Animals

Word of Mouth
12:01 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

The Discovery of Singing Mice

Brian_Kellett via Flickr Creative Commons

Recent studies out of Duke University have discovered that everyone’s favorite lab rat, the humble mouse, has a penchant for singing – and more importantly, singing in tune...in a way.  Producer Taylor Quimby is Word of Mouth’s always willing investigator of strange science, and he has the story.

Check out Cinderella's singing mice. They are true heroes:

EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun August 5, 2012

The Endangered Species Act -- Success or Failure?

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Do environmentalists think the Endangered Species Act has been a success or failure with regard to protecting biodiversity in the U.S.?-- Ron McKnight, Trenton, NJ

While that very question has been a subject of debate already for decades, most environmental advocates are thankful such legislation is in place and proud of their government for upholding such high standards when it comes to preserving rare species of plants and animals.

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Word of Mouth
11:00 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Word of Mouth 7.21.2012

Photo Credit Atelier Teee, via Flickr Creative Commons

 

Part 1: A Horse of Exactly the Same Color and Jumping for Gold...Someday

Produced with Zach Nugent

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Word of Mouth
10:13 am
Wed July 18, 2012

ZOOsk

Photo Credit Sad Diego Shooter, Via Flickr Creative Commons

Remember how people used to joke about online dating? What once was an easy target for digs about desperate singles and social pariahs is now a success story for oodles of couples and dozens of highly profitable dating services.  Among the unabashed masses of online daters these days is an unlikely demographic – the animal kingdom. Reyhan Harmancy is a staffer at Buzzfeed, where she wrote about how zoos use online dating methods to profile and pair species together. 

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun June 3, 2012

Wind Turbines and Bird Conflicts

iStock Photo

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: One of the objections to wind power has been that the turbines can kill birds. Has there been some progress in developing bird-friendly wind power? -- Marcie Mahoney, Boston, MA

 

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Word of Mouth
12:25 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

An inherent danger?

(Photo by maplegirlie via Flickr)

A note to listeners: This interview was supposed to include Jim Gorant, a Senior Editor for Sports Illustrated, and author of The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption. Unfortunately, we lost our connection with him shortly after his part of the interview began.  /RL

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The Two-Way
8:48 am
Thu April 26, 2012

'Bring Andy Home:' Search For Missing Corgi Goes High Tech

Where's Andy?
The Bring Andy Home Facebook page

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 6:27 pm

We love dogs. So we can't resist passing along word that later today All Things Considered plans to catch up on the story of Andy, a tan and white Pembroke Welsh Corgi who has been missing since New Year's Eve.

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Animals
4:43 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

The (Monkey) Business Of Recognizing Words

Researchers studied baboons, including this one, and found that with training, they could distinguish real four-letter English words from four letters that weren't a word.
Joel Fagot Science/AAAS

New research shows that first-graders and baboons have at least one thing in common: Both can tell the difference between actual written words and random sequences of letters. This finding challenges some conventional ideas about what goes on in the human brain when we read.

Scientists have assumed that reading relies on the same brain circuits involved in spoken language, but now they are considering a more complicated explanation, thanks to six baboons who took part in an unusual experiment.

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NPR News
12:01 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Pipe Down! That Noise Might Affect Your Plants

Pinon pine trees like this one dominate Rattlesnake Canyon.
Jeff Mitton

Researchers haven't given much thought to the effect of noise and noise pollution on plants. After all, plants don't have ears — at least, not the kind you hear with — so there doesn't seem to be much point. But thanks to ecologist Clinton Francis, that could be about to change.

Francis is a postdoctoral researcher at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in North Carolina. But he has spent the past few years in northwestern New Mexico, studying noise pollution in Rattlesnake Canyon.

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Something Wild
9:05 am
Fri March 23, 2012

A Body at Play...

We've all seen wildlife documentaries showing young animals—lion cubs, perhaps—wrestling, chasing, pouncing on their siblings. Observe household puppies and kittens and you'll see the same behavior: young animals at play.

Play is defined as spontaneous, energetic behavior with no apparent purpose or goal. But whenever there's considerable expenditure of energy, a closer look is warranted. There may not be apparent goals, but the true benefits of play are being recognized by a growing number of disciplines.

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Animals
5:08 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Just How Big Are The Eyes Of A Giant Squid?

This giant squid was caught about 10 miles off the shores of Oahu, Hawaii, in 1981. The pupil of its eye measured more than 3.5 inches across.
Current Biology

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 9:32 pm

Giant and colossal squids can be more than 40 feet long, if you measure all the way out to the tip of their two long feeding tentacles. But it's their eyes that are truly huge — the size of basketballs.

Now, scientists say these squids may have the biggest eyes in the animal kingdom because they need to detect a major predator, the sperm whale, as it moves toward them through the underwater darkness.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
4:04 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Wildlife Heroes

For tens of thousands of years, humans relied on animals to sustain life: their skins kept us warm, their oils provided fuel.  But the 7-billion of us stomping the earth today? Our relationship with the creatures around us is vastly different.  Around the globe, species big and small remain under intense threat of extinction. A new book, ‘Wildlife Heroes’ tells the story of forty leading conservationists who are fighting behind the scenes to save these animals.

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Law
12:45 pm
Sat March 10, 2012

Ag-Gag Law Blows Animal Activists' Cover

Struthers raises about 4,500 pigs for meat every year.
Kathleen Masterson Iowa Public Radio

Originally published on Sat March 10, 2012 6:12 pm

After a series of videos revealing apparent cruel treatment of farm animals went viral, Iowa has made it a crime for people to misrepresent themselves to gain access to a farm. The so-called "Ag-Gag" law targets undercover animal rights activists who secretly take videos. Farmers say they need the legal protection to block those trying to take down agriculture, but critics ask what the industry may be hiding.

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Planet Money
12:01 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Meet Claudia, The High-Tech Cow

Technology at rest.
Adam Davidson NPR

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 11:09 am

Here's the secret of the modern dairy farm: The essential high-tech advances aren't in machinery. They're inside the cow.

Take a cow like Claudia. She lives at Fulper Farms, a dairy farm in upstate New Jersey. Claudia is to a cow from the 1930s as a modern Ferrari is to a Model T.

In the 1930s, dairy farmers could get 30 pounds of milk per day from a cow. Claudia produces 75 pounds a day.

To appreciate a cow like Claudia, you have to know where to look.

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Europe
4:06 pm
Mon March 5, 2012

Neighs Have It: Horse Tale Ensnares British Leader

In this photo from 2009, David Cameron (left) attends a book launch for Charlie Brooks in London. Cameron, who has since become Britain's prime minister, went to Eton with Brooks, husband of Rebekah Brooks, the former News International executive toppled by Britain's phone-hacking scandal. The latest twist in that scandal involves Rebekah Brooks, Cameron and a retired police horse.
Dave Hogan Getty Images

In Britain, there's a long waiting list of British animal lovers hoping to take in aging police horses. Once retired, the horses aren't supposed to be ridden again.

Unless, it seems, you're Rebekah Brooks, the former tabloid editor and chief executive of Rupert Murdoch's News International, or David Cameron, the man who would become Britain's prime minister.

The ongoing inquiry into the relationship between the police and news media has uncovered a new scandal: Scotland Yard appears to have loaned Brooks a police horse back in 2008.

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