Is there a limit to how big animals can grow?

Is there a limit to how big animals can grow?

Joshua A. Krish poses this question in his article in Live Science (March 2023) and he says that there is a limit – animals can’t grow indefinitely.

The largest land animal is the African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) which is a mammal that reaches 250 centimetres (8 feet 4 inches) tall and 750 centimetres (25 feet) long, weighing about 6 metric tons (7 tons). It is not a meat-eating carnivore. It is an herbivore and eats grass, trees, bushes, fruit, and bark.

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The importance of rivers

Scientists have found that freshwater rivers are good for people, animals, and countries. As part of the New Scientist ‘Save Britain’s Rivers’ campaign, scientists have provided interesting information about the usefulness of rivers.

The regions that have the most river systems are (in order): Asia (31% of the world’s rivers), South America (28%), North America (18%), Oceania (15%), Sub-Saharan Africa (9%), Europe (7%), Australia (1%), and Middle East and North Africa (0.3%). It seems as though there is a lot of river water in the world, but only about 1% of all the land on the planet has fresh river water.

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World Wetlands Day: wetland animals

World Wetlands Day is celebrated on 2 February annually. With 35% of the world’s wetlands having disappeared in the last 50 years, and nearly 90% degraded since the 1700s, the theme for the 2023 World Wetlands Day is Wetland Restoration – ‘revive and restore degraded wetlands.’ Wetlands are important  ecosystems that contribute to biodiversity, climate mitigation and adaptation, and freshwater availability.

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Supersynchrony in Banded Mongoose females

Banded Mongoose females have a unique system of supersynchrony when they have their babies – they all give birth on the same night.

The Banded Mongoose (Mungos mungo) is a small carnivorous mammal found in central and eastern Africa – and one of 25 African species of mongoose. It is related to the Meerkat.

Most mongooses are solitary, but the Banded Mongoose lives in a colony of about 20 individuals, and up to 55 individuals. The colony lives underground in burrows, called dens.

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Pygmy hippo born at Metro Richmond Zoo in December 2022

The Metro Richmond Zoo in Virginia, America, is celebrating the birth of a baby Pygmy Hippo. 

Born on 6 December 2022, the Pygmy Hippopotamus does not yet have a name. Its parents are Iris and Corwin. Iris was pregnant for 7 months before giving birth to her daughter. 

She weighed 7 kilograms (16 pounds) and is growing rapidly. After a week, she was already 11 kilograms (24 pounds). When she is an adult, she will weigh up to 272 kilograms (600 pounds).

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Evolution of the Scorpion, from ocean to land

Fossils in Scotland revealed information about the evolution of the Scorpion, an invertebrate arthropod arachnid – and how it left the ocean to live on land.

Most arthropods (insects, centipedes, and crustaceans, such as crabs) currently living on land are small. From the Scorpion fossils found in a rock quarry near Edinburgh in Scotland in 1984, scientists (palaeontologists) found large specimens, said Ian Rolfe from the Royal Museum of Scotland. 

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How does an Australian bird eat a poisonous Cane Toad?

How does an Australian bird eat a poisonous Cane Toad?

In Australia, the poisonous Cane Toad (Bufo marinus) is not native to the country. It is an introduced, invasive pest living in tropical northern Australia that has rapidly spread due to the lack of predators. Animals that eat the warty amphibian die from the toxic secretions from large glands on the Cane Toad’s shoulder. The cardiac toxins can give all predators, such as snakes, goanna lizards, and even freshwater crocodiles, a deadly heart attack.

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