Meet 6 Animals That Predict World Cup Winners

an octopus named Paul correctly predicted the outcome of eight World Cup matches in a row, including the final showdown between Spain and the Netherlands.

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In 2010, after winning worldwide attention as an animal oracle, Paul passed away at the tender age of two and a half – a normal lifespan for an octopus vulgaris. But a raft of other animals have been competing to fill Paul’s, er, shoes in the 2014 World Cup season. So far, however, the would-be successors to Paul the Octopus haven’t been faring so well.

Nelly the Elephant predicted that the German team would overtake the Ghanians in the second round. The match, however, ended in a tie.

Pele the Piranha predicted that the host country of Brazil would defeat Mexico. This match, however, also ended in a tie.

Flopsy the Kangaroo, a.k.a.  the “Predictaroo,” correctly predicted that Brazil would defeat Croatia in the opening match of the World Cup but flopped badly in predicting that Australia would defeat Chile.

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Alves the Tapir also correctly predicted the outcome of the opening match between Brazil and Croatia. But he wrongly predicted that England would prevail over the Netherlands, whose team is still going strong.

Big Head the Turtle was the third animal to correctly predict the outcome of the Brazil-Croatia match. But, like Pele the Piranha, he wrongly predicted that Mexico would beat the host country of Brazil in their second match (it ended in a tie).

So, for now, much hope – at least here in the United States – rides on Nasar, a prognosticating horse who lives inside a 300-year-old farmhouse in Hold, Germany, with his owner, Stephanie Arndt, a doctor. When the online editorial office of a local newspaper enlisted the horse’s help in predicting the winner of the U.S.-Germany World Cup match on June 26, Nasar predicted that the United States would win by kicking a beach ball into a miniature soccer goal with a U.S. flag attached to it.

Could Nasar be the real deal – the never-fail Ouija of the animal kingdom? Stay tuned.

 

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Birds of a Feather Photos of Hummingbirds Hawks & Jays

In the Chiricahua Mountains of Arizona, black-chinned hummingbirds have a clever strategy to keep their nests safe: They recruit unknowing hawks for home security. Hummingbird nests cluster near hawk nests, and those hawks keep away the predatory jays that snatch hummingbird eggs, researchers reported Sept. 4 in the journal Science Advances. [Read full story about how hummingbirds recruit hawks for protection]A female black-chinned hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) perches on a twig. The daily survival rate of a hummingbird nest built nearby a hawk’s nest is 31 percent, compared with only 6 percent for hummingbird nests not near hawk roosts. (Credit: Harold F. Greeney, Yanayacu Biological Station

Male Seahorses Act Like Pregnant Mammals Study Suggests

Pregnant male seahorses tend to develop embryos similarly to the way mammals do, new research shows.

In the new study, scientists found a suite of genes that are “turned on” in the pouches of seahorses to keep the baby healthy and growing. Similar gene activity has been found in the wombs of mammals and even reptiles.

As such, the finding could shed light on the evolution of live birth, called viviparity.

Seahorse broods

Seahorses are syngnathid fishes — the only animal family in which males, not females, carry their young. In seahorse sex, the female deposits her eggs into a “brood pouch” on the male’s stomach, where he fertilizes them. The expectant dad then carries the eggs in this pouch during the 24-day gestation period until he gives birth, using abdominal contractions to expel the live young, which are then on their own to survive. [The 10 Wildest Pregnancies in the Animal Kingdom]

Previously, researchers knew little about what took place in the brood pouch of the pot-bellied seahorse (Hippocampus abdominalis) during pregnancy. To find out, an international team of researchers looked at how genes were turned on and off during the course of the expecting dads’ pregnancies. They compared this activity with that found in the brood pouches of nonpregnant males. (Just as nonpregnant women have uteruses, nonpregnant male seahorses have brood pouches.)

They specifically looked at ribonucleic acid, or RNA in the seahorses’ brood pouches  (RNA is produced when a gene is turned on and tells the cell to build the protein that the gene encodes.) Then, they looked for similar gene sequences (and their functions) in publicly available databases.

Pouches and uteruses

Pregnancy led to an uptick in the expression of genes involved in nutrient transport within the brood pouch, the scientists found. “Things like fats, and also calcium, seem to be transported from the dad [to the developing fetus],” said study author Camilla M. Whittington, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Sydney in Australia. “We also found a whole lot of other genes for things like immune function, so it looks like the seahorse dads can actually help prevent infection in the brood pouch.”

