After they dined on Napoleon’s horses, the Parisians ate all the feral cats and stray dogs they could find. It was 1870, and the real politicking of Otto von Bismarck had brought Prussian forces to France. The siege of Paris began on September 19th, and over the next four months the Parisians would eat every horse, donkey, dog, cat and rat within the city’s walls. When they ran out of those, they turned to the city’s zoo, in the Jardin de Plantes.
The deer and antelope were the first to go, looking comfortably like the horses and donkeys that had filled menus during the first few weeks of the [...]
"Dinets and his colleagues observed crocodile species on three continents—Australia, Africa and North America—and examined previous studies and anecdotal observations. They found that four species climbed trees—usually above water—but how far they ventured upward and outward varied by their sizes. The smaller crocodiles were able to climb higher and further than the larger ones. Some species were observed climbing as far as four meters high in a tree and five meters down a branch."
–Pictured: a crocodile that has climbed a tree.
Photo by Kristine Gingras
Every five years, scientists take a survey of the axolotl in ancient Lake Xochimilco, in southern Mexico City, the only place in the world where the amphibian still lives. In 1998 there were 6,000. In 2003 there were 1,000. In 2008 there were 100. And in 2013 there were 0. RIP axolotl, you delightful primitive weirdo.
"Animal cruelty has been a fact of life on productions since the inception of Hollywood. (Nearly 100 horses died during the shooting of 1959’s Ben-Hur alone.) Action-adventure films and Westerns were known to treat animals harshly in their attempts to attain verisimilitude long before the advent of CGI. As early as 1939, after a horse was forced onto a slippery platform, tilted to ensure it would plummet 70 feet off a cliff to its death, during the shooting of Jesse James, the Hays Office, typically busy with other forms of morality policing, invited the AHA (not to be confused with the Humane Society of the United States) to be present [...]
"These fun pictures, taken by a host of photographers, show animals seeming to have a good laugh."
This delightful creature was inside the mommy shark when a shark fisherman killed them both. Or all three of them.
Experts who examined the two-headed shark say it's the first ever bull shark to be found with two heads—somebody put the dead fetus in the MRI machine because why not, and found that it wasn't "conjoined twins" but an actual two-headed shark and the first two-headed bull shark ever to be put inside the MRI machine.
Researchers also claim the baby monster would not live long in the wild, but this sounds like eugenics. Wouldn't the baby two-headed shark have twice the chance at survival?
Anyway, shark abortion [...]
Of the many trends noted by the New York Times in recent years, perhaps this trend piece is the least controversial: "Owls are a staple of children’s books and cultural kitsch—here wooing pussycats in pea-green boats and delivering mail to the Harry Potter crew, there raising a dubiously Wise eyebrow in the service of snack food," the science section article notes. And yet, is there more to this kitsch animal transformed into an icon of modern style? Some say yes. Others—the owls, in particular—are most distinctive for what they have not said on the subject.