DNA pulled from thin air identifies nearby animals | Science

Some animal rescues warn pet surrenders are rising as pre-pandemic life returns

For Amanda McClughan, it feels like the phone at Saving Grace Animal Society never stops ringing. 

Though the rush on puppy adoptions during the pandemic has slowed, the animal rescue in the small village of Alix, Alta., still gets lots of calls from people hoping to adopt animals they have in their care.

But in recent weeks, there’s been an increasing number of queries to see if their facility can take in cats and dogs that owners can’t care for anymore.

Amanda McClughan, development director with Saving Grace Animal Society, says the central Alberta shelter is fielding an increasing number of queries about taking in cats and dogs that owners can’t care for anymore. (Kory Siegers/CBC)

Pandemic may be a factor in surrenders

McClughan, the society’s development director, said it’s not that people have tired of their pandemic puppies and are returning them, but she says it does seem like

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Snake photos: Pythons swallow crocodiles and other animals … whole

Deer, crocodiles and even a human are just some of the odd meals engulfed by pythons. How do they gorge on such giant fare? Python snakes don’t dislocate their jaws (a common myth), but instead rely on the springiness of the tissues connecting their jawbones. 

Unlike in mammals, python snakes have a lower jawbone that is split into two parts that move independently of each other; and they are not connected by a bone in the front. In addition, the so-called quadrate bone that attaches the lower jaw to the skull is not rigidly attached in snakes, giving a python lots of wiggle room for devouring enormous prey.

“The two mandibles are not joined at the front by a rigid symphysis, as ours are, but by an elastic ligament that allows them to spread apart,” Patrick Gregory, a biology professor at the University of Victoria in Australia, told Live

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Sponge-like fossil could be Earth’s earliest known animal

A black horny sponge (Scalarispongia scalaris) growing off the coast of France. Some types of horny sponge are today harvested for bath sponges.Credit: Biosphoto/Alamy

Most major groups of animals — including arthropods, molluscs and worms — first appear in the fossil record during the Cambrian explosion, 541 million years ago. But according to a paper published today in Nature1, sponge fossils from northwestern Canada could be 350 million years older, significantly pushing back the date of Earth’s earliest-known animals.

The ancient discovery is igniting debate among palaeontologists, who have long contested when complex animal life first evolved.

“If I’m right, animals emerged long, long before the first appearance of traditional animal fossils,” says study author Elizabeth Turner, a sedimentary geologist at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Canada. “That would mean there’s a deep back history of animals that just didn’t get preserved very well.”

Weird and

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890-million-year-old sponges may be oldest animal fossils

Recently discovered fossils belonging to ancient sponges might be the earliest known remnants of an animal body and pre-date other sponge fossils by 350 million years.

Elizabeth Turner, a professor of paleontology and sedimentary geology at Laurentian University in Ontario, discovered what she believes are possibly the fossilized structures of sponges that once existed in reefs millions of years ago. They were found in rock samples in northwestern Canada.

Little is known about the earliest days of animal life’s emergence on Earth because the fossil record is sparse. While scientists have used genetic evidence to suggest that sponges first appeared between 541 million and 1,000 million years ago during the early Neoproterozoic era, the lack of fossilized sponges has created a knowledge gap. Turner’s discovery may help fill that gap and provide a glimpse into the earliest marine animal life on Earth.

“I serendipitously came across a few very rare

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Pet owners scramble to protect animals from scorching summer heat

Pet owners in the country appear to be doing everything they can to keep their animals cool in the sweltering summer weather.

Temperatures have climbed to the high 30s in many regions, putting dogs and cats, in particular, at risk of danger if they are left alone at home.

A 29-year-old office worker who lives in Yongsan, central Seoul, said he bought a marble mat and a cooling pillow for his two dogs. He also put ice packs under the sofa and in other parts of the house where the dogs like to be.

“When I come home, I always see one of them sleeping on the marble mat, which makes me happy,” the person surnamed Jeong said. “I also put out both water and iced water for them to drink.”

Others said they leave the air conditioning on when they go to work.

“It’s so hot that it feels

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Child death reported; diseased animals found

Health officials in Colorado on Thursday urged residents to be cautious around local wildlife after lab reports confirmed the presence of plague in animals and fleas from six counties.

The warning comes after a 10-year-old resident recently died from complications of the disease, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The state’s last plague-related death was in 2015, the Denver Post reports

“We are so sad for the loss of this young Coloradan and our deepest condolences go to the family,” Dr. Jennifer House, of the health department, said of the child’s death in early July.  “Public Health is doing an epidemiological investigation and wants Coloradans to know that while this disease is very rare, it does occur sometimes, and to seek medical care if you have symptoms.”

Plague is a broad disease that spreads through a variety of animals, including rodents, flies and humans. The

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10,000 Amazon Plants, Animals Could Disappear Forever, Scientists Say

A new report says that more than 10,000 kinds of living things could disappear forever because of the Amazon rainforest’s destruction.

The rainforest surrounding South America’s Amazon River is the world’s largest. The report said 35 percent of the rainforest has been destroyed or damaged.

The report is by the Science Panel for the Amazon. The project brought together 200 international scientists through the United Nations Sustainable Development Network. It is a detailed study of the Amazon rainforest and its importance to the world’s climate.

Reducing deforestation and forest destruction to zero in less than 10 years “is critical,” the report said. The scientists also called for replanting trees that were destroyed.

The rainforest stores large amounts of carbon and is extremely important in fighting climate change. The report said that the plants and soil of the Amazon hold 200 billion metric tons of carbon. That is 400 percent

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‘They had a date to kill the cow. So I stole her’: how vegan activists are saving Spain’s farm animals | Animal welfare

In the north-east Spanish region of Catalonia, an enormous bull called Pedro is poking his head over a barn door to look at some sheep. He’ll stay there for two hours if the sanctuary volunteers let him; he’ll have to be tempted away with treats so that the sheep can be let out to graze. Pedro knows the routine; he’s been here since he was a calf, when he was bottle-fed by volunteers. He lives a charmed life – he is fed, he roams, he watches sheep, he sleeps; and when he dies, it will be of natural causes.

“He’s enormous!” I say to Olivia Gómez de Zamora, a veterinary assistant from Madrid who spends a lot of time coaxing Pedro from the barn.

Pedro the bull with Olivia Gómez de Zamora. Photograph: Ana Palacios

Gómez de Zamora tells me this type of cattle is bred for its milk.

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Family sues Lowcountry animal exhibit after sloth bites child

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – A Lowcountry family is suing a private, Charleston-area animal exhibit after an animal allegedly bit their child’s finger to the bone in June 2020.

The lawsuit alleges the plaintiffs, Candise Gore and her child, paid a fee to Charleston Sloth and Exotics, LLC—the successor to Charleston Anteaters and Exotics—in exchange for “viewing, petting, feeding and interacting with the animals.

The lawsuit claims the plaintiffs were not given any instructions on how to handle or feed the animals, nor were they warned the animals would bite. The lawsuit states “suddenly and without warning, the sloth bit the [child’s] finger cutting through the skin and reaching the bone, causing immense pain and discomfort.”

The plaintiffs are seeking an undetermined amount of money for the injury.

The owners of Charleston Sloth and Exotics, Heather and Henry Galvin, are both listed in the lawsuit.

Heather Galvin said the sloth did

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