Posts Tagged ‘Animals’

How to live for ever: lessons from a jellyfish

The Immortal Jellyfish

Warm currents pick up a nameless form in the dark. The waters slide upward and tug the creature, drawing it to the surface. It stirs; rudimentary muscles twitch and contract. Colourless tentacles drift below an ethereal body and taste the salinity that surrounds it, caressing the warmth with deadly intent. An immortal predator, it hunts the oceans, searching for prey. As the sun broaches the horizon and honey bands of light, thick with the promise of tropical heat, lay themselves on the ocean the creature reaches the surface. Tentacles splayed, reaching, it waits with patience. And something approaches.

It hovers in the water column. Sun drenches it now, warming and bringing a myriad of life to the surface. Long, clear arms touch something in the murk. The touch comes again. Now an explosion occurs; the fastest process in the animal world. An evolutionary bomb. Tiny harpoons fire outward from coiled nests. Poisonous and sharper than the finest razor they detonate. A small fish, or perhaps crustacean, dies quickly but painfully in the soft arms of the creature. Then, slowly, it is reeled in and dragged toward the mouth of the monster. It becomes a passing meal for an undying beast. Continue reading

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The most endangered animal in the world?

At uni, when I wasn’t drunk I was pretending to study. The thing I pretended to study the most was zoology. The study of animals, particularly endangered animals, formed my undergrad degree and is a strong focus for my Masters. I love them, though not in the mushy, happy way that the internet seems to be all about these days; lol kats anyone? I love that, despite us, many are still here. Evolution has thrown them something of a curve ball and yet some are still hanging on harder than a stripper to a waxed pole. Some are down to their last fake-finger-nailed pinkie however. The Amur Leopard is probably the prime example. It is arguably the most endangered animal on earth and is now harder to find than a well grounded celebrity.

Of course not all of them are really trying at all. Take the panda for instance. That useless bag of cute is about as capable as one-legged kangaroo. Breeding specialists can put a cycling female in with a healthy male panda and the two will give each other a look then go back to chewing slowly on chopstick wood. Useless. The majority of animals are tenuous to a fault though. The Amur leopard is one of my favorites. This bad-ass, killing machine once ruled much of Eastern Russia, China and ranged as far south as Korea. Now the thirty odd individuals in the wild are found in a very small range and contend daily with a broad range of fucked up human machinations. Poaching, deforestation and all the other goodies that form our gift to the Earth have not been kind to this sexiest of big cats. And really they are pretty sexy; a blue-green eyed blond that weighs in at about fifty kg’s and loves steak? Not an easy find anywhere.

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