Tag Archives: elephants

Why Elephants Rarely Get Cancer

A Potential Mechanism Identified That May Be Key to Cancer Resistance

SALT LAKE CITY—Why elephants rarely get cancer is a mystery that has stumped scientists for decades. A study led by researchers at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah and Arizona State University, and including researchers from the Ringling Bros. Center for Elephant Conservation, may have found the answer. (more…)

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Which is most valuable: Gold, cocaine or rhino horn?

According to study co-authored by UCLA ecologist, the answer is devastating news for Earth’s largest animals

Many of the world’s largest herbivores — including several species of elephants, rhinoceroses, hippopotamuses and gorillas — are in danger of becoming extinct. And if current trends continue, the loss of these animals would have drastic implications not only for the species themselves, but also for other animals and the environments and ecosystems in which they live, according to a new report by an international team of scientists. (more…)

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Africa’s poison ‘apple’ provides common ground for saving elephants, raising livestock

While African wildlife often run afoul of ranchers and pastoralists securing food and water resources for their animals, the interests of fauna and farmer might finally be unified by the “Sodom apple,” a toxic invasive plant that has overrun vast swaths of East African savanna and pastureland.

Should the ominous reference to the smitten biblical city be unclear, the Sodom apple, or Solanum campylacanthum, is a wicked plant. Not a true apple, this relative of the eggplant smothers native grasses with its thorny stalks, while its striking yellow fruit provides a deadly temptation to sheep and cattle. (more…)

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Dolphins keep lifelong social memories, longest in a non-human species

Dolphins can recognize their old tank mates’ whistles after being separated for more than 20 years—the longest social memory ever recorded for a non-human species.

The remarkable memory feat is another indication that dolphins have a level of cognitive sophistication comparable to only a few other species, including humans, chimpanzees and elephants. Dolphins’ talent for social recognition may be even more long-lasting than facial recognition among humans, since human faces change over time, but the signature whistle that identifies a dolphin remains stable over many decades. (more…)

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A Bird’s Song May Teach Us About Human Speech Disorders

*UCLA scientists identify 2,000 important genes*

Can the song of a small bird provide valuable insights into human stuttering and speech-related disorders and conditions, including autism and stroke? New research by UCLA life scientists and colleagues provides reason for optimism.

The scientists discovered that some 2,000 genes in a region of the male zebra finch’s brain known as “Area X” are significantly linked to singing. More than 1,500 genes in this region, a critical part of the bird’s song circuitry, are being reported for the first time. Previously, a group of scientists including the UCLA team had identified some 400 genes in Area X. All the genes’ levels of expression change when the bird sings. (more…)

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Sorghum a Sweet Treat for Zoo Animals

Scraps from sweet sorghum harvested for biofuel production enrich the diets of elephants, monkeys, parrots and other animals in Tucson’ Reid Park Zoo.

This holiday season, animals in Tucson’s Reid Park Zoo get to munch on a rare treat: scraps from the University of Arizona’s research into renewable energy sources.

Researchers from the UA’s department of agricultural and biosystems engineering, who are growing sweet sorghum for the production of environmentally friendly biofuel, have found a new way of disposing of the leftovers without throwing them away. (more…)

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Microsoft Vice President Margo Day Helps Build Girls’ School, Safe Haven in Kenya

*An encounter with 35 young girls in Kenya prompted Margo Day to start a secondary school there. The school will also be a refuge for girls who fled their homes to avoid the traditional practice of female genital mutilation.* 

REDMOND, Wash. — When Margo Day went on a safari last year in Africa, she more or less knew what to expect. She had traveled in Kenya and Tanzania 16 years earlier, where she had what she calls a life-changing experience watching lions, elephants and wildebeests roam the plains. She returned to Kenya last fall to share that experience with her 19-year-old niece, Gail. 

What Day didn’t expect was meeting 35 young girls who would change her life. But Day, who serves as West regional vice president of U.S. Small and Midmarket Solutions and Partners at Microsoft, had also wanted to do some philanthropic work on her trip. So she and her niece spent the last four days of their tripin remote northern Kenya with a team from World Vision, an international nonprofit that helps children, families and communities overcome poverty and injustice. The day before Day and her niece flew back to the U.S., they visited a primary school that also housed a rescue center run by World Vision.  (more…)

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Crocodiles 168 Times More Dangerous Than Sharks

The fears connected with shark attacks are stronger in the world today than those related to much more dangerous predators – crocodiles. However, crocodiles pose a greater threat to humans than sharks do.

A crocodile snatched Hendrik Coetzee, a South African guide, 35, from his kayak while he led an American expedition into the heart of Congo last week. Two American tourists could only watch the scene in horror as the guide was killed and eaten by the predator. They paddled to safety unharmed. Coetzee’s body has not been recovered.

Stories about croc attacks are just as terrible as they are hopeless. Experts say that it is possible to stay to fight off a shark, but it is much more difficult or even impossible to rescue themselves from an attacking croc. (more…)

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