learnyouabiology · a day ago
Fun Fact: Oilbirds are Basically BatBirds!
I want to talk about these amazing birds:
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I love them. I mean, look at their big, shiny eyes! NO ONE can say that they aren’t cute as hell!
The other reason I love these animals is because they’re basically what happens when evolution tries to make a bat out of a bird.
These little guys are known as oilbirds (Steatornis caripensis), and are also called guácharo (and also several other things, because they are found in South America, plus Trinidad & Tobago, which all have INCREDIBLE language diversity). 
Oilbirds are nocturnal, flying around the forests of South America at night looking for fruit to eat. They also live colonially in caves, which they navigate using echolocation.
So, to review:
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(I’m making my Generic Bats a very generic fruit bat, for the record).
Oilbirds are the only birds with this combination of traits, which I think is pretty cool of them! Why are they so much like bats? Basically, when different types of animals evolve under similar selective pressures, they often evolve the same features! This is called convergent evolution, and wow I talk about it a lot on this blog! It turns out that nocturnal animals that live in caves and eat fruit can sometimes benefit from traits like these!
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(they’re, like... spooky-cute. Cute-spooky? Either way, I like them a lot)
So, if these birds are flying around at night, how do they stop themselves from flying into things while searching for that tasty, tasty fruit?
Well, in the forest, they mostly rely on their AMAZING night vision (which is another trait they share with bats, fyi). That is why they have such big, adorable eyes, which has a lot of light-sensing cells called rods. They actually hold a record for the density of the rods in their eyes: one million per square millimetre. That is the highest density of any known vertebrate. It’s about 6x denser than the rods found in human eyes! 
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...still cute
Their amazing vision allows them to see very well in low light, which is how they navigate the South American jungles at night, searching for food under the moon and stars. That said, their vision just doesn’t cut it when it comes to flying in the caves they call home. Why? Well, caves are dark as hell, and even the best night-vision can’t do anything for you when there’s no light at all. Plus, flying into cave walls/ cliff faces hurts, so it’s good to be extra sure you’re not flying into solid rock!
So how do they find their way around these dark caves? Well, they use something very unusual for birds: echolocation!
Oilbirds are one of only a few species of birds that are known to use echolocation (the others are a few species of  the closely-related swiflets (Collocaliini), but I HAVE DECIDED TODAY IS FOR THE OILBIRDS im sorry, swiflets, ilu2).
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Look at them, not flying into rocks! I’m so proud (˃̣̣̥ ◡ ˂̣̣̥)
Also, a bonus fact, because idk where to fit this but I MUST mention it:
They have little whiskers around their beaks (which are technically called “rictal bristles”, but I’m going to call them “whiskers” because I like that word better). These whiskers are basically used to feel things that they have in and around their mouth, helping them find, manipulate, and eat their tasty fruit!
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This has been Fun Fact Friday!
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mindblowingscience · 2 days ago
Like humans, dolphins sometimes suffer from irritated skin. But instead of lathering on soothing lotion, Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) in the northern Red Sea head for the nearest coral reef. As if they were patrons at a popular spa, the dolphins line up to rub themselves against corals and sponges.
And some of these organisms may do more than just scratch a dolphin’s itch. In a new study published on Thursday in iScience, an international team of researchers discovered that the mucus oozing from some of the involved corals and sponges is loaded with antibacterial compounds and other potentially beneficial substances. The team posits that the local dolphins congregate near these useful invertebrates to actively treat skin infections.
Although rubbing behavior has also been observed in other cetaceans, such as orcas and beluga whales, examples of dolphins rubbing themselves on corals are rare. This is why the dolphins that frequent reefs off the Egyptian coast have garnered so much attention from researchers and tourists alike and have even starred in an episode of the BBC documentary Blue Planet II.
Continue Reading.
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A bison hide 4 days into the brain tanning process. Despite my hands, back, and arms being so sore and having most of the helpers back out at the last minute, it's been good. Next I'm doing something much much smaller.
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photonblasters · 15 hours ago
i hope that when i become an astrophysicist full time, i still continue to stay up until 4am reading enemies to lovers fanfiction. it just seems very fitting to the whole aesthetic of being a scientist.
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adelinestudiess · 2 days ago
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I got a pair of nike running shoes from my dad's colleague and it's the same pair that I wanted to buy years ago. What a coincidence
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lichenaday · 2 days ago
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Flavoparmelia baltimorensis
Rock greenshield lichen
Back from vacation and back on my lichen bullshit! This foliose lichen has smooth, yellow-green lobes dotted with pustules across the upper surface. The lower surface is brown-black, with simple, black rhizines.  It produces small, pustule-like, brown-disked apothecia. F. baltimorensis grows on acidic rock in eastern and SW North America. 
images: source | source
info: source | source
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fuckyeahfluiddynamics · 2 days ago
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bugsrgay · 2 days ago
Immortal jellyfish (Turritopsis dohrnii)
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This jellyfish could have been living forever and using transdifferentiation if in stress or danger and can restore their bodies in 24 hours and they predated dinosaurs by 660 million years and are being studied for stem cells!
