Monday, July 1, 2013

Bad Animal Science News Briefs

- Komodo dragons don't have bad oral hygiene - it's that water buffalo are filthy, filthy animals: It was long claimed that the bite of the komodo dragon was particularly lethal because of the foul bacteria in their mouths. This supposedly allowed them to take down large prey that they couldn't kill outright, because it would later die of infections. Then it was discovered that actually, what they have in their mouths that's nasty is actual venom. And now, as explained here by Ed Yong, a scientist tested whether bacteria were also involved and came up with a different reason why those non-native water buffalo die of infections after a komodo bites them:
In their natural environment, they’d disappear into wide marshlands, but there’s nothing like that in Komodo. Instead, the buffalos seek refuge in rank water holes, stagnant and contaminated with their own faeces. In this microbial wonderland, their wounds soon become infected. “It’s the same as if you dumped a whole bunch of cow dung in your pool during the peak heat of summer, shaved your legs with a very old razor, and then went and stood in the water for a day,” says Fry. “You’d end up with some very tasty infections!”
 -More Friends Make Lemurs Better Thieves is the best headline for a story that's going around about social intelligence in lemurs, never mind the details.

-Finally, check out this fabulous post on a blog about corvids about crows pulling the tails of other animals, with many more photos like the one above.

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