zoology

Showing 14 posts tagged zoology

In the mountains of Ethiopia, the BBC’s Steve Backshall and his Deadly 60 team track a group of graminivorous (grass-eating) gelada baboons to observe their amazing, lion-sized, canine teeth, which are central to the primates’ social communications. From Mary Bates at Wired’s Zoologic blog

The gum-bearing yawn was most common with males, especially high-ranking ones. This kind of yawn exposed the gelada’s impressive canine teeth, which stood out against the reddish-pink color of their gums and the inside of their mouths. It was often accompanied by a loud call, and the researchers believe the yawn functions as a long-distance display. Males used this yawn during periods of tension, such as the time right before feeding, suggesting it may serve to intimidate other geladas.

The other two less intense types of yawns were seen most in females during friendly interactions. The researchers found these yawns to be more contagious, and observed females mirroring the intensity of other females’ yawns. They believe these yawns are part of a complex communication system between geladas that often engage in friendly interactions. The contagiousness of the yawns in these contexts suggests the behavior might play a role in synchronizing the activity between two geladas, strengthening the emotional connection between them,  or signaling the quality of their relationship.

Gelada males and females might use yawns differently, but all three types of yawn contribute to the smooth workings of gelada society; they function to let everyone know who’s in charge and which geladas are friends.

In the archives: more BBC, more primatesmore yawns, and some teeth.

Join Dr Charlotte Uhlenbroek as she treks into northwest Rwanda to meet a family of critically endangered mountain gorillas for the first time. This was filmed for the BBC nature documentary series Cousins (2000).

In the archives, meet more gorillas and watch one of our favorite ape videos: an orangutan family spends quiet time together in the jungle.

In 1999, near the Cape Verde Islands, “an unusually large Caulophryne pelagica [anglerfish] was captured in perfect condition, due perhaps to a lethargy induced by a prodigious meal which had expanded the stomach in excess of the standard length.” Not long after, the rare, deep-sea specimen was a part of the Natural History Museum's collection in London.

Only 17 examples of the hairy anglerfish have been discovered thus far, and this was the largest, so scientists were reluctant to cut it open for examination. However, a 3D scan of the fish could easily reveal its huge last meal.

Related watching: The Brilliance of Bioluminescence, skeletons, and more fish.

Celebrate the 10th annual World Octopus Day with this lovely behind-the-scenes National Aquarium video of Aquarist Katie Webster and an intelligent Giant Pacific Octopus. How intelligent, you ask?

Octopuses are among the most intelligent species in the animal kingdom. In total, an octopus has 500 million neurons, located in both its brain and throughout its arms. In addition to grabbing onto prey and climbing rocky underwater structures, an octopus uses its suckers to taste and sense.

There are more octopuses to celebrate with in the archives. 

via sagansense.

Zoologist Dr. Mauvis Gore describes her work monitoring basking sharks (Cetorhinus maximus) — the world’s second largest fish with “a mouth almost as wide as a piano" — in Episode 4 of the BBC’s Hebrides: Islands on the Edgenarrated by Ewan McGregor.

Having studied sharks, stingrays, and cetaceans across the globe, Dr. Gore has worked to gather information on these vulnerable gentle giants to better understand their migration patterns and decreasing populations, fueling conservation efforts to protect them.

There are more sharks in the archives.