Sunday, December 27, 2009

Golden Eagle Vs Siberian Wolf

Soaring from its master’s arm, the mighty bird wheels high overhead, then dives like an arrow from the apex of its arc. On the plain floor, the lone wolf glances back while continuing its faltering trot onwards. Without warning, the giant raptor appears out of the sky, hitting its target at high velocity while clawing and raking with razor-sharp talons. The wolf bites back at its far more lightweight attacker and for a brief instant the bird of prey appears prone – but in an instant, it lunges back at its canine quarry, fixing it in an iron grip. The wolf struggles for a few seconds. Then it lies still.

Predators will turn prey: Wolves baiting a bison seen from the air

Almost everywhere they roam, wolves are alpha predators. Even the brown bear will begrudgingly share territory and kills with wolf packs; only tigers can drive them away in the wild. A wolf can weigh more than 85 lbs and grow to over 6 feet, but in the golden eagle this formidable canine finds its match. Trained to track and kill by the Mongolian Kazakhs and Kyrgyzstanis of the Central Asian plains, the golden eagle is a fearful foe for wolves and foxes. These hapless animals are hunted for their fur pelts or to control the numbers that prey on the indigenous people’s livestock.

Trained to kill: A golden eagle with an eagle hunter

Weighing up to 15 lbs but with a wingspan reaching 7 feet, golden eagles are avian apex predators, ruling the skies over territories as large as 60 square miles. For the people of the steppes of Central Asia, training these awesome creatures is considered a high art; a tradition stretching back thousands of years whose secrets have been passed down through the generations. Training a golden eagle takes remarkable skill, toughness and patience. The bird’s brute size, bone-crushing talons and beak, and the potential danger it presents make it a formidable charge.

Tooth and claw: A golden eagle holds a wolf by its mouth

The precious few who master the art of eagle hunting are called Berkutchi. To them, the golden eagle is a beast to be revered. Experienced Berkutchi have an eye for the characteristics that make individual eagles excellent hunters. The training itself is a complex process through which the captive eagle becomes accustomed to its owner and his horse. The bird is hand fed and later ‘broken’ by being tied to a wooden block so that it falls when attempting to fly away. These photos depict a hunting festival that occurred near the Kyrgyzstan village of Bokonbayevo in 2007.

Assailant from the air: A golden eagle pounces on a chained wolf cub
Many might see eagle hunting as a cruel sport – an example of man’s interference with nature, since untrained eagles would rarely if ever attack wolves in the wild. Yet as a species, wolves are not yet endangered, listed as of least concern by the IUCN. And though eagle chicks have traditionally been taken from their nests to be trained as hunting birds, under new legislation this practice is meant to be strictly regulated. Conservation and animal rights issues will inevitably hover over this practice.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Photo of Huge (55ft) snake shocks World

A photograph purporting to show a 55ft snake found in a forest in China has become an internet sensation.

It was originally posted in a thread on the website of the People’s Daily, the official Communist Party newspaper in China.

The thread claimed the snake was one of two enormous boas found by workers clearing forest for a new road outside Guping city, Jiangxi province.

They apparently woke up the sleeping snakes during attempts to bulldoze a huge mound of earth.

“On the third dig, the operator found there was blood amongst the soil, and with a further dig, a dying snake appeared,” said the post.

“At the same time, another gold coloured giant boa appeared with its mouth wide open. The driver was paralysed with fear, while the other workers ran for their lives.

“By the time the workers came back, the wounded boa had died, while the other snake had disappeared. The bulldozer operator was so sick that he couldn’t even stand up.”

The post claimed that the digger driver was so traumatised that he suffered a heart attack on his way to hospital and later died.

The dead snake was 55ft (16.7m) long, weighed 300kg and was estimated to be 140 years old, according to the post.

However, local government officials in Guiping say the story and photograph are almost certainly a hoax as giant boas are not native to the area.Via :

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sea Full of Starfish

Those are shots from the Pacific Coast of Russia. Thousands of starfish were washed out lately. Some scientists say that it’s not ordinary at all. Meantime locals enjoy free seafood picking it up with bare hands and leaving the coast with large bags full of exotic fish.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Snake with Foot Found in China

We know there are snakes with two heads but if someone tells you that snake has foot, don't argue with him, he is not crazy because a 16-inch-long snake with foot was found in China; it sounds weird but it's true.

Dean Qiongxiu, 66, said she discovered the reptile clinging to the wall of her bedroom with its talons in the middle of the night.

"I woke up and heard a strange scratching sound. I turned on the light and saw this monster working its way along the wall using his claw," said Mrs Duan of Suining, southwest China.

Mrs Duan said she was so scared she grabbed a shoe and beat the snake to death before preserving its body in a bottle of alcohol.

I'd mentioned before, I hate snake; if this mutation snake really can bring good luck to me provided I have to preserve it and keep it, then I have to think, and think, and think, and think again, and again, and again, and again...whether I want to take this luck home.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Terrifying Truth About Jellyfish

Like a creative flourish from God’s paintbrush, they are a dash of colour on the high seas, bringing both beauty and death wherever they go. Largely ignored by science for decades – outside of the Far East they’re not commonly eaten, and so of little commercial interest – these poorly-understood creatures have recently been in the news for all the wrong reasons. Unexplained swarms of these enigmatic invertebrates have been causing trouble in Hawaii, Spain and Northern Ireland. Scientists have begun asking questions about jellyfish, and the answers may just undermine what we think we know about the origins of diversity on earth…
Jellies and comb jellies have recently reminded us that almost anything we think we know about evolution
is apt to be overturned at a moments’ notice. Creation ’scientists’ must be rejoicing. Comb-jellies (like the one below) are not true jellyfish, as they lack stinging cells. They’re members of the group ctenophora. But even true jellyfish continue to muddy our simple, logical ideas about evolutionary succession.
See, according to their morphology, jellyfish are simple animals. They’ve no ‘front’ end, so they function perfectly well from any angle. They lack the central layer of embryonic tissue found in higher animals that develops into muscles, but they do have rudimentary eyes and nervous systems. In the traditional evolutionary tree, these features place them neatly between sponges and bilaterans (creatures with a front and back, like us). Later, when animals became bilateral, they were able to develop specific organs for different parts of the body, and this gave rise to the incredible increase in diversity known as the ‘Cambrian explosion’. But when things fit together that neatly, you know it’s too good to be true.
It turns out that jellyfish are more complex than was previously thought. They do in fact possess the genes
that program for a front-to-back axis, they simply don’t utilize them. Either that, or these genes are being used to specialize their brains in some incredibly subtle way. This may mean that cnidarians (the group that includes jellyfish) are in fact descended from more complex, bilateral animals, and secondarily adopted their simpler shape! So while a common ancestor of cnidarians did plug the link between sponges and bilaterans (and there are ideas about what that animal may have been), the cnidarians themselves have continued to evolve until they became the jellyfish we know today.
For us humans, the most unsettling part is that these genes are the same as those present in all vertebrates. So some of the ‘advances’ usually attributed to vertebrate body form may in fact be much older…
his comb jelly is a new species found recently off the coast of Tasmania. Copyright Martin George, QVMAG. Used with Permission.

However these findings are interpreted, we can no longer accept that cnidarians are an evolutionary relic. They are in fact highly evolved to take advantage of their habitat and the ‘higher’ animals within it, as their ability to kill all kinds of vertebrates (including humans) demonstrates. Soft-bodied animals don’t leave fossils easily, and their exact phylogeny is always controversial. The terrifying truth about jellyfish is that they mess up our established ideas about evolution, and show us how much we have left to learn.