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NEW ORLEANS (AP) – A painting by a 37-year-old Louisiana primate who applies color with his tongue instead of a brush has been deemed the finest chimpanzee art in the land.
Brent, a retired laboratory animal, was the top vote-getter in an online chimp art contest organized by the Humane Society of the United States, which announced the results Thursday. He won $10,000 for the Chimp Haven sanctuary in northwest Louisiana.
A Chimp Haven spokeswoman said Brent was unavailable for comment Thursday. “I think he’s asleep,” Ashley Gordon said.
But as the society said on its website, “The votes are in, so let the pant hooting begin!” – pant hooting being the characteristic call of an excited chimp.
Five other sanctuaries around the country competed, using paintings created during “enrichment sessions,” which can include any of a wide variety of activities and playthings.
Chimpanzee researcher Jane Goodall chose her favorite from photographs she was sent. That painting, by Cheetah, a male at Save the Chimps in Fort Pierce, Fla., won $5,000 as Goodall’s choice and another $5,000 for winning second place in online voting, Humane Society spokeswoman Nicole Ianni said.
Ripley from the Center for Great Apes in Wauchula, Fla., won third place and $2,500.
More than 27,000 people voted, Ianni said in a news release. The organization is not giving vote totals “to keep the focus on the positive work of the sanctuaries and not necessarily the ‘winner,'” she said in an email. The sanctuaries care for chimpanzees retired from research, entertainment and the pet trade. Chimp Haven is the national sanctuary for those retired from federal research.
Other submitted paintings were by Jamie, a female at Chimpanzee Sanctuary Northwest in Cle Elum, Wash.; Jenny, a female at Primate Rescue Center in Nicholasville, Ky.; and Patti, a female at Chimps Inc. in Bend, Ore.
A profile of Brent on the Humane Society’s website says he has lived at Chimp Haven since 2006, is protective of an even older chimp at the sanctuary and “loves to laugh and play.” It continues, “Brent paints only with his tongue. His unique approach and style, while a little unorthodox, results in beautiful pieces of art.”
Cathy Willis Spraetz, Chimp Haven’s president and CEO, said she chose a painting by Brent partly because of that unusual method. She said she later held a canvas up to the mesh of his indoor cage so she could watch him at work.
Some other chimps use brushes or point to the colors they want on the canvas, but Brent comes up to smush pre-applied blobs of child-safe tempera paints with his tongue, she said.
“If we handed the canvas to them where it was on the inside, they might not want to hand it back,” she said. “They might throw it around and step on it.”
A starved polar bear found found dead in Svalbard as “little more than skin and bones” perished due to a lack of sea ice on which to hunt seals, according to a reknowned polar bear expert.
Climate change has reduced sea ice in the Arctic to record lows in the last year and Dr Ian Stirling, who has studied the bears for almost 40 years and examined the animal, said the lack of ice forced the bear into ranging far and wide in an ultimately unsuccessful search for food.
“From his lying position in death, the bear appears to simply have starved and died where he dropped,” Stirling said. “He had no external suggestion of any remaining fat, having been reduced to little more than skin and bone.”
The bear had been examined by scientists from the Norwegian Polar Institute in April in the southern part of Svalbard, an Arctic island archipelago, and appeared healthy. The same bear had been captured in the same area in previous years, suggesting that the discovery of its body, 250km away in northern Svalbard in July, represented an unusual movement away from its normal range. The bear probably followed the fjords inland as it trekked north, meaning it may have walked double or treble that distance.
Polar bears feed almost exclusively on seals and need sea ice to capture their prey. But 2012 saw the lowest level of sea ice in the Arctic on record. Prond Robertson, at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, said: “The sea ice break up around Svalbard in 2013 was both fast and very early.” He said recent years had been poor for ice around the islands: “Warm water entered the western fjords in 2005-06 and since then has not shifted.”
Stirling, now at Polar Bears International and previously at the University of Alberta and the Canadian Wildlife Service, said: “Most of the fjords and inter-island channels in Svalbard did not freeze normally last winter and so many potential areas known to that bear for hunting seals in spring do not appear to have been as productive as in a normal winter. As a result, the bear likely went looking for food in another area but appears to have been unsuccessful.”
Research published in May showed that loss of sea ice was harming the health, breeding success and population size of the polar bears of Hudson Bay, Canada as they spent longer on land waiting for the sea to refreeze. Other work has shown polar bear weights are declining. In February, a panel of polar bear experts published a paper stating that rapid ice loss meant options such the feeding of starving bears by humans needed to be considered to protect the 20,000-25,000 animals thought to remain.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the world’s largest professional conservation network, states that of the 19 populations of polar bear around the Arctic, data is available for 12. Of those, eight are declining, three are stable and one is increasing.
The IUCN predicts that increasing ice loss will mean between one-third and a half of polar bears will be lost in the next three generations, about 45 years. But the US and Russian governments said in March that faster-than-expected ice losses could mean two-thirds are lost.
Attributing a single incident to climate change can be controversial, but Douglas Richardson, head of living collections at the Highland Wildlife Park near Kingussie, said: “It’s not just one bear though. There are an increasing number of bears in this condition: they are just not putting down enough fat to survive their summer fast. This particular polar bear is the latest bit of evidence of the impact of climate change.”
