The Lurkdragon's Lair

Fifty percent animals, fifty percent fandom, one-hundred percent nerd.

Posts tagged wildlife

446 notes

griseus:

Which marine mammals dive the deepest?

A new long-term study of elusive Cuvier’s beaked whale shows they can dive to nearly 3,000m (10,000 feet) while a second stayed down for 138 minutes.
awesome

Reference (Open Access) : Schorr et al 2014 First Long-Term Behavioral Records from Cuvier’s Beaked Whales (Ziphius cavirostris) Reveal Record-Breaking Dives. PLoS ONE 9(3): e92633. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0092633

griseus:

Which marine mammals dive the deepest?

A new long-term study of elusive Cuvier’s beaked whale shows they can dive to nearly 3,000m (10,000 feet) while a second stayed down for 138 minutes.

awesome

(via theoceanisourhome)

Filed under cetaceans cuvier's beaked whales neato marine life wildlife beaked whales queue

687 notes

ryttu3k:

thejunglenook:

koryos:

Mental Disorders in Animals
The above is an image of a captive African gray parrot that suffers from excessive feather-plucking, or pterotillomania. People who work with captive parrots or own parrots as pets have probably at least heard of this disorder, or even observed it firsthand. The parrot may have an excellent diet and be in good physical condition, yet it will continue to pluck and pluck at its own feathers, shaving itself bald in places.
If the cause is not a disorder of the body, then, can we say that this is a symptom of a disorder of the mind?
That brings up another question, though: how can we possibly know what is happening in an animal’s head? How can we separate an animal’s behavior into that of bodily needs and that of mental needs? People like to point out all the time that you can’t sit a dog on a couch and ask him what his childhood was like; we don’t even know if a dog’s memory of his childhood exists in any form that a human would recognize. While I think most people would agree that animals have minds, they function- by necessity and evolution- in ways ours do not.
I think this has to be the focal point of the following discussion: animal minds and human minds are different. Am I saying animal minds are inferior? Certainly not. But I’d like to point out that a lot of the research on mental disorders in animals focuses on finding parallels with human mental disorders. Yet the underlying reasons for disordered behavior in animals may be because they have mental needs that humans do not. For example, a popular theory behind why parrots develop pterotillomania is because they are not given ample opportunities to perform normative food-foraging behaviors.
So what forms of mental disorders are present in animals, and what are biologists, psychologists, veterinarians, and pet owners doing to better understand them?
Below the cut I’ll be discussing several things that people may find distressing/triggering: animal suffering, mental illness (including references or descriptions of the most commonly diagnosed human mental disorders), and animal research. It’s an upsetting topic, which is why I’m writing about it much more formally than I normally do, but I think it’s both interesting and important.
Note: This post is also extremely long.
Read More

This is something I have focused on in the past 4 years, especially in regards to my primates. One of my current research proposals involves genotypic analysis for a potential gene correlate that is involved in the severity of some of these mental disorders. Much like how risk for developing alcoholism has a genetic basis, I am working to identify a genetic basis for self-injury and a few other mental disorders.  
It should also be noted that not all locomotor stereotypies (LST) are the same. One must consider species and individual differences in their assessment. Is it better to have an animal pace and be hyperactive or an animal be lethargic and hypoactive? Really neither one is better than the other. It is the job of Ethologists to determine a species behavioral profile range which would encompass what could be considered normal behavioral activity rates while still allowing for individual variation. The goal is to get animals to exhibit a full range of natural behaviors that lie within this range. 
I could write a book on this… in fact I’m already working on a few papers…

This is both upsetting and extremely important.
(And, as someone who has a cat with an anxiety / panic disorder, sounds pretty accurate.)

ryttu3k:

thejunglenook:

koryos:

Mental Disorders in Animals

The above is an image of a captive African gray parrot that suffers from excessive feather-plucking, or pterotillomania. People who work with captive parrots or own parrots as pets have probably at least heard of this disorder, or even observed it firsthand. The parrot may have an excellent diet and be in good physical condition, yet it will continue to pluck and pluck at its own feathers, shaving itself bald in places.

