Sunday Sketch: Manatee Mammaries

Armpits may be a ticklish place for humans, but for manatees (Order: Sirenia), armpits are good for nursing young! Manatees are mammals and nurse their offspring with mammary glands that are located under the pectoral flippers for over a year. Sketch and fact contributed by Karli Chudeau Source: Berta, A. (2012). Diversity, Evolution, and Adaptations…

Sunday Sketch: Goats and Smiles

If you want to befriend a goat, better say cheese! New research shows that goats can distinguish between human happy and sad faces, and prefer the pictures of humans that smile! When presented with images of the two facial expressions, goats spent 50% more time approaching and nudging the happy-face photos. This has important implications…

Sunday Sketch: Monkey Mountain

In Kowloon and New Territory, Hong Kong, over 1000 free-ranging Rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) and Long-tailed macaques (Macaca fascicularis) live just minutes from the busiest part of the city! These daring monkeys relax in the middle of roads, on overpasses, and on top of bus stops. Their charming personalities and surprising location have made these…

Sunday Sketch: Gecko Toes

If you have ever been in the tropics and seen a gecko crawl effortlessly across your ceiling, you may have asked yourself, how do they do that? Contrary to popular belief, gecko toes aren’t sticky, but in fact utilize electromagnetic attraction between microscopic toe hairs called setae, and the fine contours of the walls and…

Sunday Sketch: Marmoset Fathers

Even among nature’s best dads, some are better than others! Marmoset dads who respond to infant distress calls quickly and early in their offspring’s life are more likely to have offspring that survive beyond 30 days and are also more likely to gain weight quicker than babies of less attentive dads. Researchers indicate this comes…

Sunday Sketch: Soaring Albatross

With a majority of their lives spent soaring at sea, the Laysan albatross is a poster child for energy-efficient flight. Wings spanning up to 7 feet and the use of dynamic soaring allow albatrosses to fly for hours without flapping their wings. Dynamic soaring exploits wind shear, or the variation of wind velocity that occurs…

Sunday Sketch: Big Horn Sheep

Bighorn sheep have double layered skulls to protect themselves during (literally) head-to-head combat. Their horns can weigh up to 14 kg (30 pounds!). Males fight battles with their heavy heads and horns, sometimes to the death, to win access to females. Now that’s a heavy concept! Sketch and fact contributed by Lea Pollack Source: Bighorn…

Sunday Sketch: Long Distance Penguins

Does your long distance relationship have you pining for your partner? Well, at least you aren’t a southern rockhopper penguin (Eudyptes chrysocome). These marine birds mate for life, but don’t spend much time together other than during the mating season, which is only 20-30 days long. Talk about difficult travel logistics: GPS trackers show that penguins…

Sunday Sketch: Dung Beetle Navigation

In addition to birds, seals, and humans, the nocturnal dung beetle (Scarabaeus satyrus) uses the stars as orientation and navigational cues. The dung beetles may not be able to discriminate between individual stars, but can use clumps of bright stars and the Milky Way for nocturnal migration. Sketch and fact contributed by Karli Chudeau Source: Dacke,…

Sunday Sketch: Anemone Piggyback

Did you know that some animals get by with a little help from their “friends”? Certain species of marine hermit crabs have a symbiotic relationship with sea anemones, meaning they mutually use each other for their own benefit. Riding along the hermit crab shell, sea anemones get the opportunity to be mobile and have more…