Columbia livia domestica - Domestic pigeons
Think the breeding of show animals is exclusive to dogs and horses? No way. My eyes have been opened to the intensely competitive and diverse world of domestic pigeon keeping. Domestic pigeons (Columbia livia domestica) are derived from the rock dove (Columbia livia), similar to how domestic dogs (Canis lupus familiaris) are a subspecies of the grey wolf (Canis lupus). There are three different features or characteristics pigeons are selectively bred for: utility, fanciness, or flying. These traits aren’t so unlike the different characteristics for which dogs are bred (except for the flying part [maybe]).
- Kite Saddle Fantail - Fancy show breed; fantails have 2x-3x as many tail feathers as your average rock dove.
- Black English carrier: Fancy show breed, no longer used for message delivery.
- Red Jacobin - The jacobins are able to hide the head entirely in a muff of feathers, which is raised and lowered at will.
- Blue barred spot swallow - The swallows are usually bred with the feathered toes known as “muffs”
I half expect that jacobin to be wearing a monocle underneath its fancy collar.
All of these beautiful examples were donated by breeders from the Chicago Pigeon Club.
From the “Results of Artificial Selection in Domestic Pigeons” case at The Field Museum.
What happens when you pour 1200F molten aluminum into an anthill? (by seidbords32)
I have to say my immediate response was to feel bad for the ants even though I have killed every one I ever found in my home.
It just seemed especially unfair to wipe out an entire colony all at once. but then I remembered E.O. Wilson’s remark that “If ants had nuclear weapons, they would probably end the world in a week” and thought ok, fuck it, pour some molten aluminum in there and let’s see what’s going on. What’s going on is quite amazing. You can skip forward quite a bit if you’re so inclined: it’s worth it.
Ant architecture is amazing. Ventilation shafts, flood control, groundwater access, nursery and farming annexes. Not bad for something with only 250,000 neurons in its brain.
Fraggles and Doozers still have ‘em beat, though.
After you finish being amazed by their subterranean skill, check out this video about leafcutter ants, the invention of farming and coevolution.
Maybe I should do a video about ants.
There’s an official Guinness World Record for “World’s Most Dangerous Tree,” and it’s held by the manchineel tree from the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. The manchineel’s bark is covered in sap that causes skin to blister and can blind a person if it gets in their eyes. Even standing under the tree in the rain can cause blisters because the sap will drip onto skin.The tree’s fruit, known as the “beach apple” or “death apple,” is slightly sweet but very painful to eat. Ulceration of the mouth and esophagus will occur from just a small bite and consumption can be lethal. Smoke from burning manchineel wood can cause blindness, and the sap has historically been used to coat arrows for hunting. Today it’s an endangered species in Florida. (via Listverse)