Saturday, April 25, 2015

The JAPANESE MACAQUE aka the Snow Monkey

The Japanese macaque (Macaca fuscata), also known as the snow monkey, is a terrestrial Old World monkey species native to Japan, although an introduced free-ranging population has been living near Laredo, Texas since 1972.It is the most northern-living as well as the most polar-living non-human primate. In Japan, they were historically known as saru ("monkey"). Nihonzaru (Nihon "Japan" + saru) is used in modern times to distinguish from other primates. Individuals have brown-gray fur, a red face, and a short tail. There are two subspecies of this macaque:

Macaca fuscata fuscata
Yakushima macaque, Macaca fuscata yakui

Range and diet

The Japanese macaque is diurnal and spends most of its time in forests. It lives in a variety of forest-types, including subtropical to subalpine, deciduous, broadleaf, and evergreen forests, below 1500 m. It feeds on seeds, roots, buds, fruit, invertebrates, berries, leaves, eggs, fungi, bark, cereals and in rare cases even fish. It has a body length ranging from 79 to 95 cm, with a tail length of approximately 10 cm. Males weigh from 10 to 14 kg, females, around 5.5 kg.
The Japanese macaque lives in mountainous areas of Honshū, Japan. It survives winter temperatures below -15 °C (5°F), and is perhaps most notable for the amount of time it spends in naturally heated volcanic hot springs in Snow Monkey park located in Yamanouchi town, close to a historical hot spring area named Shibu Onsen. In Life on Earth from 1979, David Attenborough notes that the monkeys (not the entire population) first moved into the volcanic area with the springs, "Only a few years ago."

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Hercules The Liger with Ragani Ferrante from
T.I.G.E.R.S.(The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species )
The liger is a hybrid cross between a male lion (Panthera leo) and a tigress (Panthera tigris), hence has parents with the same genus but of different species. It is distinct from the similar hybrid tiglon.
It is the largest of all cats and extant felines.

Ligers inherit characteristics from both species. Ligers enjoy swimming which is a characteristic of tigers and are very sociable like lions. However ligers may inherit health issues or behavioural issues due to conflicting inherited traits, but this depends on the mix of genes inherited. Ligers exist only in captivity because the parental species do not normally meet. None have been confirmed in the one region where both cats coexist (Gir Forest region, India). Ligers may grow to, or exceed, the size of the larger parent.

The history of ligers dates to at least the early 19th century in, India Asia. In 1799, Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1772–1844) made a colour plate of the offspring of a lion and a tiger.

In 1825, G.B. Whittaker made an engraving of liger cubs born in 1824. The parents and their three liger offspring are also depicted with their trainer in a 19th Century painting in the naïve style.

Two liger cubs which had been born in 1837 were exhibited to William IV and to his successor Victoria. On 14 December 1900 and on 31 May 1901, Carl Hagenbeck wrote to zoologist James Cossar Ewart with details and photographs of ligers born at the Hagenbeck's Tierpark in Hamburg in 1897.

Monday, April 6, 2015


Clever Hans (in German, der Kluge Hans) was a horse that was claimed to have been able to perform arithmetic and other intellectual tasks.

After formal investigation in 1907, psychologist Oskar Pfungst demonstrated that the horse was not actually performing these mental tasks, but was watching the reaction of his human observers. Pfungst discovered this artifact in the research methodology, wherein the horse was responding directly to involuntary cues in the body language of the human trainer, who had the faculties to solve each problem. The trainer was entirely unaware that he was providing such cues.

In honour of Pfungst's study, the anomalous artifact has since been referred to as the Clever Hans effect and has continued to be important knowledge in the observer-expectancy effect and later studies in animal cognition.