Page 6 - Animal Facts

Scientists have proven that dolphins communicate using intelligent language. Find out more!

A scientist named Lawrence Doyle decided to apply information theory to language. To do this he created a chain of completely random words and then plotted the frequency that any particular word shows up, on a graph.

It resulted in a graph showing a zero degree horizontal line. In other words, any one word has the exact same likelihood as any other word of showing up in a random chain. Intelligent language that conveys knowledge is different.

We use some words much more often than others, for example, 'the,' 'to,' and 'and.' Some words like 'oblique' and 'intercept' are uncommon. If you plot intelligent human language by the frequency of words used, a 45 degree slope emerges because the common words will show up more often on the graph and the unusual words less often.

This slope will show up when you test any human language, even if you don't recognize a certain language as even being a language. The slope will determine if it's random noise or an intelligent language.

Doyle decided to test dolphin sounds using this method of information theory. They graphed each distinct basic unit of dolphin squeaks and found it resulted in a perfect 45 degree slope. This proves that, even though we have absolutely no way of telling what dolphins are saying, we now know for sure that they use an intelligent language to communicate, not just random squeaks.


Sea otters have a skin pouch to store their favorite rocks. Where is it located?

Sea otters are just the most adorable. With their fur and their flippers and their swimming in the kelp forests, they're just like little stuffed animals. And to make them even cuter, they collect their favorite rocks.

Under each forearm, the sea otter has baggy folds of skin. The otters store food in these folds. They also store their favorite rocks. They use these rocks to break open mollusks and clams for food. Otters can crack open sea urchins and crabs with just their teeth.

The adult sea otter is the smallest marine mammal and it is an endangered species. Sea otters are also the only marine mammal that does not have a layer of blubber to keep it warm. Instead, their thick fur insulates them and keeps their body around 100 degrees.


Crows are considered the fifth smartest non-human animal on the planet. What are the first four?

In the contest for the title of smartest animal on the planet, Chimps received first place. Their intellectual abilities have astounded the human race for quite some time. They can solve advanced problems, learn sign language and use it to communicate with humans. They outperform humans in number memory tests and can be taught to use a computer to solve numerical problems.

Coming in at second place are dolphins. They have a sophisticated language and can respond to behavioral commands. They were used as informants to carry messages during wars. Their cerebral cortex and frontal lobe are 40% bigger than humans.

In third place there is the orangutan. They are just behind humans as far as being gifted with an intellectual brain goes. They have a strong culture and a system of communication. They are handy with tools, but it is their strong social bonds that contribute to their advanced cognitive skills.

Elephants are fourth because of their exceptional memories. They also clean their food before eating and are empathetic, mourning the death of family members. They can remember exact locations of watering holes.

Finally, 5th place goes to crows. They are opportunists who gather nuts and then place them on roads for passing cars to crack. They will then wait for the traffic light to change before safely collecting their snacks. They use specific dialects to communicate and deliberately play tricks on one another.


Some awesome lists!

This lobster is half male, half female. But for typical lobsters, urine plays a huge role in lobster mating. Find out more

It is not easy to fathom the complex, conflict-driven world of lobsters, but let us begin by looking at what it takes for a male lobster to 'score'. A male lobster usually has to establish himself as the 'main man' or alpha male in his territory by becoming the local boxing champion.

This process is something like a mobster action movie. Every night, he goes out and beats up all the other lobsters in the area and kicks them all out of their homes - just as a reminder of who's in charge. Lobsters have urine-release nozzles right under their eyes, and they squirt urine at each other's faces when fighting. The urine carries messages. It relays to other lobsters how aggressive or belligerent or dominant a lobster is.

The problem is that the alpha male is so belligerent that he's never in a mood for romance and the females, who find him extremely attractive, have to work rather hard to convince him that he is 'into' them. How do they do this? They urinate! They go to the dominant male's shelter entrance and squirt pheromone-laced urine into his lair during each visit.

This relaxes him and he starts to swoon a little bit. Then they do the little rituals, dance around a bit and get down to business.


Wolverines in Michigan hadn't been seen in over 200 Years...until now.

Last sighted by fur traders in the late 1700s, the Michigan wolverine has made its appearance in the state once again—and not just as athletes at the University of Michigan.

The small but vicious member of the weasel family was spotted by coyote hunters 90 miles north of Detroit. While present-day sightings have been limited to northern Canada, Idaho, and Alaska, the Michigan sighting, confirmed by a wildlife biologist, marks the first in the state in over 200 years.

The appearance of the wolverine is unprecedented, and experts conclude that the animal may have traveled into Michigan, been released into the wild, or escaped captivity. The wolverine, also called carcajou and skunk bears, is the largest species in the family of weasels and more closely resembles a bear.

Though small and weighing up to 25 pounds, the wolverine has powerful jaws, thick claws, and a strength beyond its size. Wolverines have been known to ferociously attack prey larger than itself, including deer, caribou, and porcupines.

The wolverine was removed from Michigan's endangered species list in the late 1990s under the assumption that the animal wouldn't return to the state. In 2009, The Wildlife Conservation Society reported that researchers had tagged a young wolverine in Wyoming and tracked it for three months and over 500 miles while it crossed into Northern Colorado.

The world's wolverine population remains unknown.



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