7 Animals that are Now Evolving – Most of the time we know that evolution is a slow process. It can take up to millions of years before these subtle changes will actually take place in every living thing become dramatic enough for us to see. However, some species are changing so quickly now that we can actually watch it happen.
As it turns out, many of the assumptions we have made about certain animals are not true at all. Yet many of us keep repeating these faulty stories from myths and incorrect studies that have since been debunked. Let us examine 7 erroneously believed animal “facts” that really aren’t factual in the least.
7 Common Misconceptions about Animals
1) The Zebra’s Black and White Stripes is not camouflage. This is a myth that has been circulating for years and years. However, scientists have long since debunked this camouflage theory, and we still have no clue why their stripes exist.
This myth most likely came about as humans observed zebras from a perspective of human vision. It seemed like a good reason that by having a confusion of colors it would allow them blend into their surroundings.
2) Piranhas do not devour anyone who jumps into piranha-infested waters. We have seen this myth promoted on TV and it movies which makes us think that it is a death sentence to swim with piranhas. The fact is that they do not kill mammals for food. This is because their normally eat carcasses that are decomposing.
Even when they get desperate for food, they will typically eat other fish and even insects – not an entire cow. This myth was largely promoted after Teddy Roosevelt returned from an Amazon trip.
3) Penguins are not as sweet and adorable as people think. The fact is humans have not had a lot of interaction with penguins, yet we like to view them as lovely creatures that live in under some of the planet’s harshest conditions. Even how they like to walk is seen as cute.
The fact is that these terrible creatures commit perhaps the most heinous acts of depravity in the entire animal kingdom. For instance, the male Adelie penguin who live in Antarctica often engage in rape and necrophilia. This was initially documented by a scientist from Britain who studied them during an expedition that took place from 1910 to 1913.
Also female emperor penguins have actually kidnapped the chicks from other penguins to compensate for a lack of fertility. And if they were opposed, they get extremely violent. In fact, these female emperor penguins have resorted to kidnapping chicks from totally different bird species as well and attempted to raise them as one of their own.
4) Pigs do not sweat and they are not nasty. So when people use the term “sweating like a pig”, it is just plain wrong because pig do not have working sweat glands. This is why they get in the mud, so they can cool off.
Also, contrary to what most people believe, pigs are actually pretty clean animals. In fact, most of them would give some of the cleanest humans in the world a run for their money. We got this misconception about them because of the places on a farm where they are forced to live.
Pigs that live in the wild will not pass any bodily waste near the area where they live. Some of them even wash their food before they eat.
5) The Female Praying Mantis does not always eat its male lover. Even the Discovery Channel has clearly said that the female eats the head of the male praying mantis that she is mating with.
However, biologists conducted a test to see if this popular belief is true, and they discovered that it was not. The female praying mantises that had done this were in captivity. As it turns out, this environment is totally different than what this creature would prefer. They actually would choose a private space in their normal environment. Previously, there were several people in lab coats hovering over them, closely examining their every move.
And the praying mantis couples that were used in these early tests were also very hungry and starving. So actually, the male praying mantises were just as likely to eat their sexual partners as would the females were.
So whenever scientists actually set up the conditions that mimicked there actually preferences, they observed a radically different outcome. From 69 different experiments, there was just one female praying mantis who ate her male after mating with him.
6) Cockroaches most likely would not survive a nuclear annihilation. This myth has circulated throughout the Internet for years. It most likely came from the rubble and aftermath of Nagasaki and Hiroshima where they observed a few cockroaches after the bombs were dropped. But they were not the sole creatures to have survived.
While it may be true that cockroaches could have a bigger resistance to extinction and radiation than some other living creatures, more current studies have revealed that they would probably be the very first bugs to get wiped out whenever one of these big bombs reach the ground.
7) The Alpha Dog Training Technique is not applicable to domestic dogs. Several dog trainers and dog training methods talk about the alpha dog technique. This means that you assert your dominance and let the canine know who is in charge since that is how things work in the wild.
