In December the TED site started a video section called Best of the Web to highlight inspiring talks from elsewhere. I love these talks by physicist, Richard Feynman. I wish I’d had this warm and animated man as my grandpa to nerd-out with and teach me about jiggly atoms as a kiddo.
Turritopsis Nutricula is anything but a quitter. This little jellyfish is the only animal we know to be immortal. It spends its infant stage as a polyp then becomes a sexually mature medusa. But unlike other jellies, after it reproduces it refuses to die and instead returns back to the polyp stage through a process called transdifferentiation. This cycle can continue indefinitely; however, the animal can still succumb to disease or being eaten. I like its scientific name too.. it makes me think of a vampire triceratops (which may be my new favorite hybrid animal).
One of my little bunnies, Squirrel, is in the animal hospital tonight and I miss her dearly. If she makes it out I must remember to teach her this transdifferentiation thingamajig.
Posted in Nature, Science, Animals, Earth
Tagged animal, Immortal, Jelly, Jellyfish, Nature, ocean, Science, Turritopsis Nutricula
Cuttlefish are hands down my favorite animal. These strange little creatures have three hearts, blue-green blood, can alter their skin to match an enormous range of colors and textures even though they can only see in shades of green and are intelligent enough to change their defensive strategies based on the type of predator they are facing.
Below is fascinating hour-long Nova special which does a great job explaining how their skin functions as well as exploring their intelligence and odd mating behaviors.
I love these little hijackers, especially when they’re running away on their tentacles. Apparently this video is the first documentation of octopodes using tools. I can’t wait until they unite with orangutans and crows to take over the world.
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FINALLY science and the auto-tuner have gotten together! Who hasn’t been waiting for this moment? The Symphony of Science is a project started by John Boswell to “deliver scientific knowledge and philosophy in musical form”. Here’s “A Glorious Dawn” by Carl Sagan featuring Stephen Hawking. Hilarious stuff! Check his site for two other fantastic videos.
Glass Frog is the common name for the amphibian family Cochranella, of which there are about 60 species. In most glass frogs the skin appears as somewhat opaque lime-colored frosted glass. However, a number have transparent skin (usually on the torso) exposing such organs as the heart, liver, digestive tract and eggs (in females). Species range in size from 1.2 inches – 3.0 inches and are found in many countries including, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Columbia, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Panama, Nicaragua and Mexico.
Nature’s not the only one creating transparent skin in frogs. In 2007, Japanese scientists genetically engineered this frog’s see-through skin, which could help to reduce the amount of dissections preformed and create more humane studies on the frogs. The scientists advise to not expect a see-through mammal anytime soon, since their skin differs so much from that of an amphibian and the current technique would not work.