Humpback and bowhead whales create their own food nets from specialized bristles in their mouths to more efficiently nab fishy morsels, a new study of baleen whales suggests.When these whales feed, some open their jaws wide to gulp mouthfuls of seawater, whereas others swim with half-open mouths (called ramming or skim-feeding). Both rely on baleen, a system of hairy bristles that line their mouths and trap food. The new study, published today (March 13) in The Journal of Experimental Biology, shows that the baleen of bowhead whales and humpback whales is not the passive structure it was thought to be, but forms a tangled mesh in water that streams through it as the animals swim.And how the baleen gets morphed is different depending on the specific whale's feeding style, the study found."Everyone assumed baleen works like a sieve," study author Alexander Werth, a biologist at Hampden-Sydney College, Va., told LiveScience. But as soon as he put pieces of baleen in a flow tank, "it … [Read more...] about Whales Trap Dinner with Mouthful of Swirling Bristles
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Caves can offer a thrilling glimpse into a hidden universe of extremes, one cut off from the rules of the outside world.Eyeless creatures slither in utter darkness, crystals grow to the size of dump trucks , and sulfuric acid burbles up from deep inside the Earth.But for all their exoticism, caves are formed from just two commonplace ingredients: rock and water.Acidic rock-eaterNot just any rock will do generally caves are formed from gypsum, limestone, dolomite or even salt."You need a rock type that can dissolve in water," said Randall Orndorff, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).When rainwater is introduced to this kind of rock, either seeping in through tiny pores in the rock surface, or, more typically, dribbling in through larger cracks, the rock will begin to dissolve. That's because rainwater is slightly acidic.Raindrops pick up acidity from chemicals in the atmosphere as they hurtle earthward; although the atmosphere's chemical composition varies, generally … [Read more...] about How Do Caves Form?
VENICE has suffered the worst week of flooding in its history as a third tidal surge sees water levels break records. The ongoing floods have seen waters reach 150cm three times in one week for the first time since records began in 1872. Historic cities on Italy's mainland, including Florence and Pisa, are now also bracing themselves for floods after torrential rains saw levels rise on the River Arno. Tuscany's president has said that boards were being installed on the swollen banks of the river, while paratroopers have also been drafted in to bolster defences in certain areas. Officials closed historic St. Mark's Square and stacked sandbags against the Basilica to block salt-laden water from bursting in to the crypt again. Despite tourist shops and museums shutting their doors around the famous square, tourists donned knee-high rubber boots to wade through the flooded scene - and take plenty of selfies.Suddenly a big wave burst in to the house and all the electricity went off.Mario … [Read more...] about Venice’s floods – City suffers worst week of flooding in its history as third tidal surge breaks records
It has a nose like a cute little piglet's, ears that only a mother could love and teeth that would make Dracula run in fear: This odd-looking rodent captured researchers' attention when they discovered it back in 2013, but now they've described it as a new species.The elusive animal, aptly named the hog-nosed rat (Hyorhinomys stuempkei), inhabits the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. In 2013, researchers studying the island's other rat species caught two of these pig-snouted rodents inside traps. They knew right away that the captured specimens were special, said Jacob Esselstyn, curator of mammals at Louisiana State University's Museum of Natural Science and one of the researchers who caught the hog-nosed rat."I had never seen a rat with a nose like that," Esselstyn told Live Science. "When I took it out of the trap, I knew it was a new species. There was never any doubt in my mind." [From Blobfish to 'Adorable' Octopus: 9 Animals with Perfect Names]Esselstyn is quite familiar with the … [Read more...] about This Pig-Nosed Rat with Vampire Teeth Will Haunt Your Dreams
Motorists jumped into rushing floodwaters in Texas to pull a toddler and baby from an overturned car and help to resuscitate them as tornadoes hit the state.In video footage, the family's SUV can be seen upside down and partially submerged in floodwaters near Myrtle Springs as passers-by desperately try to force the doors open to rescue the children.Phillip Ocheltree had left his home with his family to escape tornadoes which hit the area over the weekend, but his vehicle aquaplaned on the road and flipped into a ditch on Saturday.His two children were trapped inside the car until passing motorists waded into the fast-flowing water and managed to get them out.Distressed calls of "Breathe, breathe" can be heard in the footage as CPR efforts begin. Advertisement Warning: Video contains distressing images and explicit languageOn his Facebook page, Mr Ocheltree said on Sunday that his baby son, Marshal, was doing well in hospital and his two-year-old daughter Addy was "stable … [Read more...] about Motorists save toddler and boy after car overturns in Texas floodwater
In 2007, Google announced it was taking on a project that could be considered ambitious even by the search engine giant’s standards: the Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal initiative (REC), which was designed to bring down the cost of renewable energy through strategic investments and research. Last week, Google announced that the initiative is shutting down because “other institutions are better positioned than Google to take this research to the next level.” Here’s what Google has to show for its four years of energy research: advertisement advertisement A Geothermal Map Of The U.S. This three-year project yielded the first geothermal map of the U.S., which projects that the country has the potential to generate 2,980,295 megawatts of geothermal energy, or 10 times the installed capacity of coal, using advanced technology like Enhanced Geothermal Systems. The map could prove invaluable to geothermal companies deciding where to drill next. The … [Read more...] about Google’s Renewable Energy Initiative Is Dead