Ice loss due to climate change is “absolutely, categorically and without question” the cause of falling polar bear populations, said Richardson, who cares for the UK’s only publicly kept polar bears. He said 16 years was not particularly old for a wild male polar bear, which usually live into their early 20s. “There may have been some underlying disease, but I would be surprised if this was anything other than starvation,” he said. “Once polar bears reach adulthood they are normally nigh on indestructible, they are hard as nails.”
Jeff Flocken, at the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said: “While it is difficult to ascribe a single death or act to climate change it couldn’t be clearer that drastic and long-term changes in their Arctic habitat threaten the survival of the polar bear. The threat of habitat loss from climate change, exacerbated by unsustainable killing for commercial trade in Canada, could lead to the demise of one of the world’s most iconic animals, and this would be a true tragedy.”
Huge meat-eating dinosaurs that stalked a vast floodplain some 150 million years ago in what is now Portugal left behind traces of their progeny: eggshells.
Some of the eggshells, which belonged to two Jurassic-Era theropods, or a group of carnivorous dinosaurs, once harbored embryos of Torvosaurus, the largest predator of its day.
“It was the equivalent of the T. rex in the Cretaceous,” said study co-author Vasco Ribeiro, a paleontologist at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa in Portugal.
Ribeiro and his colleagues aren’t sure how the eggs came to be abandoned.
Because they are so delicate, dinosaur eggs are a relatively rare find. Paleontologists unearthed some of the most primitive Torovosaurus embryos ever found earlier this year, and there have been occasional dinosaur nursery finds, including a clutch of hundreds of dinosaur egg fragments found in Spain. [Image Gallery: Dinosaur Daycare]
Ribeiro and his colleagues found the eggshell fragments at two separate sites, both of which were part of the Lourinhã Formation, a geological formation known for its rich Jurassic dinosaur nest sites. During that time period, the area was a floodplain that cycled through dry seasons and monsoon rains.
The eggshells were shattered and there was no trace of the dinosaur embryos that once coiled inside. But by analyzing the size, shape and texture of the eggshells, the team was able to deduce which animals left those eggs so long ago.
The shells found at one site came from spherical eggs that were about 6 inches (15 centimeters) in diameter. They likely belonged to a Torvosaurus, a massive, bipedal dinosaur that grew up to 36 feet (11 meters) tall.
The eggs at the other site were harder to identify. But the researchers believe the eggs may have contained embryos of Lourinhanosaurus antunesi, a theropod that was about 15 feet (4.5 m) long when full-grown. When intact, the eggs from that site would have been about 5 inches (13 cm) along the long axis and 3.5 inches (9 cm) along the short axis.
Neglected or protected?
The researchers don’t know exactly how the eggs came to be abandoned.
One possibility is that the ancient carnivores laid many eggs and simply left those eggs to their own fates. Other researchers argue that these dinosaurs, like crocodiles, were attentive parents during embryonic development, guarding their clutches from predators.
Either way, once the hatchlings emerged, they were probably on their own, Ribeiro said.
“We have no evidence that mother dinosaur took food to the nest or protected the nest,” Ribeiro told LiveScience.
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If you weren’t pleased with the lack of blood and gore in Brad Pitt’s PG-13 rated zombie film “World War Z,” there’s good news.
Paramount is releasing an unrated version of the film.
Despite that, the film ended up doing well at theaters earning $474 million worldwide.
It’s unclear whether the original ending — or more blood — will make an appearance in the special edition; however, a featurette called “Camouflage” about the film’s production and final scenes with Pitt make us hopeful.
Below are the features of the unrated version via Entertainment Weekly.
“World War Z” hits stores September 17.
The filmmakers discuss collaborating with renowned actor/producer Brad Pitt to create a zombie film the likes of which have never been seen.
Looking to Science
Explore the scientific realities of zombie behavior in nature and learn more about zombies in literature and film.
Go on set with Brad Pitt and director Marc Forster for a behind-the-scenes look at the film’s breathtaking first attack in Philadelphia.
The Journey Begins
Delve deeper into Gerry’s fight for survival during the dramatic escape in South Korea.
Behind the Wall
Explore the epic scene in Jerusalem and discover the incredible logistics of creating the elaborate stunts and crowd sequences.
Experience the final confrontation between Gerry and the zombies and discover the phenomenal scope of the film’s production.
By Matt Roper
Joao Maria de Souza, 45, had been in bed with his wife Leni when the animal fell through the ceiling of their home in Caratinga, southeast Brazil.
The cow is believed to have escaped from a nearby farm and climbed onto the roof of the couple’s house, which backs onto a steep hill on Wednesday night.
The corrugated roof immediately gave way and the one-and-a-half-ton animal fell eight feet onto Mr de Souza’s side of the bed.
Rescuers took Mr de Souza to hospital with a fractured left leg but no other obvious injuries, reporting that he was conscious and talking normally.
Hours later however he died from internal bleeding while still waiting to be seen by doctors, according to his family.
Mr de Souza’s brother-in-law Carlos Correa told Brazil’s Hoje em Dia newspaper: “Being crushed by a cow in your bed is the last way you expect to leave this earth.
“But in my view it wasn’t the cow that killed our Joao, it was the unacceptable time he spent waiting to be examined.”
His grieving mother, Maria de Souza, told Brazil’s SuperCanal TV channel: “I didn’t bring my son up to be killed by a falling cow.”
Police in Caratinga, Minas Gerais state, have launched an inquiry into the bizarre death.
The owner of the cow could be charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Great items featuring original art work.