5.Beached Dolphins And Whales
In 2009, a group of false killer whales stranded themselves on a beach in South Africa. There were 55 individuals, and rescuers attempted to help them back into the water. But as soon as the rescuers had pushed the massive creatures back into the water, they forced their way up on shore again. The beaching started in the morning, and by the afternoon, it was decided that the most humane thing to do to the whales was to euthanize them.
There are many stories about mass whale and dolphin beachings linked to military activity, sonar, underwater noise caused by shipping vessels, and even pollution. While that all might have something to do with it, the behavior dates back to well before the advent of any of these human innovations. There are records of mass beaching events in New England not long after the first European settlers arrived, and even Aristotle recorded instances of marine animals beaching themselves. It all seems to suggest that while it might be something that's aggravated by modern technologies like sonar, it might also be a natural behavior—and that makes no sense. It's possible that sick animals beach themselves to die, but that doesn't entirely explain why huge populations strand themselves all at once. The record for false killer whales, the species that was found fighting to stay on the beaches in South Africa, is 835 individual animals.
The genet is a small, cat-like animal native to north Africa. They're traditionally solitary animals, and although their territories can occasionally overlap, they spend most of their time alone. This isn't the case for one particular genet that's been spotted in South Africa's Hluhlwe-iMfolozi Park, not only making some unlikely friends, but going joyriding on his back every night.
Cameras are set up throughout the park to monitor the population of black rhinos, but they caught something odd in the process. One of the local genets has apparently taken to riding around on the backs of the large herbivores that it shares its territory with, and no one knows why. The genet doesn't seem to prefer the company of any one rhino; it's been seen riding around on different rhinos and buffaloes alike, and it doesn't seem to be trying to get anywhere in particular, either. There are plenty of examples of birds landing on the big, hoofed animals, but there's usually an obvious purpose to it—the birds are getting a free meal while their mount is getting the gnats picked off. The genet doesn't seem to be doing it for any particular reason save perhaps the thrill of the ride.
The whole idea of crocodile tears is pretty bizarre. Lore has long held that crocodiles cry when they eat, presumably because they feel bad for killing another animal. It's a phrase that's been used throughout literature to refer to insincere expressions of emotion. The earliest reference to the phenomenon is thought to come from a 1400s text called The Voyage and Travel of Sir John Mandeville, which discusses crocodiles and their tendency to cry as they eat humans.
The idea of crocodile tears as scientific fact has been incredibly hard to prove, as most crocodiles aren't the easiest animals to study up close and also tend to eat in the water. Dismissed as a myth for a long time, the nonexistence of crocodile tears seemed to be confirmed in a questionable study conducted in the last century in which a researcher attempted to see if he could get a crocodile to cry by rubbing onions in its eyes. It didn't cry.It's only been fairly recently that University of Florida zoologists studying crocodile cousins—alligators and caimans—have found that it's not a myth at all, and they really do cry while they're eating. They're just not sure why. It's been generally accepted that it's not an emotional response but rather a physiological phenomenon. The tears might be caused by the sounds that the animals make while they're eating, air passing through the chambers in their skulls, or the pressure that's needed to bite through their prey. It could also be a defensive mechanism, like our own tears, and that their eyes are producing tears as a way of protecting the eye during the fighting that goes on while they're catching and holding their prey. A definitive explanation might be reached with more research, but there's one massive problem in the way. In order to get a good look at what's going on, someone needs to train crocodiles to feed on land. And since they're killing machines with lightning-fast jaws and deadly teeth, no one's volunteered just yet.
2.Sloths Trek To The Toilet
When you think of the sloth, there's pretty much nothing about the animal that suggests it's willing to put any kind of effort into anything. Except, researchers have found, pooping.
Most of the sloth's life is spent in the treetops. It's where the food is, it's where they sleep, and it's the safest place for the slow-moving creatures. But once a week, a sloth will make the slow, laborious journey to the ground in order to poop. Once it's finished, it'll head back up into the trees. No one's sure why they go through all the trouble of heading down to the ground; not only does it take a lot of energy, but it's not the safest activity, either. It would be a lot easier just to stay in the trees, out of the reach of predators on the ground, and do what they need to do. There's one main theory about why they do this, and it has to do with the bugs that live in their fur. Sloth fur is pretty disgusting, and it's full of sloth moths. Researchers have suggested that the sloths make the long trip to the ground so that the moths can lay their eggs in the poop, and then, once the bugs hatch, they can head back up to the sloth that most likely hasn't wandered too far away.The problem with that theory comes when you're trying to figure out just what good this is doing the sloth. There hasn't been any proof discovered to indicate that the sloths are getting any benefits out of being home for a lot of bugs. The moths foster a habitat for algae that covers the sloths' fur, but there doesn't seem to be any real benefit in that, either.
1.Female Elephant Bullies
There are few groups thought to be as cooperative as elephants. They help raise each others' young, they protect each other, and they mourn each other when they die. But recently, more observation into the behavior of elephants—particularly female elephants—has suggested that things aren't all rosy-colored at the watering hole, and researchers aren't sure why.
In 2013, researchers were staking out a watering hole that was frequented by several family groups of elephants, but behavior at this watering hole was far from what scientists have come to expect from elephant family groups in the wild. While high-ranking females would go out of their way to help other females or help their babies when they got themselves into trouble, they were also going out of their way to block specific females, seemingly chosen at random, from getting to the watering hole. They were going so far as to slap them around and shove their babies out of the way. The behavior was so pronounced that some females were more interested in keeping their companions and babies away from the water than they were in drinking for themselves. It got so bad, continuing day after day, that researchers watched the ostracized females and their young grow steadily weaker and weaker. It was a far cry from the extended family support system that's often observed in elephant groups. Looking out for each other only makes sense. After all, it's how the group survives into the next generation. Why exactly some of the female elephants have chosen very specifically to target other members of their family group is not known. It could be a population density factor or access to food and water, but other studies have indicated that elephants have no problem sharing with other species.
翻译：齐墨； 校对：candy 来源：前十网