5 Times People Ruined Animals’ Lives for a Selfie

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Bad ideas and selfies are like the peanut butter and jelly of our times. While trying to snap impressive self-portraits at wildly inopportune moments, some of the distracted and vain have accidentally driven off the road and plowed into a tree, walked backward off a dangerously high cliff, and been bitten by a rattlesnake who was not in the mood to be photographed.


Kids Get Shelter Dogs’ Tails Wagging by Reading Them Tales

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Who wants a bedtime story? Well, your local shelter dog might — and at the Humane Society of Missouri, that’s just what they’re getting.  In the Book Buddies Reading Program, trained volunteers ages 5-16 read to the shelter dogs, helping them gain confidence and grow comfortable with visitors.  “We saw more and more rescue animals that were shy, fearful, and stressed out in the shelter environment,” explained JoEllyn Klepacki, the society’s assistant director of education. “Unfortunately, these dogs are less likely to get adopted, since they tend to hang back instead of engage when potential adoptees come through.


Sea Sponges Are Likely First Animals On Earth

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The title of “Earth’s First Animal” may be awarded to sea sponges, American scientists say. A new study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) reveals that sea sponges were present even before most animals appeared millions of years ago.  New genetic analyses confirm that a mysterious molecule found in rocks that are about 640 million years old are from sea sponges. This means that sea sponges were already present before the Cambrian explosion, a period that began about 540 million years ago, when most ancient animals were reported to appear.


14 Stories That Prove Animals Have Souls

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Animals are capable of so much more compassion, love, bravery, and ingenuity than most people realize. Here are 14 incredible stories that reveal their hidden depths.


The Dark Side of Trendy Animal Photos

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Selfies, GIFs, and viral videos can be deadly for wildlife. Just last week, an endangered baby dolphin died after beachgoers in Argentina hauled it out of the water to pose with it for photos. Also this month two peacocks in a Chinese zoo died after being mishandled by visitors taking selfies.  The International Union for Conservation of Nature, which sets species’ conservation status, lists the La Plata dolphin as vulnerable to extinction, protecting it from hunting and capture in Argentina—but not from people passing one of them around until it died from dehydration.


Students Learn Hands-on With Animals

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Talking birds, goats butting heads, and a giant tortoise that hangs out with chickens are all part of a living classroom.  High-school students at the Career Center in Arlington, Virginia are learning firsthand, and hands-on, how to care for animals. They are at the animal science laboratory, learning about, and taking care of, about 50 species of animals.


The Verge Review of Animals: the cow

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When we review animals here on The Verge, some of the conceptual fun comes from treating things that have been shaped by the callous hand of evolution like they’re high-tech gadgets. But cows — or more formally, members of the species Bos taurus — actually are as carefully designed as the iPhone, except that Jony Ive didn’t need to capture and tame a herd of wild BlackBerrys to make one. The cow is an invaluable invention and a terrible animal, and we have only ourselves to blame.


Stick Insect Helps Scientists Study How Animals Move

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Stick insects, which look like walking twigs, are popular as pets and research subjects because they’re easy to keep, can’t fly away, and move at a pace that allows observation and study.  “I think they’re really, really sweet insects,” said Chris J. Dallmann, a researcher at Bielefeld University in Germany, who just completed a scientific report on the biomechanics of a stick insect’s six legs and what are, loosely speaking, its knee and hip joints.


Video: Orphaned Animals Learn to Love After Losing Their Mothers

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The bond shared between animals and their parents is just as strong as that in humans. With this in mind, when a baby animal loses their parent – for any reason, the impact is absolutely devastating.  Sadly, many baby wild animals are forced to face this tragedy as a result of poaching and the illegal wildlife trade. Many think that when an elephant is killed for their tusks, for example, they are the only victim. But what we don’t realize is that these animals live in family and social groups as complex as our own. And many times, when an adult is killed, they leave behind children.


Would You Still Eat Meat If Animals Could Talk?

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Futurologist Ian Pearson recently predicted that by 2050 it will be possible to implant devices into our pets and other animals to give them the ability to speak to us.This raises the interesting question of whether such a device would provide animals raised and slaughtered for food with a voice, and whether this voice would make us think twice about eating them.


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