eyes again at the top of the post and tell me we are not related.  “You can’t”

Kenny

The “POWER” of Evolution.


The “POWER” of Evolution.

This little fellow is a Elephant

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https://www.sciencenews.org/article/elephant-shrews-are-oddly-related-actual-elephants

This is one of the reasons why I love Nature so so much.

blue-and-brown-butterfly-on-white-flower-jessica-rose

OH YES  and this !!!

OH and not forgetting this  🙂

Copy of embrace 3

Have a wonderful week all and most importantly, “keep smiling”

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Kenny

The Penis Snake.


Scientists discover new species of ‘blind snake’ in Brazilian river that looks remarkably like a piece of the human anatomy (and stop sniggering)

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Here you find my first post for quite a while. Yes I know it is a little gruesome,  however,  more interesting posts to come in the near future.

 Atretochoana Eiselti (a.k.a., the Penis Snake  : )

This suggestive-looking, eyeless animal is actually called Atretochoana eiselti. It is a large, presumably aquatic, caecilian amphibian with a broad, flat head and a fleshy dorsal fin on the body.

15-Penis-Snake

These Snakes (it is said) have a habit of slithering unseen into the beds of sleeping virgins.

Evidently these snakes are edible !!!

Yes well that’s about the size of it, so we shall leave it at that me thinks   🙂

Kenny

WILD.


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howl

“In short, all good things are wild and free.”

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Stone me !


 

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WELL THAT IS ONE WAY OF CRUSHING HIS GRAPES

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boulder

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Click here for more pics of this amazing lucky escape

“And that’s why you don’t build a house in Italy… in a landslide zone”  and why in England we should stop building dwellings… on “flood plains”

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flood

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Such a silly thing to do, so why do we do it  ?   “Money”  What else !!!

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How the wolf turned into the dog.


Darwin’s Dark Knight: Scientist Risked Execution for Fox Study (Op-Ed)

Brian Hare, Duke University    |   July 17, 2013 01:15pm ET

A domesticated fox

This fox is domesticated, the product of generations of breeding in experiments initiated by Dmitri Konstantinovich Belyaev.
Credit: Brian Hare.

Brian Hare is an evolutionary anthropologist at Duke University and the founder of Dognition, a website that helps you find the genius in your dog. This post was an adaptation from his book “The Genius of Dogs,” co-authored with Vanessa Woods (Dutton, 2013). He contributed this article to LiveScience’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.

Today (July 17) is the birthday of one of the most important scientists you’ve probably never heard of — Dmitri Konstantinovich Belyaev. In the chokehold of Stalin’s Russia, where being a geneticist was likely to get you imprisoned, shot or both, Belyaev conducted perhaps the greatest genetics experiment of the 20th century and finally solved the puzzle of how the wolf turned into the dog.

For almost a century, Darwin’s biggest idea had a hole in it. To illustrate natural selection, Darwin did not directly suggest that humans shared a common ancestor with apes. Instead, he used a concept that everyone was familiar with — domestication. Everyone knew that you could selectively breed dogs for certain physical characteristics, like size or coat color. Darwin wanted to stretch this idea a little further and suggest that instead of a human hand, it was natural selection that drove evolution.

The problem was that Darwin could not say how domestication started in the first place. No one was taking notes while the first wolf  changed into a dog, or a wild boar into a pig. This is where Belyaev stepped in and quietly began a Herculean task that no one would have thought possible — he domesticated a species from scratch.

After World War II was not a good time to be a geneticist in Russia. Darwinism was seen as a justification that capitalists should have millions and workers live in poverty because the capitalists had superior strength or intelligence. In 1948, genetics was banned in Russia. Genetic institutions were closed and information on genetics was removed from textbooks. Punishment for carrying on genetic work was swift and severe. Belyaev’s own brother, a geneticist, was arrested by the secret police and shot without trial.

wild foxes, fox

This fox looks similar to the wild foxes Dmitri Konstantinovich Belyaev bred in his genetics experiments.
Credit: Brian Hare

Belyaev began his experiment with the silver fox, because he could disguise his work as a commercial endeavor. Silver foxes were prized in Russia for their fur, and Belyaev’s official research objective was trying to breed foxes for better fur. [Adopt a Pet Fox, for Science’s Sake]

Instead of trying to create a domesticated species by selecting for each physical trait, Belyaev selected for one simple behavioral trait — whether the foxes would approach a human hand.