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mountrainiernps · 2 days ago
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Landscape Language
Primitive (adj) – relating to an early stage in evolutionary development
Despite the name, mountain beavers (Aplodontia rufa) are not related to the common beaver (Castor canadensis). Instead, mountain beavers are the only member of the Aplodontiidae family, which is believed to be the most primitive living rodent species. In biology, “primitive” means relating to an early evolutionary stage. Mountain beavers retain a primitive skull and jaw structure (called protrogomorphous) found in early rodents. Later rodent species evolved different skull shapes to allow for more efficient bites and range of motion. Mountain beavers also have primitive, inefficient kidneys that cannot concentrate toxins so they must drink a third of their body weight in water every day. This restricts their range to areas near water and along the foggy Pacific coast. While common in the Pacific Northwest, mountain beaver subspecies in California are considered endangered.
NPS/L. Lane Photo of a mountain beaver. ~kl
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fishyfishyfishtimes · 2 days ago
Daily fish fact #113
The luminescence of an anglerfish's lure comes from bacteria that live in a symbiotic relationship with the fish!
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fishychips · a day ago
[Detect Sequence Sequence Sequence S e e e q u e n c e ]
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Sequence? Sequence!
A d i o s
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mindblowingscience · 2 days ago
Chemists say they have solved a crucial problem in a theory of life’s beginnings, by demonstrating that RNA molecules can link short chains of amino acids together.
The findings, published on 11 May in Nature, support a variation on the ‘RNA world’ hypothesis, which proposes that before the evolution of DNA and the proteins it encodes, the first organisms were based on strands of RNA, a molecule that can both store genetic information — as sequences of the nucleosides A, C, G and U — and act as a catalyst for chemical reactions.
The discovery “opens up vast and fundamentally new avenues of pursuit for early chemical evolution”, says Bill Martin, who studies molecular evolution at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf in Germany.
Continue Reading.
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iminkandpaper · a day ago
Random biology fact: men have this overproductive gland located between the pancreas and the ileum where they produce and store their audacity
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cypherdecypher · 2 days ago
Animal of the Day!
Ribboned Pipefish (Haliichthys taeniophorus)
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(Photo by Claudine Lamothe)
Conservation Status- Least Concern
Habitat- Indo-Pacific Ocean
Size (Weight/Length)- 30 cm
Diet- Plankton; Copepods
Cool Facts- Although a ribboned pipefish, also called ribboned seadragons, are more seahorse-like than pipefish-like. Masters of camouflage, ribboned pipefish spend the majority of their lives in weedy ocean plants and kelp. Their coloration ranges from green to red depending on their environment to better blend in. They are poor swimmers and are relatively stationary while feeding. Despite their carnivorous status, they pick plankton from water with their flexible snout.
Rating- 12/10 (No need for a ghillie suit.)
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adelinestudiess · 6 hours ago
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Unit 3 of french on duolingo!
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n0rtist · 2 days ago
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This was based off of a #STEMARegional submission by @GalacDraws on Twitter (their main is GalactaKiller) that I selected to include in my region.
As with any regional mons that deal with canon ones, these designs are separate from the region, and the Stema Region is not dependent on canon mons.
This is a Shellder line based off of the heat shock proteins that extremophiles, living beings that live in conditions that are extreme to many other living things, make a lot more of. Heat shock proteins are made by most living things, including bacteria and humans, and they are made in multiple stressful conditions, not just heat. Many heat shock proteins are chaperone proteins which help other proteins in retaining their form.
Shellder (Fire/Fighting): These Shellders are more accustomed to the searing hot environments near deep sea volcanic vents. Larger Shellders can sometimes pull in a smaller damaged Shellder with their tongue and repair the other's shell.
Cloyster (Fire/Fighting): When they see a damaged Shellder, these Cloysters would often pick them up and heal their shells. These Cloysters have long but powerful shells that can crush boulders and other obstacles in the deep sea.
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everythingaboutbiotech · a day ago
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Lifecycle of Virus
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greentea-mp3 · 2 days ago
I will never understand how people think an omnipotent being with magic creating everything we now know, is logical. I understand that it takes less mental capacity to think that but come on.
There's this think called abiogenesis. Life coming from non-life. Life can be created in pretty mundane conditions with some chemicals.
I think it's so much more interesting and beautiful that we and every other organism on earth weren't just placed here. We evolved to be as we are now. It's just so cool!
Edited to clear some things up :]
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tinyurbanwilderness · 2 days ago
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I’ve been wanting to say this but I hate to curb increasing enthusiasm for pollinators and yard habitats but here’s research to back me up. This is a Eurocentric practice that doesn’t fit for the United States.
“Dandelion has allelopathic pollen, a scientific term that basically means the pollen of dandelions can reduce reproductive success in native wildflowers, disrupting the native plant communities it invades. Another study showed that queen bumblebees (some of the early emerging wild bees that pro-dandelion campaigns say dandelions help) resorted to eating their own eggs when fed a diet of protein-deficient dandelion pollen.”
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platypu · 2 days ago
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