Your first reaction to the following video will probably be that it’s a fake.
But no, it’s totally real. The mudfish they’re talking about are called West African Lungfish and they’re one of four African lungfish species. And they can indeed live in the desert, inside a cocoon, for up to five years. And yes, they do have to appendages at the back that look kind of like legs. Even crazier, they can breathe air, because they have — in addition to gills, and as the name suggests — an actual lung.
What happens is that the West African weather has wild rain swings between wet and dry seasons (and sometimes there are droughts), so entire rivers can dry up. When the lungfish end up on a dry riverbed, they’re still ok, because they switch to breathing air. Then they burrow into the mud, before it dries up, by eating the mud and excreting it through their gills. Once they’re safely underground, they curl up and release a mucus that dries up around them to form that cocoon from the video, which basically Ziplocks them in, so they don’t lose any more moisture. They then enter suspended animation, which is called aestivation. It’s basically the same thing as hibernation, but while that happens when it’s too cold out, this happens when it’s too hot out.
They can remain in aestivation for years, until it starts raining again and the river beds fill up with water, softening the cocoon and allowing the lungfish to burrow out of the mud and get back into the water. The African people have gotten pretty good and finding the cocoons and sometimes they dig them up and store them, so they can have fresh fish at their disposal.
Nailed it. That’s pretty much exactly what it feels like.
This adorable cat named McLovin, is not a fan of the bath, but she’s too cold, or something, to lift her mouth above water.
From YouTube, via Laughing Squid
This video is made up of some 1300 pictures, one taken every four seconds, which compresses an hour and a half of web-making into a minute.
From Vimeo, via Neatorama
In 2009, authorities in the Tampa Bay area got alerted to a 45lb rhesus macaque monkey hanging around the area. They couldn’t have cared less. People in the know speculate that the monkey, whom they’re calling Cornelius after the simian character from Planet of the Apes, was excommunicated from a feral colony of his brethren that lives in the Silver River State Park, about 100 miles north of Tampa. That colony dates back to 1938, when a jungle cruise boat operator released some of the macaques to make his tour better. (Rhesus macaques, by the way, are often used for scientific research and the Rh blood type factor is named for them; research on them also helped develop the smallpox, polio and rabies vaccines.) After Cornelius made it to the Tampa Bay, the urban monkey got national attention, and even caused Stephen Colbert to give the Clearwater police department a wag of the finger:
After some time, Cornelius made it to the ghetto on the south side of St. Pete, nearby Lake Maggiore. The residents were apparently pleased to have a monkey in the neighborhood and fed it and everyone was happy. One woman was particularly friendly with it and let him play with her dog and her kids, until one day Cornelius bit her. This was finally a good reason for the authorities to try to catch the beast, and they set a trap for for it. Cornelius carefully got the banana out of the trap without tripping it. They set another one, which worked, except for the fact that after being caught, Cornelius broke the door and escaped. So they set another trap and brought in a vet with a tranq gun: Cornelius never saw it coming. He pulled the dart out, stumbled off, got shot again, and then finally passed out.
Cornelius shot in the urban jungle by an anonymous photographer
The woman was quite nice and didn’t request for the monkey to be tested for rabies — which would require his brain to be inspected, which in turn would interfere with being alive. The vet says Cornelius is overweight, probably from all the junk food humans gave him, but is otherwise in good health and must have been grooming himself very well since he didn’t even have fleas. He’s about five years old now and will probably live another 15 years or so, most likely in a monkey sanctuary.
From The Tampa Bay Times, via NPR
The following are a few panels from a hilarious comic from The Oatmeal — with an existential twist — about how paradoxical dogs are. Click on it for the full deal:
From The Oatmeal
Last week, it was widely reported that a new species of monkey was discovered, as if it actually mattered to anyone that’s not a biologist. The other 99.86% of the population was also informed that this was only the second discovery of a new species of monkey since 1984, prompting many to wonder why scientists are still discovering monkeys in the 21st century. “I was pretty sure they already bagged and tagged all the animals like in the 1800s, and then this happened,” said someone, probably.
The "new" monkey looks just like a regular old monkey
But the let-downs didn’t end there: according to science, the discovery is a type of Old World Monkey, of which there are over a hundred different species with names like Allen’s swamp monkey, Grivet, and Mandrill. Great apes and New World Monkeys are not part of this grouping. When informed of the primate taxonomy, many of the population of a dinner table complained about there being far too many species of monkeys and briefly wondered how they managed to not be extinct by now, followed by whether or not the new one was tasty. However, the final blow in the supposed news item came out of nowhere: the discovery was actually made in 2007; the scientists in question required five years to publish the discovery, claiming that it took that long to make sure it really was a new species. “It’s just not that different than its hundred other cousins, but… it’ll get us published,” thought everyone involved.