This technique comes from the belief that all wolf packs have an alpha wolf, who is the dominant leader that calls all the shots. Therefore, dogs are in the same family and should be trained the same way.
As you might have known, it is a very cruel way to train your dog. And it actually points out a basic misunderstanding about the way that real wolf packs work. This alpha male theory comes from very early research pertaining to pack behavior, but only in an unnatural environment. More recent research about wolf packs in the wild has totally debunked these original conclusions.
The lifeless body of what local authorities believe was a poacher that had gotten mauled by a pride of lions in the country of South Africa recently. Local reporting has established that the majority of the male body has been eaten. Thus, the body was very difficult to identify. But ammo and a hunting rifle was discovered nearby.
This male body had been found within the borders of the Ingwelala Private Nature Reserve, which is a private game reserve that is located near the famous and popular Kruger National Park, located in northeastern region of South Africa. Since this man had been supposedly intruding upon the lands of the reserve and discover with weapons in its possession, local authorities feel that he was there to poach.
Whether or not he had gone there to poach lions could not be determined without some more evidence. Local media outlet Sowetan Live quoted a reserve employee who described the area as “lion territory.”
What was the Poacher’s Target?
This particularly region has been traditionally noted for high levels of rhino poaching, and rhinos have always been a more profitably animal to hunt illegally. In the year 2017, rhino poaching in this region had declined slightly. The Kruger region had witnessed a huge increase from 13 rhinos that were murdered in the year 2007 to over 1,000 rhinos killed in year 2014. Within many regions of Asia, the rhino’s horn is in very high demand, where it has been used as an (ineffective) type of alternative medicine and is also carved into forms of art.
Michael ‘t Sas-Rolfes has studied the market influences that pertain to poaching from the University of Oxford and happened to be in South Africa whenever this body had been discovered.
“If you look at the economics of poaching, these guys are taking a risk. It’s got to be worth their while,” he commented. “The probability [of being caught] and penalty is about the same… but the price for lion body parts is way lower than rhino horn.”
Poachers in this area have also been known to hunt for elephant ivory or bush meat.
Whenever lions have been poached, Sas-Rolfes claims that it is sometimes just a revenge killing or even a matter of an opportunistic situation.
“The body parts taken are typically teeth and claws. At the moment, it isn’t a huge epidemic,” he added, and he also pointed out that the market for lion fangs could actually be increasing. But he is quick to add that he does not want to label lion parts as being more profitable since this perception can actually end up being a self-fulfilling prophecy.
In regards to the lions that were poached within the region, many of those were killed at reserves and sanctuaries.
During an interview last fall, Paul Funston, who comes from the big cat conservation group called Panthera has speculated that the ongoing legal trade for captive lion parts may be stirring up wild demand. Since the year 2016, the poaching of lions has been slowly rising, but rising continuously. Many times, lion parts are often found right along with rhino parts.
This is brand study in the field of science that has been recently posted which describes a phenomenon that is referred to as the solar “grand minimum.” It is sometimes called the “prolonged sunspot minimum” as well, and it is a timespan that occurs whenever the magnetic pull of the Sun’s begins to diminish. When it happens, we see fewer sunspots, and there is less ultraviolet radiation that is reaching the Earth’s surface. This is because of random fluctuations in the magnetic field of the Sun. All of this scientific activity results in cooler temperatures for those of us on Earth, and it will also cause the Sun to look dimmer.
Periodicity of the Sun
Presently, our Sun is engaged in an 11-year up/down cycle, however this grand minimum is going to be particularly cold, as we will see the activity of the Sun sink lower than its normal 11-year low. And this will translate to much cooler temperatures for certain regions of the world.
Exactly how cold will it get? Forecasts which are based on studies of prior sunspot reductions that have preceded a grand minimum period, are saying that we will see about a 7% reduction in the Sun’s heat and light. And we need to keep in mind that this is 7% lower than the low point of the Sun’s normal 11 year cycle that we have typically seen.
