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20 Surprising Facts About The Animal Kingdom

20 Surprising Facts About The Animal Kingdom

The complexities of the animal kingdom never cease to amaze and, after millions of years of evolution, many species have adapted in ways which belittle human endeavors. Whether it’s effortlessly flying, breathing under water, or simply being alien in appearance, these 20 animal facts will remind you of the amazing world beyond human society.

1. Dolphins use biological sonar

    Dolphins have remarkable eyesight and can hear frequencies ten times over what an average adult human can. Its sensory abilities are so evolved that it can monitor its environment to an incredible degree. Senses such as echolocation (biological sonar), and what is believed to be an ability to navigate by the Earth’s magnetic field, are so powerful a dolphin could, literally, “see” through you if you were swimming with one.

    2. Orcas are highly cultural

      Orcas have the second heaviest brain in the oceans. In 2010, neuroscientists examined the brain of a dead killer whale. Following MRI scans, and observation in the wild, this much is clear: they have the ability to learn local dialects, each pod has its own language, they teach and learn complex hunting methods, and pass on individualistic behaviors. Biology professor Hal Whitehead, in 2001, stated he believes orcas to be the most cultural species other than humans.

      3. Cats can rehydrate by drinking seawater

        A cat’s kidneys are so efficient it’s possible for them to exist on a diet of meat, and they can rehydrate by drinking seawater. Their carnivorous ways, however, are mandatory. It is a struggle for them to digest plants, although they can often be observed chewing on grass.

        4. Snake charming secrets

          The ancient practice of snake “charming” is famous in India, but the music has nothing to do with the apparent hypnoses. The highly venomous Indian cobra is used for the performance. Cobras can’t hear music – the snake is actually in a defensive stance. They view the charmer and the pungi (instrument) as a threat, and move their head in time with the charmer’s motions.

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          5. Hamsters aren’t nocturnal

            Chronobiology examines how creatures react to solar/lunar rhythms. Hamsters rise at anti-social human hours, and it is common belief they are nocturnal. However, it is now widely considered they are crepuscular (active between twilight) as their peak activity can be observed during dawn and dusk.

            6. Coconut Crabs aren’t from another planet

              Startling images of these large creatures have been appearing across the Internet. Rest assured, the Coconut Crab is a hermit crab of sorts which, due to its imposing size, makes it alien in appearance.

              6. Jurassic Park isn’t possible

                If you enjoyed Michael Crichton’s novel, or the film adaptation, the sad news is the science in Jurassic Park can’t happen. A recent study titled The Absence of DNA in Sub-Fossil Insect Inclusions Preserved In ‘Anthropocene’ Colombian Copal highlights the disappointing fact that insects preserved in amber are simply too old to have any DNA present. Still, at least Jeff Goldblum exists.

                7. Blobfish aren’t ugly

                  Blobfish recently won the inauspicious “World’s Ugliest Animal” competition. The deep sea fish are often brought to the surface by fishing trawlers, but it’s worth noting they look markedly different in their environment (artist’s impression above), which can be 3,900ft under the ocean.

                  8. Great White Sharks are highly enigmatic

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                    Despite modern research methods, these remarkable sharks remain puzzling. They lead solitary lives and swim enormous distances, making it difficult for scientists to observe them. Due to this it is still largely unknown how the species reproduces. Despite the fear they provoke, great whites are vital to the ocean’s ecosystem, but over-fishing could be pushing them towards extinction.

                    9. Panda Ants have a secret

                      These small insects are wasps. Ants evolved from wasps, and panda ants are part of the family of Mutillidae, which is made up of around 3,000 different species of wasps. The different species are often referred to as Velvet Ants, presumably as the wingless females resemble large ants. They also pack a nasty sting and are regarded as “cow killers.”

                      10. Adélie penguins once outraged the British

                        Adélie penguins appalled Robert Falcon Scott’s 1910 British Antarctic Expedition. Scott dismissed them as “fatuous” in his diary, whilst George Murray Levick’s notes on the their aggressive procreation methods were considered too indecent for publication. The behaviour was described as “astonishing depravity” by Levick, who cited “hooligan males” as the worst offenders. His findings were only officially released in 2012.

