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Embryonic turtles communicate to coordinate when they hatch
Murray River turtles communicate with their siblings while they are still in their shells, buried under the soil, in order to coordinate when they hatch.
Achieving this synchronicity isn’t easy. Although the eggs are always laid at the same time in the same nest, those at the top of the nest near the sun-drenched soil develop much faster than those buried deeper in the cooler soil. However, Murray River turtles are able to tell whether their fellow hatchlings are more or less advanced and adapt their pace of development accordingly, allowing the slow-coaches to play catch-up. […]
The team concluded that the embryos must be able to communicate with each other while they are still in their shells, but it’s not clear how. They suggest that it could be down to changes in the nest that trigger certain hormones that change the turtles’ metabolism. Embryos produce more thyroid hormone when oxygen levels fall. The fast-developing embryos could use up the oxygen levels around the next and emit more carbon dioxide. The reduction in oxygen could cause the slower developers to produce more thyroid hormone and therefore grow faster.
I’m inspired. When’s the last time you put that much effort into cooperating with your siblings?
The Stages of Schizophrenia
A 20th-century artist, Louis Wain, who was fascinated by cats, painted these pictures over a period of time in which he developed schizophrenia. The pictures mark progressive stages in the illness and exemplify what it does to the victim’s perception
The bald uakari (Cacajao calvus) is a small, arboreal New World monkey native to a small, broken range in Brazil and Peru in seasonally flooded forests of the Amazon River Basin. They eat nuts and hard, unripe fruit that other primates are unable to access thanks to their powerful jaws. 67% of their diet consists of these seeds and nuts, followed by fruit and flowers, with occasional animal prey (5%). They are also known to take insects that they encounter, but they don’t actively seek them as a food source.
Their distinctive red faces are due to both a lack of pigmentation and the presence of many capillaries beneath the surface of the skin. Sickly uakaris are therefore dramatically more pale, signaling potential mates to what could be poor genetics. The breeding period is between October and May, and females attract males with scent that signals her readiness to mate.
The IUCN lists the bald uakari as Vulnerable due to habitat loss and hunting. Due to their specific habitat needs and limited range, deforestation is particularly damaging.