After only 45 generations, the experimental foxes began to change in ways that might take thousands if not millions of years in the wild. By the time I arrived years later to see the ongoing work, Belyaev’s experimental foxes were radically different from their control population. They had smaller skulls and canine teeth. Their coats were splotchy and their tails were curled. They also had floppy ears and barked.

When I met the bred foxes for the first time, one jumped in my arms and licked my face. The difference between the experimental and the control foxes were remarkably like the differences between wolves  and dogs.

Belyaev had done it. He had taken a population of wild animals and essentially domesticated them. And not just that, he had figured out the mechanism by which it happened — not by intentionally breeding for each physical trait, but by selecting only for behavior. That is, by allowing to breed those animals that were friendly toward people.

There was one more change I was interested in when I tested the foxes in 2004. My team’s previous research had shown that dogs are remarkable at reading human communicative gestures. Dogs were better than wolves, and better than even humans’ closest living relatives, chimpanzees . The question was whether Belyaev’s foxes would share this talent for reading human gestures.

Buddy the dog playing

Wolves transitioned into dogs — right down to the floppy ears and wagging tails — as they adapted to ever closer relationships with humans. Despite the threat of persecution for studying genetics in Stalin’s Russia, Dmitri Konstantinovich Belyaev made that discovery and helped secure the legacy of Darwin’s findings on evolution.
Credit: Michelle Parks

They did. This had huge implications to how scientists think about the domestication of dogs. The most common assumption is that some hunter-gatherer with a soft spot for cuteness found some wolf puppies and adopted them.

Instead, the foxes raise the real possibility that natural selection may have shaped wolves into the first proto-dogs in a very similar way without intentional human intervention or control. Ray Coppinger of Hampshire College and others have speculated that as humans began forming more permanent settlements over the last 15,000 years, a new canine food source appeared that led directly to the evolution of the dogs we know and love — garbage.

Only those wolves who were least fearful and non-aggressive toward humans would be able to take advantage of that new source of food. It would not have taken many generations for those friendlier wolves to undergo physical changes, like coat color. Soon, the wolves stopped looking like wolves. Many would have splotchy coats, and some would have even had floppy ears or a curly tail. Like the foxes, they too accidentally became more skilled at responding to the behavior of humans, and a new relationship began.

It’s not always easy being an evolutionary biologist in this day and age. But whenever I start feeling sorry for myself, I think of Belyaev, working undercover with death never far from his door. Belyaev’s quiet heroism is something to aspire to, and although the true magnitude of his discoveries was not realized until after his death in 1985, his work was an invaluable contribution that will have implications far into the future.

Hare’s most recent Op-Ed was Dogs Show IQ Tests Aren’t So Smart. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. This article was originally published on LiveScience.com.

– See more at: http://www.livescience.com/38241-how-wolf-turned-to-dog.html?cmpid=514627#sthash.0vsU1ubv.dpuf

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IF WE CAN BREED ANIMALS TO BE FRIENDLY, WHY NOT  HUMANS.

How nice would that be, if everyone on Earth were friendly. All Nations sharing Natures bounty equally.  I wish for a universal peace to sweep across the Globe.   But I doubt I shall ever witness that.

Dog’s Evolved from the Wolf and the genetic link, still make them Wolves.

Man evolved from the beasts of the Forrest…….   !!!

Kenny.

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THE IMPENETRABLE .


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 BIRDS , when they catch sight of me through the window, SEEM NOT TO BE CONCERNED. But  should  I venture out. they scatter like, well, pigeons I guess.  It suggests  that they are somehow aware, that I can not harm them from behind the glass.  ti’s As if they “know ” it is I who is caged and pose no problem. tHE LITTLE BIRDS ARE AWARE THAT i can not pass through the IMPENETRABLE wall of glass.  

oddly though, some birds  foolishly attempt to pass through the window. 