The researchers also found changes in the expression of genes involved in tissue remodeling. These genes may be involved in structural changes to the brood pouch, which thickens and develops more blood vessels when carrying the brood (of several hundred embryos), Whittington said. The team found gene-expression changes associated with immune-system activities (both protecting the embryos from infection and preventing the father’s immune system from rejecting the tissue of his offspring as foreign), gas exchange (so that the embryo can “breathe”), and waste removal.

The brood pouch is said to have the same function as the uterus of mammals and reptiles. Consistent with that idea, the researchers found many similarities between the genes expressed in the male seahorses’ brood pouches and similar genes (called homologues) expressed in the uteruses of female mammals — rats, in particular — and the womb equivalents of reptiles and fish that have live young. Those similarities could potentiality extend to humans, Whittington said. [Infographic: For How Long Are Animals Pregnant?]

“People have looked at gene expression in the rat uterus during pregnancy, whereas we don’t have a similar data set for humans,” Whittington said. “Obviously, it’s kind of difficult to get those kinds of tissue samples, and that’s probably why people haven’t done it. So we found mammalian homologues, and we presume some of them will be human homologues, too, but we don’t have the data to be able to tell.”

Bearing live young

Research of this sort may reveal details about how viviparity evolved, Whittington said. The trait is thought to have evolved independently 150 times in vertebrates, including 23 times in fishes, the authors wrote in the study.

Once animals “stop laying eggs and start having live babies instead, animals are faced with a common set of challenges,” Whittington said. “Somehow, wastes have to be removed from the embryo, somehow oxygen has to be delivered and somehow nutrients have to be delivered.

“There are perhaps a limited number of genetic ways that this could be done, and so this is why we’re seeing the same genes being recruited into pregnancy in these animals,” Whittington added.

This process of turning on certain genes during pregnancy could be an example of convergent evolution, in which evolutionarily separated species develop similar ways of doing things by evolving under similar environmental conditions.

“These animals have evolved pregnancy millions of years apart and also in completely different structures,” Whittington added. This supports the convergent evolution idea. “Mammals use a uterus, whereas the seahorses are using, essentially, modified abdominal skin,” Whittington said.

Alternatively, viviparous animals around today could have had a common ancestor in which these genes were already turned on in the tissues that later evolved to become the uterus and the brood pouch.

“I think our research shows that we are more like other animals than you might think,” Whittington added. “I think it really illustrates that there are commonalities in pregnancies across really diverse vertebrates, and I think that’s really exciting.”

A Mass Die off of the Endangered Saiga Antelope

Bizarre Human Size Sea Scorpion Found in Ancient Meteorite Crater

About 460 million years ago, a sea scorpion about the size of an adult human swam around in the prehistoric waters that covered modern-day Iowa, likely dining on bivalves and squishy eel-like creatures, a new study finds.

The ancient sea scorpions are eurypterids, a type of arthropod that is closely related to modern arachnids and horseshoe crabs. The findings — which include at least 20 specimens — are the oldest eurypterid fossils on record by about 9 million years, said study lead researcher James Lamsdell, a postdoctoral associate of paleontology at Yale University.

The findings are also the largest known eurypterids from the Ordovician period, which began approximately 488 million years ago and ended 443.7 million years ago. The sea creatures measured up to 5.6 feet (1.7 meters) long. [See Images of the Ancient Sea Scorpion]

Researchers dubbed the newfound species Pentecopterus decorahensis, named for Greek warships (penteconter) and the Greek word for wings (pterus) because the sea scorpion was likely a top predator that sped through the water, the researchers said. The species name also honors the Iowa city of Decorah, where the fossils were uncovered.

“The best way to describe this animal is bizarre,” Lamsdell told Live Science. “For a long time, I had trouble being sure that this was one species because there are so many strange things about it.”

Paddle-shaped limbs

An analysis showed that P. decorahensis had specialized limbs that developed as it aged. Its rear limbs are shaped like paddles with joints that appear to be locked in, suggesting that the predator used them as paddles to swim or dig, the researchers said.

Its second and third pairs of limbs were likely angled forward, which suggests they helped the ancient arthropod grab prey. Moreover, the three back pairs of limbs are shorter than the front pair, indicating that P. decorahensis walked on six legs instead of eight.This appendage shows movable and fixed spines. The scale bar represents 0.4 inches (1 cm).

Interestingly, juveniles had different spines on their legs than adults did.

