strange behaviors

Cool doings from the natural and human worlds

  • Richard Conniff writes about behavior, in humans and other animals, on two, four, six, and eight legs, plus the occasional slither.

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Posts Tagged ‘squid’

Fantastic Bloody Pigeon! (Or Hitchcock Nightmare)

Posted by Richard Conniff on March 5, 2017

Bloody pigeon (Photo: Wellcome Images/Scott Echols)

Bloody pigeon (Photo: Wellcome Images/Scott Echols)

The Wellcome Trust presents an annual award for scientific imagery, and two of this year’s winners (above and below) caught my eye for the new ways in which they reveal the natural world.  Think of the one above as new insight into the cardiovascular system of living (and extinct) dinosaurs.  Or just a bloody pigeon.

Here’s how The Guardian‘s Nicola Davis describes it:

Open-beaked against a jet-black background, the image of a bird leaps forth, a frenzy of red-and-white squirming lines hinting at its form. It looks like a still from a Hitchcockian nightmare. “It looks so cross, sort of squawking at you,” says Catherine Draycott, head of Wellcome Images.

In fact, the eerie shot is the product of

Read the rest of this entry »

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A Vampire’s Embarrassing Secret

Posted by Richard Conniff on December 20, 2013

Vampire squid with yellow tentacle

Vampire squid with yellow tentacle

What do you do when you are one of the scariest looking creatures on the planet, so scary sober-minded scientists named you Vampyroteuthis infernalis, the vampire squid from hell?  You kill, of course.  And kill, and kill, and kill.

But now it turns out that the vampire squid does no such thing.  This very entertaining article from R.R. Helm at Deep Sea News reports that they are vegetarians.

But it’s worse than that:  They are actually scavengers, detritivores, the natural world’s equivalent of dumpster-divers.  Here’s Helm:

Vampire squid–with cloudy blue eyes, a blood red body, and barbed arms– may be the deep sea’s most frightening creature, but according to a new study, it may also be the gentlest. It turns out, this vampire is actually a vegetarian.

The decisive clue to the vampire’s kinder nature came in the form of long, stringy tentacles. For decades scientists puzzled over the mystery of these strange appendages. Read the rest of this entry »

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