Tag Archives: animals

What Does the _____ Say?

It’s been a couple years since this went viral:

It doesn’t answer the question, does it? What does the fox actually say? And for that matter, what do some other animals say? Aren’t you curious about that? Let’s find out.

The fox:

Rabbits are pretty quiet, aren’t they? Just wait until you hear this:

How about a giraffe? Do they make a sound? This is interesting.

And what about river otters?

And porcupines?

Ever wonder what a wolverine sounds like?

How about a skunk?

And here are some raccoons.

And finally, from Japan, the tanuki, which is also known as the raccoon dog. It’s actually a type of wild dog.

And just for fun, dumb-sounding birds of North America.

What did you think? Any surprise you?

Dimetrodon Is Canadian!

In 1854, a fossil was found on Prince Edward Island by a farmer. It was part of an upper jaw with curved teeth. It was given the name Bathygnathus borealis. The 290 million year old Permian period reptile couldn’t be identified, and it wasn’t linked to other species that are now known. However, looking at the fossil again, scientists discovered that it’s actually a Dimetrodon.

Dimetrodon incisivum at the Museum of Natural History in the United States.
Dimetrodon incisivum at the Museum of Natural History in the United States.

The Dimetrodon is a famous sail-backed reptile that predates the dinosaurs. They are not related to dinosaurs, but are in fact more closely related to mammals. They come from a group of reptiles called non-mammalian synapsids. While they aren’t our ancestors, another reptile from that group is our direct ancestor.

I find this pretty interesting. Dimetrodons had never been found in Canada before, so it’s nice to add such a famous animal to the list of prehistoric animals that lived in Canada. What do you think of this news?

Hitting the Birdwatching Jackpot

Ever been walking outside and you see something you’ve never seen before? I saw this.

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Thirteen big white birds. Hmm, what are they?

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They’re great egrets! Thirteen great egrets all in one place! I’ve seen two or three in somewhat close proximity to each other, but never thirteen. But that’s not all! A little further away, I saw this.

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What? A grey heron? Thirteen great egrets and a grey heron all in one area? I truly have never seen this before.

Is this a birdwatching jackpot? Do I win something? Have you been lucky enough to see something like this?

This Makes Me Angry

I apologise in advance for any profanity I may use in this post. I feel it is justified to show the degree of anger in relation to these acts and events.

Beaten Pomeranian found with note. This makes me angry. Kill a dog, then boast about it? Whoever did this is not only an asshole, but also more likely to  murder a person. Anyone who tortures and kills animals for fun needs to be sent to a remote island without any hope of escape.

Cecil killer just saw a ‘nice lion’, says Jacob Zuma. South Africa’s president laughing off trophy hunting, huh? Well, trophy hunters are the scum of hunters. They do this for nothing but their own insignificant egos that no one cares about. They can join the animal torturers on that island.

No link for this one, just a comment about many of the Republican candidates for President of the United States. You’re idiots. Really. Let’s see, climate change denial is the biggest beef I have with you. Why would I, a non-American, be concerned about this? Well, the US is the world’s biggest industrial powerhouse, and if they have a government that doesn’t care about the environment, it affects the rest of the world. Not only are they screwing up their lives, but they’re fucking up the lives of their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and so on. They don’t care about their own descendants! They’re just telling their grandchildren, “Money now is more important, so I don’t give a shit about your life. You can die of starvation, during wars over water, or whatever. I don’t care.”

There are so many other things. I want to say this to the people mentioned above and others, including animal torturers, trophy hunters, climate change-deniers, anti-vaxxers, anti-science nutjobs, racists, sexists, homophobes, and all others who abuse people, animals, and the environment for their own personal gain or entertainment: Fuck you.

Are you one of those above? You’re not worth my time.

Now I Want to Go Birdwatching

You know the story about the weasel that was riding on the woodpecker from a few months ago? Well, there’s a new one. This time, in Cornwall, Ontario, a man caught an incredible series of photos of a woodpecker fighting with a squirrel.

What’s funny is that this has me thinking about an old field guide to western North American birds that I have back in Canada. I used to look at it all the time, reading it, studying the birds that live in Alberta. I want to see that book now.  I want to go birdwatching like I always imagined I would, but never got around to.

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A grey heron I saw last week.

Here in Japan, I look at the birds, and for most of them, I still don’t know their names. I’ve seen mejiro (Japanese white-eye), white egrets, cormorants, crows, black kites, and grey herons, but for most other small birds, I have no clue what to call them. And I still haven’t seen a kingfisher! I’ve been living in Fujisawa for four and a half years, and I haven’t seen this city’s official bird yet.  People I know see them regularly. Maybe I just need to go walking through forests and pay attention to what’s in the trees.

So, anyone ever try birdwatching?

Palaeontology and World Building

Creating a new world is a big undertaking.  Last summer, I talked about how I developed Ariadne using my knowledge and education in astronomy, as well as my interest in geography and geology.  But what about the biological aspect?  This is where my interest in palaeontology comes in.

As a child, I was always interested in dinosaurs.  I think that’s pretty common amongst children, but I went even further than that.  I found a book in the library with detailed diagrams of the skeletons and skulls of most known species of dinosaur.  I did my own reconstructions of the dinosaurs in pencil.  I wish I’d kept up with the drawing, but I can always start again.  And I will, actually.  As I grew up, I had to make a decision about what to study in university.  I chose astronomy.  My second choice was palaeontology.  To be honest, I think palaeontology would’ve been more useful, as it involves geology, biology, zoology, and more.  If I could go back to university, it’s what I’d study.

Using palaeontology to build a myriad of animals for Ariadne is something that fascinates me.  How will I do it?  I will start off by developing the basic Classes and Orders of animals, then splitting those up into Families and Genera.  I don’t want to make the Classes identical to what we have on Earth, so I need to be creative.  I can also attempt to trace back the evolution of the animals, which will give me a more realistic variety of animals.  I will examine environments, adaptations, and even colours.

Watching some videos of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals has helped me develop some ideas for animals.  Seeing the family resemblance between dinosaurs and birds is also quite helpful.  The past and present give me a great insight into how to create new animals, ones that I hope will be truly alien.

On my official website, I will be uploading drawings of the animals as part of the Ariadne Encyclopedia.  You may even see some artwork of real animals on this blog in the future.  I’m excited to get back into drawing.

Who’s interested in seeing some of my artwork?

The evolution of alien species

Creating alien animal species for a planet is a difficult thing to do.  But I’m doing it in a scientific way.

On the world for my science fiction novel series, I’m going to be developing the animals by using what I know about evolution.  I will be creating the phyla, classes, orders, families, genera, and species for numerous animals.  While I won’t be featuring a lot of animals in the books, I will be setting up a kind of biological template for the planet’s animals, so that I can create species as I need them.  I will have base forms for many of the taxonomic ranks, though not all.  That would take up far too much time, and I want to concentrate on the stories and the characters.  But I think it’ll be fascinating to set up unique animals classifications.