“It looks like the juveniles would have behaved more like horseshoe crabs, sort of walked around on the seafloor, grubbing in the mud, just eating worms or whatever they could find,” Lamsdell said.

With age, their back legs shrank and probably helped the eurypterids balance while swimming. The front legs grew, as did the sharp spines growing on them, “and they could have been used for catching larger prey,” Lamsdell said.

Like other arthropods, P. decorahensis probably molted as it aged. Researchers speculate that eurypterids molted “en masse, and accumulations of molts have been reported from a number of sheltered, marginal marine environments,” the researchers wrote in the study. Perhaps the specimens found in Iowa are molted skin, they said. [Skin Shedders: A Gallery of Creatures That Molt]

Even so, the fossils provide exquisite detail, showing scales, follicles and stiff bristles that once covered the animals. For instance, its rear limbs are covered with dense bristles. Horseshoe crabs have similar bristles that expand the surface area of its paddles as it swims, but P. decorahensis’ smaller bristles suggest they may have been sensory in nature, the researchers said.

The Iowa Geological Survey discovered the fossils during a mapping project of the Upper Iowa River. Researchers subsequently found at least 20 P. decorahensis individuals, and had to dam the river to safely remove the specimens.

Credit: Iowa Geological Survey

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Workers with the Iowa Geological Survey uncovered the fossils in the Upper Iowa River during a mapping survey.

The fossils were found at the bottom of a meteorite impact crater, a scar left from when Earth was battered about 470 million years ago, Lamsdell said. The so-called Ordovician meteor event left a “series of pockmarks” across the United States, and predated the newfound eurypterid fossils by several million years, he added.

Researchers found more than 150 fossil fragments from the site — an 88.5-foot-thick (27 m) formation in northeastern Iowa known as Winneshiek Shale. The fossils are also well preserved, and can be peeled off the rock and studied under a microscope.

“It really looks like an animal that has just shed its skin,” Lamsdell said. “I’ve never seen anything like this before.”

The new study is “exciting material,” said Roy Plotnick, a professor of paleontology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who was not involved in the study.

“To find something as well preserved as this is pretty exciting, especially given that it’s old and yet has features of more advanced forms,” Plotnick said. “That tells us that somewhere in even older rocks should be even more ancestral forms to find.”

STEPS TO FOLLOW WHILE GETTING YOUR PET A PET INSURANCE

steps-to-follow-while-getting-your-pet-a-pet-insuranceWe get a knock out of the chance to know the nuts and bolts of pet protection since it is imperative. However, how about we return to the fundamental purpose of this article? How does pet protection work? It is truly basic, and it can be separated into three stages.

Step 1 – Get Proper Treatment From The Vet

In the case of something happens, and your pet needs therapeutic consideration, take them to the vet.

Step 2 – File a Claim

Every organization has its own procedure for recording claims, yet ordinarily, you can download the case structure from the organization’s site, round it out, and attach the receipts while sending it to the vet office.

Step 3 – Get Reimbursed

Most pet protection arranges have diverse levels of repayment that you can look over, contingent upon the sum you are willing to spend every month. When you present your case, the insurance agency will repay you in five to 14 business days.

It is not a muddled procedure, but rather you ought to ensure you pick an insurance agency that will truly deal with you and your pet.

Things to ask About Pet Insurance

As you are searching for pet protection, there are a few inquiries you ought to request that ensure you discover an organization that addresses your issues.

Will you utilize your present vet?

Great pet insurance agencies do permit you to utilize any authorized vet in the United States, and some will even cover visits in Canada. That way, in case you are going with your pet, and something happens, you can, in any case, record a case.

Do insurance agencies repay what the vet charges?

Yes. There are not any profit cut-off points or additional expenses, however, the repayment sum relies on upon the level you looked over the starting. Commonly, you can pick repayment measures of 80%, 90%, and even 100%, yet these levels will influence your month to month premium.

Do you need to pay additional for inherited, intrinsic, or endless conditions to be secured?

Usually, the response to this is no. If it’s not, then you ought to investigate other pet insurance agencies.

Are prior conditions secured?

Similarly, as with most insurance agencies, prior conditions are not secured. You may run over the uncommon insurance agency that will cover previous conditions.

Does the approach of routine check up considerate?

Here’s the place you must be cautious: some insurance agencies will cover routine consideration, yet they won’t cover much for real episodes, for example, surgery. The best pet insurance agencies do not cover routine consideration since they are intended to cover the costly care alternatives.