 I HAVE HEARD THAT SOUND OF A BIRD THUMPING INTO MY WINDOW MANY TIMES. completely oblivious to the danger, they make the biggest mistake of theIR OH SO BRIEF lives.

PERHAPS BEING CHASED BY THE sPARROW hAWK,

Sparrow Hawk (Accipiter nisus)

Sparrow Hawk (Accipiter nisus) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PANIC STRICKEN, may be THEY FORGET ABOUT THE PERIL AHEAD AND A broken neck always the cause of death. 

so i am thinking now, if you know something  is IMPENETRABLE. WHY TRY FLYING THROUGH IT. beats me  :/  may be that is why i am running into brick walls of late.  

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 WHAT VISITS MY GARDEN.

 

  1.  Blackbird.  “Nesting”
  2. Thrush.
  3. Robin.          “Nesting”
  4. Dunnock.      “Nesting”
  5. Wood pigeon.  “Nested”
  6. Magpie.
  7. Crow.
  8. Tits.
  9. Sparrow Hawk.
  10. Starling.
  11. Wren.     Nested.
  12. Snow Bunting.
  13. Fairies   
  • Kenny  🙂

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Nature doesn’t always get it right !


Two-headed snake enjoys first meal
A rare bicephalic albino snake has eaten for the first time
Posted by Ian Jones 22 November 2011 11:53
Late last month a two-headed albino Honduran milk snake hatched at the Sunshine Serpents conservation group in Florida.

Pictures of the unusual creature turned up in newspapers and online around the world.

Now the dual-headed slippery customer has tucked into its first ever snack: a baby mouse.

Owner of Sunshine Serpents and University of Central Florida biologist Daniel Parker said: “After hatching, baby snakes usually have a good reserve of yolk to last them for a while.

“Honduran milk snakes usually shed their skins around two weeks after hatching and are ready to feed after that.

“We were not exactly sure what was going on with this snake on the inside, but now we have a better idea,” Mr Parker added.

Two days after tucking into its first meal, the snake went through the digestive process: a significant event, as it suggests the creature is functioning normally.

However the bi-headed beast might soon have to rely on another source for its food.

Sunshine Serpents has decided to sell the snake. Offers above £16,000 ($25,000) will be considered.

It could be that whoever ends up owning the snake will be forking out for not extra one mouth but two.

Hello World.


Well after 2 weeks of very bad back pain, from over doing it in the garden. I now feel much better and can walk about without feeling any discomfort worth complaining about. The sun had been blazing, over both holiday weekends while I was in my bed  😦   so it was nice to sit in the garden for an hour or so today.  I potted around a little but nothing that would tax the muscles that are healing in my back. The reactive depression  caused by 2 weeks of doing nothing but taking painkillers and sleeping, has lifted  🙂

Sitting in the garden with the sunshine on my face contemplating my situation. I heard a familiar sound to my left, it was the chirp of a young Blackbird.  The parent bird had just landed next to the fledgling and thrust a very large worm down it’s throat. immediately the parent bird flew off in search of more juicy worms. I walked slowly into the house and collected my camara and took a few snaps of the little fellow.   He was embarking out on  life, how nice I thought.

Have a wonderful week everyone

Kenny.

Birth.


Humans are not alone in having infants that emerge facing backwards.

Joseph Milton

 

chimpsChimps and humans have much in common, inlcuding the way they give birth.Georgios Kefalas / Keystone / AP Photo

A key feature of human childbirth, long thought to be unique to Homo sapiens — the arrival of the baby facing backwards relative to its mother — has been observed in our closest living relatives, chimpanzees.

The discovery, reported today in Biology Letters1, calls into question the argument that backwards-facing babies were an important factor in the evolution of midwifery in humans. Rather than searching for assistance when they go into labour, pregnant chimps seek solitude.

“It’s clear from our observations that chimp babies are born facing backwards, but they give birth alone,” says lead author Satoshi Hirata, a behavioural biologist at the Great Ape Research Institute of Hayashibara Biochemical Laboratories in Tamano, Japan. “So the reverse orientation is clearly not a necessary condition for the evolution of midwifery.”

READ MORE

 

I now know why I never know if I am coming or going 🙂

HAVE A WONDERFUL EASTER  EVERYONE.

 Kenny.