If the cause is not a disorder of the body, then, can we say that this is a symptom of a disorder of the mind?

That brings up another question, though: how can we possibly know what is happening in an animal’s head? How can we separate an animal’s behavior into that of bodily needs and that of mental needs? People like to point out all the time that you can’t sit a dog on a couch and ask him what his childhood was like; we don’t even know if a dog’s memory of his childhood exists in any form that a human would recognize. While I think most people would agree that animals have minds, they function- by necessity and evolution- in ways ours do not.

I think this has to be the focal point of the following discussion: animal minds and human minds are different. Am I saying animal minds are inferior? Certainly not. But I’d like to point out that a lot of the research on mental disorders in animals focuses on finding parallels with human mental disorders. Yet the underlying reasons for disordered behavior in animals may be because they have mental needs that humans do not. For example, a popular theory behind why parrots develop pterotillomania is because they are not given ample opportunities to perform normative food-foraging behaviors.

So what forms of mental disorders are present in animals, and what are biologists, psychologists, veterinarians, and pet owners doing to better understand them?

Below the cut I’ll be discussing several things that people may find distressing/triggering: animal suffering, mental illness (including references or descriptions of the most commonly diagnosed human mental disorders), and animal research. It’s an upsetting topic, which is why I’m writing about it much more formally than I normally do, but I think it’s both interesting and important.

Note: This post is also extremely long.

Read More

This is something I have focused on in the past 4 years, especially in regards to my primates. One of my current research proposals involves genotypic analysis for a potential gene correlate that is involved in the severity of some of these mental disorders. Much like how risk for developing alcoholism has a genetic basis, I am working to identify a genetic basis for self-injury and a few other mental disorders.  

It should also be noted that not all locomotor stereotypies (LST) are the same. One must consider species and individual differences in their assessment. Is it better to have an animal pace and be hyperactive or an animal be lethargic and hypoactive?
Really neither one is better than the other.
It is the job of Ethologists to determine a species behavioral profile range which would encompass what could be considered normal behavioral activity rates while still allowing for individual variation. The goal is to get animals to exhibit a full range of natural behaviors that lie within this range. 

I could write a book on this… in fact I’m already working on a few papers…

This is both upsetting and extremely important.

(And, as someone who has a cat with an anxiety / panic disorder, sounds pretty accurate.)

Filed under long posts mental health pets wildlife queue

67 notes

NY "Blackfish"€ Bill To Ban Captive Orcas Approved By Senate Committee

l-41:

To me this seems like fantastic news! I’m curious as to what others think of it though!

(via fightingforwhales)

Filed under orcas cetacean freedom dolphins marine life wildlife neato queue

326 notes

stuckinabucket:

Velvet worms!  Yes, velvet worms, everybody’s favorite little mucus-spraying monsters.

These guys are segmented, but they have soft teguments, so it can be a little hard to tell that just by looking at them.  Their stumpy little legs are adorably known as both lobopods and stub feet because they lack the complicated mechanisms and distinct anatomy that tend to make bug legs legs.  They’re just sort of little conveniently-shaped blobs that are almost but not quite tube feet.  They don’t have any sort of rigid exoskeleton either, so they’re stuck moving around by means of bracing their little muscles against a little tube of incompressible fluid (sort of like how your brakes work) in their tiny little bodies.

That mucus they spit comes from huge glands that can comprise almost ten percent of the worm’s weight.  They’re not above aiming for the face on dangerous prey, and they’ll eat it along with their prey to resorb the nutrients and chemicals they spent making it. (Spiders do something similar with silk.)

They’ve got little sensory organs all over their little bodies, and tiny little claws on their tiny little lobopods.  They also bear live young, either through true vivipary in some species or through internally-retained eggs in most species.  Did I mention these little pricks always look super-excited about stuff?  Always.

I think it’s because it you look at its mouth, its oral papillae (mucus-sprayers) kind of look like huge eyes. 

If you look at its eyes (simple, usually located above the antennae), its antennae make it look like a muppet.

Then they get the sprayers going, and just *bam* primordial monster.

(via broken-ice)

Filed under grossout long posts gif velvet worms wildlife worms queue