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For the last five years, Dr. Pim Bongaerts of University of Queensland’s Global Change Institute has been documenting the lives of corals through time-lapse photography. It all happens too slowly for the human eye, but capturing life in a coral reef over longer periods of time reveals much more about their growth, locomotion, and even their violent competition with each other. The video above is from BBC News: Underwater time-lapse shows secret life of a coral reef.

Plus some extra info from NOAA.gov:

So what exactly are corals?

Corals actually comprise an ancient and unique partnership, called symbiosis, that benefits both animal and plant life in the ocean. Corals are animals, though, because they do not make their own food, as plants do. Corals have tiny, tentacle-like arms that they use to capture their food from the water and sweep into their inscrutable mouths.

Any structure that we call a “coral” is, in fact, made up of hundreds to thousands of tiny coral creatures called polyps…

In the archives: more coral.

Thanks, Annie.

Updated video link.

The Verge reports on Anthropomorphism in Robots at the 2014 International CES (Consumer Electronics Show). Anthropomorphism, or personification, occurs when inanimate objects, animals, or things in nature are given human qualities.

There are more robots and more anthropomorphic examples in the archives, including eyebombing, the animated short Omelettethe Otamatone Jumbo, and one of our favorites: Cloudy.

From The New York Times, here’s a summary report from DARPA’s Robotics Challenge 2013. The competition is made of eight trials that include climbing ladders, walking across rough terrain, and clearing debris, showcasing how robots can aid in future disaster responses. 

Out of 16 competing teams, eight robot finalists earned places in the 2014 Grand Challenge where the team of the robot winner will be awarded a $2 million prize. From Extreme Tech

The Schaft team won in four out of eight tasks — terrain, ladder, debris, and hose — and accrued a total score of 27 points. Second-place IHMC Robotics, which used Boston Dynamics’ Atlas robot, came in second with two task wins and 20 points.

Rounding out the rest of the DRC results, Tartan Rescue (Carnegie Mellon + NREC) came in third with its CHIMP robot, picking up 18 points, and MIT came in fourth with an Atlas. NASA’s Valkyrie sadly scored zero points. A full break down of the contest and the results can be found on the DRC Trials website. Some cool videos from the event can be found on DARPA’s YouTube channel.

Watch more robot videos.

Need a battery-powered, modular, humanoid robot with strong legs and an amazing array of built-in cameras to help set up habitation on Mars for pioneering astronauts? NASA’s got you covered. Meet Valkyrie.

"The space agency’’’s new Valkyrie — a 6 foot 2 inch tall (1.9 meters) robot with a glowing NASA logo on its chest — bears an uncanny resemblance to Marvel’s superhero Iron Man, but this space age automaton was built for work, not comic book heroics. A team of engineers at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Tex., designed and built Valkyrie in just nine months, according to press reports."

NASA created Valkyrie for DARPA’s upcoming Robotics Challenge Trials on December 20-21, 2013, where it will be in competition with 17 teams from around the world including NASA JPL’s RoboSimian, Carnegie Mellon University-NREC’s CHIMP, and Japan’s SCHAFT.

There are always more robot videos in the archives.

via kqedscience.

Body mass and vocal pitch don’t always match. Male koalas have deep, rumbling vocalizations, an unexpectedly low sound that might normally be associated with wild boars or a huge braying beast the size of an elephant instead of a small herbivore. And now we know why…

In a study published in the journal Current Biologyscientists describe a second, much larger pair of vocal folds located outside of the larynx that creates the unique mating soundFrom National Geographic (which has a great “animal body mass to vocal pitch” chart)

Koala bellows have a pitch about 20 times lower than they should be given the animals’ size… Male koala bellows, for instance, are so fearsome that sound designers used recordings of them to create the T. rex roars in the movie Jurassic Park…

Study co-author Benjamin Charlton, of the University of Sussex in the U.K., explained in a statement that during inhalation, koala bellows sound like snoring, and during exhalation, they sound more like belching.

In the archives: more koala videos.