Endangered Condors reproduce Asexually:

Conservationists for the endangered California condors have discovered 2 instances where unfertilized eggs have successfully hatched into chicks. The findings were published in “The Journal of Heredity”. Parthenogenesis is the process in which a female animal produces an embryo that has not been fertilized. However, this is common in fish and lizards. It has been rare in birds but has occurred in turkeys, finches, and pigeons. The California condor was removed from the wild after 1982 when it was discovered that there were 23 remaining. In captivity their number has increased to 504. A concise database was established since males and females look the same and to prevent inbreeding. In 2001 and 2009 two male chicks were found to have DNA markers that did not code with any of the males. This meant that no male condor had fathered the chicks while they only genetic info from the mom. Scientists are now looking into the possibility that more birds may be giving birth by Parthenogenesis as a last-ditch effort to save their species from extinction.

Sea Slugs that Decapitate Themselves…

The Nara Women’s University of Japan has a vast collection of Sea Slugs. It was noticed that on occasion the body of a sea slug would be lying next to its severed head. What was strange was the severed head was still moving around the tank and still munching on algae. What was determined by the scientists was that sea slugs will decapitate themselves if they feel their body has become infected by a parasite. The head wound took about a day to heal and a new heart about 3 days to grow. However, there was no new growth on the severed body, but it did react to stimuli for months before finally decomposing. Too bad Marie Antoinette wasn’t part sea slug.

The Mysterious Purple Orb…

In 2016 a strange purple orb was discovered off the coast of southern California near the Channel Islands by the exploration ship the Nautilus. This glowing globular creature was found at a depth of 5,000 ft. below the surface. Totally stumped scientists could not decipher if it was a type of plankton or an egg sack. It was later discovered to have one foot which put it in the category of a gastropod (abalone, conches). It may even be more closely related to a sea slug (Pleurobranchus areolatus). When it is approached by a light source it turns and reflects a bright purple glow. Researchers describe it as having a resemblance to a sci-fi alien’s brain. This is a first for this unknown, new species. Most of our ocean floor remains untapped and unreachable. The Channel Islands marine sanctuary covers an area of 1,470 miles, only about half has been mapped or explored. Who knows what else is lying down there or whether they prefer to remain “unknown”?



The Plant that Hides from Humans…

Fritillaria Delavayi grows in the hillsides of China in the Hengduan mountains and in Nepal. It has been used for over 2,000 years for medicinal purposes. The plant is believed to have properties that can treat coughs and other respiratory ailments. What this plant has done is evolve to the point where it can change its color to blend in with its environment in much the same way as reptiles do. This is in response to the over harvesting of the plant and its attempt to survive. The over harvesting of the plant is the result of the high price it now brings on the market. Since the plant is not threatened by any animal that feeds on it, scientists determined that this is a defense mechanism against humans. In areas where it is not threatened it has a bright yellow flower and green leaves. In heavily harvested areas it can change to blend in with rocks. Since it only blooms every 5 years it is difficult to find and harvest the bulb of the plant. This is not the first time humans have had an effect on plant life. Until recently, this was not even considered.