Hawaiian Crows Are Smarter Than We Thought!
As a general rule, animals do not use tools. Tho small owls have been known to use the odd umbrella.
However, a few select species do use tools to achieve specific tasks, like foraging for food or protecting themselves. For example, otters carry a small stone with them to open hard-shelled food such as mollusks and crustaceans. Chimps famously use sticks to fish ants out of ant-hills and empty tree branches. Woodpecker finches actually use a very similar approach, holding small sticks with their beaks and using them to pick at small pray under the bark of trees.
Recently, Hawaiian crows have also been added to the glamorous shortlist of animals who can use tools! Much like chimps and woodpecker finches, Hawaiian crows use sticks to get small morsels of food trapped into hard-to-reach places.
The presidential election in the US is fast approaching and while most of us are focussing on the new potential candidates, scientists from the University of Alabama have President Obama on their minds. They have identified a new species of parasite, specifically a flatworm that infects the blood stream of turtles in Malaysia and they have chosen to honour president Barak Obama when naming it. They new little fellow is now known as Baracktrema obamai. Is it a compliment or a slight? There’s no sure-fire way of knowing.
More steps forward in the fight against Zika
We have been keeping tabs on the ongoing fight against Zika. Scientists from the University of Washington have discovered that Zika virus can infect several parts of the eye, including the retina, where it results in the death of neurons that are responsible for the sense of vision. These infections can easily be detected as Zika virus can be measured in lacrimal fluid, ie in tears.
Written by: Gaia Cantelli