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Which animals have the longest arms?

A pale-throated sloth (Bradypus tridactylus) hangs out in a tree. (Image credit: Alberto Carrera via Getty Images)

Which animals have the longest arms? 

Based on size alone, humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) would easily crush all other competition with their massive flippers, which evolved from the arms of their terrestrial mammalian ancestors and can measure up to 16 feet (4.9 meters) long. 

But when it comes to relative size, two types of mammals take the cake among non-flying animals. A cursory search might point toward gibbons, a family of branch-swinging apes that live in the canopies of forests across southeast Asia, as having the longest arms relative to body size. However, a few species of three-toed sloths actually rank first, according to Mary Ellen Holden, a zoologist and mammalogist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

Related: What animal has the largest ears?

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Scientists vacuumed animal DNA out of thin air for the first time

On a dreary winter day in December of 2020, ecologist Elizabeth Clare strolled through the Hamerton Zoo Park in England wielding a small vacuum pump. She paused outside of animal enclosures, holding aloft a flexible tube attached to the machine. Her mission: suck animal DNA out of thin air.

The ability to sniff out animals’ airborne genetic material has been on scientists’ wish list for over a decade. DNA collected from water has been used to track aquatic species, including salmon and sharks (SN: 5/7/18). Scientists knew they could use environmental DNA, or eDNA, in the air to monitor land-based species — if only they could trap it. Now, researchers have done just that by using vacuums, two independent groups report January 6 in Current Biology.

“It’s such a crazy idea,” says Clare, of York University in Toronto. “We’re vacuuming DNA out of the sky.”

The idea came

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61 animals rescued from ‘deplorable conditions’ at Yuba County home | News

Courtesy Yuba County Sheriff’s Office

OLIVEHURST, Calif. – Deputies in Yuba County rescued dozens of animals from a home in Olivehurst. They also found a dead horse at the property.

Yuba County investigators served the search warrant on Thursday at a home in the 1600 block of 2nd Avenue in Olivehurst.

They found dozens of animals living in what they call ‘deplorable conditions.’

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Seeds travel in animal poop, but animals are disappearing : NPR

Fruit-eating animals spread the seeds of plants in ecosystems around the world. Their decline means plants could have a harder time finding new habitats as the climate changes.

Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/DPA/AFP via Getty Images

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Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/DPA/AFP via Getty Images

Fruit-eating animals spread the seeds of plants in ecosystems around the world. Their decline means plants could have a harder time finding new habitats as the climate changes.

Karl-Josef Hildenbrand/DPA/AFP via Getty Images

Evan Fricke knows exactly how long it takes, after a bird on the island of Saipan eats a piece of fruit, for it to come out the other end (Answer: as little as 10 minutes).

“There’s always this poop angle to my research,” says Fricke, an ecologist with Rice University. “PhD in bird poop basically.”

Poop – or more specifically the digestion time of animals – is crucial to the survival of plants around the

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New study on animals suggests omicron does not cause as much damage to lungs

A new study released this week suggested that the COVID-19 omicron variant has less of an impact on lungs when compared to previous strains.

The study, conducted by both U.S. and Japanese scientists and published by In Review, observed omicron’s effect on hamsters and mice. Researchers observed “less infection” in the bronchial cells of hamsters when compared to infections caused by the delta variant.

They also found a smaller amount of the virus in the noses of the more than 100 mice that were involved in the study. Researchers noted that the lower amount of the virus was “unexpected” given the high degree of mutations that omicron has compared to previous strains.

“Moreover, the attenuation in hamsters also was surprising, given that all prior SARS-CoV-2 variants have replicated relatively equivalently and to high levels in this animal,” the researchers wrote.

Despite the unexpected results, researchers acknowledged that their findings

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Edmonton suspends intake of healthy animals at care and control centre, asking residents to care for lost or stray pets during extreme cold

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Edmonton’s Animal Care and Control Centre has suddenly suspended the intake of healthy animals until further notice and is asking residents to care for lost or stray pets in the interim.