History of the Grand Minimum
This is kind of grand minimum happened previously during the mid-1600s. It was referred to as the “Maunder Minimum” (it was actually named after 2 very well respected astronomers of their time, who were Edward Walter Maunder and Anne Russel Maunder), the cooler temperatures of the times witnessed the freezing of the Thames river, and also the Baltic Sea — which actually let a Swedish army invade Denmark as they marched right across the ice.
And at the very same time, they observed the warming of Alaska and Southern Greenland, because of the thinning of the stratospheric ozone layer over the planet, which resulted in changes of weather and wind patterns all throughout the world.
As far as predicting the precise date and even the event’s severity, that is still a bit of a mystery, but clues are all pointing to everything reaching its bottom sometime around the year 2050. This event could actually begin as early as 2030. In case you are wondering, the previous Maunder Minimum took place from the year 1645 until around 1715.
So is this going to help save us from the effects of global warming? These very same scientists do not believe this will be true.
“The cooling effect of a grand minimum is only a fraction of the warming effect caused by the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” as stated in the study.
This is great news. It appears that all the efforts to repair that hole discovered in the Earth’s ozone layer located over the Antarctica is working. This is what was discovered in a brand new study that looks directly at the chemicals that have been destroying the ozone layer.
The Earth’s ozone layer is critical as it is protects the surface of our planet from the most harmful rays from the sun. These are the rays which cause cataracts and cancer within human beings, and that damage plant life, as reported by NASA. During In the 1980s, scientists discovered a huge hole located in the ozone layer over the region of the Antarctica. It was determined that this was caused mainly by chemicals that are referred to as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which were produced by humans.
Prior observations from satellite have witnessed size changes in that ozone hole, taking note that it can shrink and grow from one year to the next. However this new study is the very first to measure changes in the chlorine levels — which the primary CFC byproduct that is responsible for the depletion of the ozone — in the atmosphere which lies above Antarctica. This study has indicated 20% decrease in the depletion of the ozone because of chlorine.
New Ozone Studies
This brand new study examined the ozone data that was collected between the years 2005 and 2016 by an instrument called the Microwave Limb Sounder (MLS) that is onboard the Aura satellite. This instrument is not able to directly detect the atoms of chlorine, rather it detects hydrochloric acid, which will forms whenever methane reacts with chlorine atoms, and then they bond with hydrogen. Whenever Antarctica is exposed to sunlight during the Southern Hemisphere’s long summer, the CFCs will break down and start producing chlorine, which will then bust apart the ozone atoms. However, during the winter months at Antarctica, this chlorine will then bind with methane “once all the ozone has been destroyed” within its vicinity.
“By around mid-October, all the chlorine compounds are conveniently converted into one gas, so by measuring hydrochloric acid, we have a good measurement of the total chlorine,” stated the lead study author Susan Strahan, who is an atmospheric scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center located in Greenbelt, Maryland.
This MLS instrument has directly observed the ozone hole every day throughout the Southern Hemisphere’s winter.
“During this period, Antarctic temperatures are always very low, so the rate of ozone destruction depends mostly on how much chlorine there is,” Strahan added. “This is when we want to measure ozone loss.”
Since prior studies were dependent upon measurements of the ozone hole’s physical size, the study’s authors claim their research is the very first to show directly that this ozone depletion is lowering because of the decrease in chlorine levels from CFCs. The 20% reduction in the depletion is “very close to what our model predicts we should see for this amount of chlorine decline,” Strahan noted.
“This gives us confidence that the decrease in ozone depletion through mid-September shown by MLS data is due to declining levels of chlorine coming from CFCs,” she added. “But we’re not yet seeing a clear decrease in the size of the ozone hole because that’s controlled mainly by temperature after mid-September, which varies a lot from year to year.”