Male northern elephant seal (Supergiant Animals - BBC)
(source of photo here)
The blacktip reef shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus) is the most common shark in the shallow lagoons and coral reefs of the tropical pacific and Indian Oceans. Divers commonly see these sharks patrolling in shallow waters from about 1’ deep. These sharks are not aggressive, but have been known to bite waders, likely due to the commotion made by splashing. Blacktip reef sharks reach about 6’ in length, smaller than blacktip sharks, which are larger sharks with black tips on most fins that live mainly in the open ocean.
This awesome video titled “Slow Life” from marine biology PhD student and videographer Daniel Stoupin shows how although their metabolic process operates on a much slower timescale than our own, these organisms are still growing, breathing, eating and squirming. And it’s all in glorious high definition, composed from over 150,000 shots. Each frame of the final video is a stack of three to 12 shots where in-focus areas are merged, meaning each frame took about 10 minutes to compose. It took Stoupin a full nine months to develop a full process for both overcoming the technical challenges involve and learning how to work with the delicate animals.
This is how Jellyfish are born.
The Cape Barren Goose - Cereopsis novaehollandiae, is a very large goose found on the south-eastern coast of Australia and south-eastern Victoria. Their ability to drink salt water or brackish water allows numbers of geese to remain on offshore islands all year round.
The rainbow eucalyptus gets its color naturally, shedding its bark throughout the year to reveal a bright green inner bark which changes hues as it matures.
Changyuraptor yangi is a newly-described microraptorine dromaeosaur dinosaur from the early Cretaceous (Yixian formation) of Liaoning, China.
The animal would have been around 4 feet long in life, and its fossil shows that it was covered in feathers — including, as in its smaller cousin Microraptor, a pair of “leg wings” represented by long paired pennaceous feathers on the metatarsals and tibiotarsus. One of Changyuraptor's most unique features is its voluminous tail feathers, and these feathers constitute the longest of any known non-avian dinosaur, with the most distal retrices reaching around 30 cm in length.
Changyuraptor is also by far the largest “four-winged” dinosaur known, and while this might not be as big of a deal as it sounds (given that there aren’t very many “four-winged” dinosaurs), it does show that small size wasn’t necessarily the gatekeeper to certain volant adaptations. I personally doubt that this animal was doing anything approaching powered flight, but the long tail feathers and multiple sets of long, well-developed lifting surfaces may have been a boon to gliding and controlled descent. The exceptionally long tail feathers therefore might have been used as a sort of “pitch control” device, wherein a large, relatively heavy animal would have needed especially fine-tuned control over rapid falls onto prey or in safe landings from higher ground. As Buzz Lightyear would say, “This isn’t flying, it’s falling with style!”
Gouache paint on A3-size hot-pressed illustration board, approx. 5-6 hours.
Gang Han et al. 2014. “A new raptorial dinosaur with exceptionally long feathering provides insights into dromaeosaurid flight performance”. Nature Communications. 5: 4382.