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But animal rescues and residents are raising the alarm over the surprise change, concerned about the onus now being placed on them to take care of these animals rather than the city service Edmontonians pay for.

The City of Edmonton announced the immediate, temporary suspension on social media Saturday afternoon as extreme cold temperatures are expected to continue to bear down on the city over the next week.

The temporary change is a result of staffing and capacity challenges, the city said, noting the shift would allow the centre to focus on the animals already being cared for at the northwest Edmonton facility.

Instead of bringing lost or stray dogs and cats into the centre,

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Animals save family during attempted burglary at Cape Coral home

CAPE CORAL, Fla. — A Cape Coral family woke up to a New Year’s Eve nightmare. 

They were seconds away from their home being broken into. It happened in Southwest Cape Coral, around the area of 20th Avenue between 29th Street and 31st Street.

“He heard the sliding glass door open, we assumed it was one of the animals trying to sneak out,” said Lauren Schaech.

Luckily, Schaech’s animals were there to save the day. Her two dogs started barking, what she said was a different kind of bark. 

“The world’s smallest dogs, their names are Tink and Tank,” said Schaech.

Her cat also got into the action, by having a stare off with the person.

“That’s our wimpiest cat so I’m honestly shocked,” said Schaech. “We live in a zoo but the zoo saved us.”

The person trying to get inside ran off.

“He was clearly going to sneak

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Rescued animals at Pasado’s sanctuary face food shortages

Workers at Pasado’s Safe Haven in western Washington say food costs could double in the coming months because of the shortages.

SULTAN, Wash — The barn is growing bare at Pasado’s Safe Haven Animal Sanctuary. 

Word of a looming hay shortage has volunteers concerned about their ability to feed their 200 animals and keep them warm.

As workers feed treats to alpacas and donkeys they worry about having enough of the basics to go around.

There are industry warnings that hay, a staple in the diet of many farm animals, will soon be in short supply.

“We’ve heard that the cost could double,” said Stephanie Perciful, sanctuary director. “We’ve also heard that it could stay the same but you won’t be able to get it.”

“That’s not something we can have a substitute for. We have to have hay,” added Ashley Wisdom, senior animal care manager. “It’s vital for them.”

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What happened to animals rescued in Northern California fires in 2021

Three bear cubs, a bobcat and a pig rescued from Northern California fires in 2021 went safely home or will soon be released.

In October, the Redding Record Searchlight published stories about animals who were victims of the state’s raging wildfires, including the 1,500-square-mile Dixie Fire.

They and other animals were rescued by wildlife experts and caring neighbors. Injured wildlife received medical attention, then bunked at animal refuges where volunteers fed them and helped them keep their specialized skills and wild ways.

As 2021 wrapped up, we circled back with people who care for five of the animals we featured to see how they were doing.

Three little bears still need care

Three orphaned bear cubs are slowing down a bit and eating more as the weather turns cold, said Sallysue Stein, director and volunteer at Gold Country Wildlife Rescue in Auburn. They probably won’t hibernate until next year, after

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Omicron Doesn’t Infect the Lungs Very Well, Animal Studies Find

A spate of new studies on lab animals and human tissues are providing the first indication of why the Omicron variant causes milder disease than previous versions of the coronavirus.

In studies on mice and hamsters, Omicron produced less damaging infections, often limited largely to the upper airway: the nose, throat and windpipe. The variant did much less harm to the lungs, where previous variants would often cause scarring and serious breathing difficulty.

“It’s fair to say that the idea of a disease that manifests itself primarily in the upper respiratory system is emerging,” said Roland Eils, a computational biologist at the Berlin Institute of Health, who has studied how coronaviruses infect the airway.

In November, when the first report on the Omicron variant came out of South Africa, scientists could only guess at how it might behave differently from earlier forms of the virus. All they knew was that

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