Pepper Spray to get rid of attackers

Pepper spray is a kind of self defense product. Pepper spray was originally invented by a mailman who has to deal with unfriendly dogs during his work. Pepper spray is a chemical compounds that is used for self defense against attackers and animals. The attackers are generally drug abusersScience Articles, drunkers and rapists. The effect of pepper spray differs from man to man based on their tolerance capacity. It causes irritability to eyes in the form of tears and pain. The composition of spray includes oleoresin capsicum and OC gas. It is a powerful weapon for self defense for man and woman both. Now a days the policemen also uses this spray on their duty. Pepper sprays are very easy to use. The attacker is on the ground after three minutes if you use pepper say. Pepper spray is very easy to acquire also because you do not need any registration for that.

The effects of pepper spray are very serious that includes: Temporary blindness which can remain for twenty to thirty minutes.

Immediate closing of eyes.

Difficulty in breathing that can last for three to ten minutes.

Difficulty in speaking.

Uncontrolled cough.

Runny nose.

Burning sensation of skin.

Pepper spray are very small in size and can be kept in pocket. Thus you are assured about your safety because it is always near to you. They can be concealed in rings. In this type of pepper spray the ring is filled with an alkaloid powders. It can be used from a distance of about two feet. the only thing you needed is to just press a button. Pepper projectile is also available which can be fired using a paintball gun. Now a days triple action pepper spray is also available whose composition includes tear gas with OC gases and oleoresin capsicum. Pepper sprays are provided with canisters so that if the powder in the weapon gets finished you can refill it. You just need to remove the old canister and fill it with the new one.

If you are buying a pepper spray you need to keep in mind that the amount of pepper should be eight percent and a minimum of two million SHV( Scoville Heat Units).It is the highest intensity of pepper permitted legally. If the pepper content is less than this than spray is of lower quality. The pepper spray is not so expensive so any person who is conscious about his safety can use pepper spray.

Why owning a pet makes you happier and more likely to live longer

Owning a lively pet may sometimes prove exasperating, but it appears all the effort is worth it.

Pet owners are healthier, have greater self-esteem and are less lonely than those who don’t have animals at home, according to a study.

Not only that, but they are also more conscientious, extroverted and less fearful, researchers at the American Psychological Association said

Man’s best friend: Owning a pet brings with it many benefits including improved health, greater self-esteem and less loneliness, according to scientists

They believe that pets serve as important sources of social and emotional support for the average person, and not just individuals facing significant health challenges.

Lead researcher, Allen R McConnell, of Miami University in Ohio, said: ‘We observed evidence that pet owners fared better, both in terms of well-being outcomes and individual differences, than non-owners on several dimensions.

‘Specifically, pet owners had greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, tended to be less lonely, were more conscientious, were more extraverted, tended to be less fearful and tended to be less preoccupied than non-owners.’

Pet owners are just as close to key people in their lives as to their animals, the study found.

This indicates no evidence that relationships with pets come at the expense of relationships with other people, or that people relied more on pets when their human social support was poorer.

The scientists, from Miami University and Saint Louis University in Missouri, conducted three experiments to examine the potential benefits of pet ownership among what they called ‘everyday people’.

They questioned 217 people with an average age of 31 and family income of $77,000, 79 per cent of whom were women.

The group answered a survey aimed at determining whether pet owners differed from people without pets in terms of well-being and personality type.

Researchers now believe that pets serve as important sources of social and emotional support for the average person, and not just individuals facing significant health challenges

Several differences between the groups emerged – in all cases, pet owners were happier, healthier and better adjusted than were non-owners.

A second experiment involved 56 dog owners with an average age of 42 and family income of $65,000, 91 per cent of whom were women.

This group were questioned about whether they benefit more when their pet is perceived to fulfill their social needs better.

The researchers here found greater well-being among owners whose dogs increased their feelings of belonging, self-esteem and meaningful existence.

The last group, made up of 97 undergraduates with an average age of 19, found that pets can make people feel better after experiencing rejection.

Subjects were asked to write about a time when they felt excluded. Then they were asked to write about their favourite pet, or to write about their favourite friend, or to draw a map of their campus.

The researchers found that writing about pets was just as effective as writing about a friend when it came to staving off feelings of rejection.

‘The present work presents considerable evidence that pets benefit the lives of their owners, both psychologically and physically, by serving as an important source of social support,’ the researchers wrote.

‘Whereas past work has focused primarily on pet owners facing significant health challenges…the present study establishes that there are many positive consequences for everyday people who own pets.’

The study is published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology