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This is a picture of Luke Rowles when he was 15. He saw a group of men in a garden, kicking and beating this poor fox whose mouth had been sealed shut with duct tape. Lucas went straight to them without regard to his own safety, he shouted at the men and grabbed the fox. After healing his wounds, he freed the animal. Today, Luke continues rescuing animals for the RSDR - The world needs more brave people like Luke, with an unconditional will to help those in need.



(Source: ynsynsyns)

Gray mouse lemurs use voice recognition to avoid mating with their paternal relatives, an ability previously thought only to exist in large-brained animals living in complex social groups.

Gray mouse lemurs are nocturnal foragers living in the forests of Madagascar. Parental care is provided solely by the mother and her kin and though they generally sleep in groups, they forage alone. In its dense forest habitat where scents do not travel well, ultrasonic vocal communication is used for basic social interactions (such as mating calls). Males have large ranges, often encompassing or overlapping the ranges of several females (including their daughters). Given that they cannot develop familiarity-based social cues to differentiate paternal-kin from non-kin, how do they avoid inbreeding?

To find out, Sharon Kessler (Arizona State University and lead author) and her team looked at female mouse lemur responses to mating and alarm calls from their father and an unrelated male. Behaviours such as approaching the speaker or staring at it during the call were considered attentive. They found that while there was no difference in response to alarm calls, females paid more attention to the mating call of an unrelated male than to that of their father. Acoustic analyses confirmed that mating calls have a “paternal signature” that alarm calls lack.

The results demonstrate that neither a big brain or complex social systems are necessary to recognize the call of your kin. The researchers also point out this inbreeding-avoidance method may be very similar to that of our ancestors. Kessler commented, “Given that more complex forms of sociality with cohesive foraging groups are thought to have evolved from an ancestral solitary forager much like the mouse lemur, this suggests that the mechanisms for kin recognition like those seen here may be the foundation from which more complex forms of kin-based sociality evolved.”

Photo credit: David Thyberg/Shutterstock.

To read their paper, click here:

A new lion population has been discovered - in a zoo. The Addis Ababa zoo, found in the capital of Ethiopia, has always considered its group of lions special as they had dark manes and small bodies. Now however, they know their lions are unique as researchers have found the lions to be a completely genetically distinct population to all lions that have been similarly analyzed.

While the zoo staff

had always wondered if their Lions were unique due to their appearance this was often queried as captivity can have an effect. The team of researchers, from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany and the University of York in the UK, tested DNA samples from 15 lions from the zoo against six populations of wild lions. The genetic analysis showed the zoo lions to be completely different to any of the wild lions. Despite living together for many years, the genetic analysis showed very little inbreeding, ruling out this as a cause of the unique appearance.

The origin of the lions is unknown as they have lived separate from the wild since the late Ethiopian emperor, Haile Selassie first established the zoo in 1948. There are two theories as to the lion’s origins. The first theory is that they were taken from the south-west of Ethiopia where their striking appearance would have made them a prized possession of hunters and consequentially no others have survived. There have also been rumours of small populations of lions which are very similar in appearance to the Addis Ababa lions living out in wildlife sanctuaries of the east and north-east of the country, which could have been the original habitat of the founder lions.

The zoo hopes that this find will help them gain much needed funding in order to continue breeding the Lions and to improve their living conditions. JB
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