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Animals

Scientists have found that dolphins, like humans, have a dominant right-hand side.

About 90% of humans are right-handed.

Now researchers have found common bottlenose dolphins appear to have an even stronger right-side bias than humans.

Researchers studying the common bottlenose dolphins in the Bahamas say the right-handed preference shows for feeding and hunting.

During the study, the dolphins make a sharp and sudden turn before digging in with their beaks. Crucially, they found this turn is almost always to the left, with the same direction taken in more than 99% of the 709 turns recorded between 2012 and 2018.

The researchers say the findings indicate a right-side bias, since a left turn keeps a dolphin’s right eye and right side close to the ocean floor.

A “unicorn” dog with an extra tail on its face has become an internet star.

An image of the dog was put on the internet after being rescued from the streets.

Narwhal the puppy was found with another older dog in the “freezing cold” by Missouri-based non-profit Mac’s Mission.

Rescuers quickly noticed the extra tail on his face and sent him in for tests.

They found the tail was not connected to anything else. However, it can not wag.

“The unicorn face tail does not bother Narwhal and he never slows down just like any normal puppy.

A woman in California has been found living with 320 rats.

Authorities in California found the animals had clawed into upholstery, burrowed into seats and gnawed the engine wiring.

The lady living in the van has agreed to give them up after “asking for help” from a local charity.

The animals had reportedly been seen coming and going from the van and prompted complaints from people in the area.

Authorities collected about 320 rats and more than 100 are now up for adoption.

The woman has found a new place to stay.

The Hoiho or Yellow Eyed Penguin has been named the winner of Bird of the Year 2019.

It was a tight contest between the hoiho and the kākāpō.

The Hoiho received more than 12,000 votes – marking the competition’s first seabird winner in its 14-year history.

This is the first time voters have been able to rank their preferences for the birds, instead of the first-past-the-post system used previously.

The kākāpō, black robin (kakaruia), banded dotterel (tūturiwhatu), and fantail (pīwakawaka) were all close runners up- ranking second, third, fourth and fifth respectively.

Hoiho are an endangered species and the world’s rarest penguin. there are only 225 pairs remaining on mainland New Zealand in 2018/19.

They face numerous environmental threats as well as the risk of being caught in fishing nets.

Measuring cow farts! Is that true?

Well sort of. Last week the Nw Zealand government has announced they are investing in a new project to measure methane emissions.

New Zealand will partner with the Environmental Defense Fund to launch a satellite into space to measure methane emissions.

The government is paying $26 million towards the project.

The Minister of Research, Science and Innovation Megan Woods said the MethaneSat will be unlike any other before it.

A key part of the programme will be looking at agricultural emissions.

The satellite will measure methane emissions from global human

Most of the world’s methane emissions are from the oil and gas sector. However, we do know agriculture and biological methane emissions are also significant.

She said the satellite would provide the data to track and reduce those emissions.

Scientists have taught rats to drive tiny little cars.

The rats have been taught to control small cars in order to receive treats.

The findings were part of a study which could help scientists understand how learning skills affect the human mind and stress levels.

They discovered not only that rats can learn to drive little cars but that rats which lived in better environments were able to learn better.

According to Professor Kelly Lambert at the University of Richmond, Virginia, the study bears a lot of relevance for the way that the human mind works too.

The study used a tiny car constructed from a plastic jug on wheels.

The floor was made of aluminium, and three copper bars allowed the rat to steer by gripping any of the bars with their paws, completing an electrical circuit.

In order to encourage the rats to learn to drive, the researchers placed a sweet cereal product within a particularly constructed arena.

A Dunedin company has announced they are developing facial recognition for sheep.

It may sound like something out of the future but it is hoped the technology could help farmers.

Iris Data Science is working on the facial recognition instead of costly electronic identification or ear-tagging of animals.

The project has received a $40,000 grant from Callaghan Innovation and the company is aiming to prototype the software this year.

Sheep face images are collected and fed into a machine-learning model, which gradually learns to identify sheep by finding recognisable features.

It is the same facial recognition technology which was used on humans at airports, and in myriad other ways around the world.

In future, the technology could assist with tracking animal locations to prevent hustling and monitoring animal behaviour.

A little blue penguin with a difficult past has won the title as New Zealand’s penguin of the year.

Twelve-year-old Draco beat off competition from Mo and Elmo to take the title in the second year of the National Aquarium’s competition.

More than twelve thousand people from around the world cast votes.

Draco arrived at the Napier aquarium’s rehabilitation centre after she was hit by a car when she was less than one-year-old. The injury left her with a permanent head injury.

Draco has been noted for being very friendly to the other penguins, often visiting them in their burrows.

The win caps of a good year for Draco, who is the long time partner to last years win, Timmy.

All of the penguins live at Napier’s National Aquarium.

Little Penguins, or Blue Penguins, and are the smallest penguin species in the planet, reaching a maximum height of 30 centimetres.

The world’s fastest ants have been found in the Sahara Desert.

Scientists have found that the Saharan silver ants are not only the fastest ants alive but among some of the fastest insects on the planet.

The ant spends its days running across the searing sand in search of dead animals that have succumbed to the heat.

In a recent experiment on the sun-baked dunes of Douz, Tunisia, the insects clocked in at just under 1m per second.

That is about 108 times their body length in a single second. If that were scaled up to humans, we’d zoom along at over 640 km per hour.

The ants are only slower than a few insects. A mite from California, Paratarsotomus macropalpis, and an Australian tiger beetle, Cicindela hudsoni, which can move at speeds of 377 and 171 body lengths per second, respectively.

The ants’ super-speed is likely one of their adaptations to life in the harsh desert, allowing them to go about their business quickly before getting roasted in high temperatures.

New Zealand Kakapo numbers have hit a record high.

Latest records show that the bird has officially reached a record high at 213 adults.

This is great news for conservationists who have worked hard to preserve the endangered native bird.  In 1995, there were just 51 kākāpō alive. Last year there were 148.

Experts believe there are more kākāpō alive today than at any time in the last 70 years.”

The population has increased 70% in the last 3.5 years, due to two bumper breeding seasons.

Despite the population increase, kākāpō are still critically endangered.

Kākāpō don’t breed very often and the young often die. Fortunately, DOC has dedicated staff working around the clock to monitor eggs, help them hatch, and help raise the baby chicks before returning them to their parents.