animals

Showing 344 posts tagged animals

From the BBC’s Ocean Giants documentary, watch this incredible clip to hear the extraordinary and mysterious song of the Humpback Whale. Why do they sing (or hum)? Does it serve a purpose? Are they making music for pleasure? Are they talking?

If this clip disappears, you can find the entire documentary on Amazon. And in the archives: watch more whale videos, including a surprise diving encounter with a Humpback Whalethis huge baby Sperm Whale, and Whale Fall (After Life of a Whale).

Festo HQ, the engineering team that brought us Aqua Penguins, Aqua Jellyfishdragonfly-inspired BionicOpters, and a robot that flies like a bird can now add Bionic Kangaroo to their list of animal-inspired achievements in technology. From spectrum.ieee.org

BionicKangaroo is able to realistically emulate the jumping behavior of real kangaroos, which means that it can efficiently recover energy from one jump to help it make another jump. Without this capability, kangaroos (real ones) would get very very tired very very quickly, but by using their tendons like elastic springs, the animals can bound at high speeds efficiently for substantial periods of time.

BionicKangaroo emulates this with an actual elastic spring, which partially “charges” the legs on landing.

Bonus fun: wear the corresponding armband and you can control the kangaroo using gestures. Mmmmmmm, biomechanics.

via Gizmodo.

How are police horses chosen to become the highly trained and trusted steeds that they are? Via BBC Earth, watch the police horse testing and training process as conducted by the San Francisco mounted police unit, where only 10% of the horses that begin the program are found to be right for the job.

Videos in the archives: horseback riding in Yosemite, Mongolian horsemen herding wild horses, and the amazing War Horse puppet with the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

If you’re a two year old, injured snowy owl in need of some new feathers, you’ll be lucky to find yourself at a raptor center like the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota. There, someone like Avian physiologist Lori Arent can perform the modern version of an old falconers’ procedure called imping – when a bird’s damaged flight feathers are replaced with a stronger ones. From National Geographic:

“I have a whole freezer full of harvested feathers, of different types and sizes, and I wanted to choose the right ones for this animal. I picked feathers from a male the same age as this bird and they fit perfectly…” 

She then whittled small sticks of bamboo so that one end poked into the shaft of the new feather and the other into the shaft still attached to the bird (where the burned feathers had been carefully sheared off).

With a little drop of quick-drying epoxy, she cemented each new feather into place. “If attached right, the new feathers are just as effective as the old ones” in letting a bird do all of its aerial maneuvers, she said….

Eventually, the owl will lose the borrowed feathers—in a process called molting—and grow its own new ones.

Snowy owls are amazing animals that travel long distances every year. Watch Snowy Owl Invasion.

And another lucky bird: Rocky the Bald Eagle is released from the Eagle Valley Raptor Center.