                        11. Honey Badgers are remarkably tenacious

                          Despite their diminutive appearance honey badgers have been observed fending off a pride of lions, invading bees’ nests, attacking poisonous snakes, defeating monitor lizards, and battling with hyenas. They’re equipped with tough skin, endless energy, and since they’re so aggressive, few predators hunt them. As a consequence honey badgers are classed as “Least Concern” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCEIAwatlV8

                          12. A Rattlesnake’s rattle is interlocked keratin

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                            The legendary “rattle” is made up of hollow segments which are interlocked by keratin. A rattlesnake can contract its muscles in its tail to make the segments vibrate against each other, which makes the sound. This process of muscle contractions shakes at 50 times per second, and can go on for three hours.

                            13. Hibernating animals aren’t sleeping

                              Hibernating creatures should be distinguished from merely sleeping. The process is known as torpor and is a state of decreased physiological activity; this is achieved by lowering body temperature and metabolic rates. Many animals enter long bouts of hibernation for seasonal reasons, whilst others have bouts of daily torpor.

                              14. Cats could help astronauts

                                During exhalation and inhalation cats purr between the frequency of 25 and 150 Hertz. This is considered the sound range which can promote healing in damaged muscles and bones. Scientists at the University of California have consequently postulated purring could alleviate muscle atrophy and bone density loss. Dr. Leslie Lyons suggested this could be useful for astronauts who have spent long periods of time in zero gravity, where muscle atrophy is a serious problem.

                                15. The nimble moth

                                  This picture by Jerry Strzelecki displays the very unique Hummingbird Hawk-moth. It’s a species of Sphingidae, which are a family of the moth kingdom. It’s earned its name, unsurprisingly, due to its similarity to the hummingbird. It can hover, and hums as it does, making this moth one nifty little creature.

                                  16. Courtship displays can be flamboyant

                                    The Superb Bird of Paradise of New Guinea has an exceptional courtship display. As seen in the BBC’s Planet Earth, the male makes a clearing for its “dancefloor”. It then proceeds to dance around a female in a flirtatious pursuit similar to many Friday nights in cities across the world.

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                                    17. The Shoebill is “Statue-like”

                                      The distinct looking Shoebill can be seen in human culture as far back as Ancient Egyptian artwork. Due to their stoic habit of remaining silent and standing still for prolonged amounts of time, they have earned a reputation in Africa for being statuesque.

                                      18. Some scorpions can live for 25 years

                                        The lifespan of these predatory anthropods varies for each species, but some have been known to live for 25 years. Surprisingly, despite there being 1,300 known species, less than 30 have venom powerful enough to kill a human.

                                        19. There is a sting pain index

                                          The Schmidt Sting Pain Index was developed by entomologist Justin O. Schmidt. Following incidents whilst researching he developed an index noting the respective agonies of insect stings, releasing a paper in 1990 titled  “Hymenoptera Venoms: Striving Toward the Ultimate Defense Against Vertebrates”. He cites the Bullet Ant (pictured) and pepsis wasp as the worst stings he suffered.

                                          20. Jellyfish have 24 eyes

                                            Jellyfish have been part of the world’s oceans for over 500 million years. As noted by Current Biology, they also have 24 eyes “of four different types, including eyes structurally similar to those of vertebrates.” Despite this, their visual ability is restricted to basic object avoidance, meaning it is unclear why they have so many eyes.

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                                            Last Updated on September 18, 2020

                                            7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                                            7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

                                            Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

                                            Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

                                            1. Exercise Daily

                                            It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

                                            If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

                                            Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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                                            If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

                                            2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

                                            Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

                                            One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

                                            This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

                                            3. Acknowledge Your Limits

                                            Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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                                            Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

                                            Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

                                            4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

                                            Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

                                            The basic nutritional advice includes:

                                            • Eat unprocessed foods
                                            • Eat more veggies
                                            • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
                                            • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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                                            Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

                                              5. Watch Out for Travel

                                              Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

                                              This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

                                              If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

                                              6. Start Slow

                                              Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

                                              If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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                                              7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

                                              Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

                                              My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

                                              If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

                                              I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

                                              Final Thoughts

                                              Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

                                              Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

                                              More Tips on Getting in Shape

                                              Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

                                              Reference

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