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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 July 10, 2020

                                            How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                                            How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                                            We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

                                            We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

                                            So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

                                            Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

                                            What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

                                            Boundaries are limits

                                            —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

                                            Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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                                            Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

                                            Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

                                            Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

                                            How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

                                            Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

                                            1. Self-Awareness Comes First

                                            Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

                                            You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

                                            To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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                                            You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

                                            • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
                                            • When do you feel disrespected?
                                            • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
                                            • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
                                            • When do you want to be alone?
                                            • How much space do you need?

                                            You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

                                            2. Clear Communication Is Essential

                                            Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

                                            Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

                                            3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

                                            Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

                                            That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

                                            Sample language:

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                                            • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
                                            • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
                                            • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
                                            • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
                                            • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
                                            • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
                                            • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

                                            Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

                                            4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

                                            Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

                                            Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

                                            Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

                                            We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

                                            It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

                                            It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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                                            Final Thoughts

                                            Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

                                            Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

                                            Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

                                            The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

                                            Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

                                            Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

                                            They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

                                            Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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