Monday, 21 February 2011

Pandas, Teeth and Bloody Fungi

Hi, Welcome (back) to weirdbeautiful. The image above is a panda cub in Wolong Nature Reserve, China, photographed by Sheila Lau. It fits with today's beautiful link of the day today is this picture of panda-handlers in Sichuan province, South West China dressed in Panda-suits as the prepare a 6-month-old-cub for release into a more naturalistic environment than the one he has previously inhabited.
The costumes are to prevent imprinting. The Sun posted a similar article back in December about China's Hetaoping Research and Conservation Centre here.

Weird link-of-the-day, is this photoessay on with the promising title "10 Creepy plants that shouldn't exist". Perhaps the most disturbing of the list (and there is quite some competition for this accolade), is the "Bleeding Tooth Fungus", Hydnellum peckii- the life-form (for want of a better description)shown in the picture above. Ok, so fungi are not plants- they are actually more closely related to animals- but the article deserves a little room for poetic (scientific?) license, as it is so satisfyingly weird. The Bleeding Tooth Fungus is found on the floor of conifer forests; only the young "fruiting bodies" (toadstools) produce the bright red pigment- older fruiting bodies are a duller brown colour and incapable of oozing this characteristic red chemical.

One of the other plants in the "10 creepy plants..." list is the Chinese "Bat Plant", Tacca charentieri, which is a relative of the yam (more details [here]). Actually, I have seeds for both the black and the white-flowered varieties of the Chinese Bat plant- they are two of a selection of oddities obtained from No doubt there are other suppliers.

The bleeding tooth fungus picture above is a wikipedia image attributed to B.Baldassari and to "Bernypisa" (image licence details [here]).
Thanks to Nurit for the "10 creepy plants..." link.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Island of Pigs

Hi. Welcome (back) to Weirdbeautiful

Cute link of the day today is to this wonderfully illustrated (tabloid) article about a group of pigs that have been left to their own devices on an island-Big Major Cay - in the Bahamas for several generations-

Friday, 11 February 2011

Image of the day- Capybara

Welcome (back) to Weirdbeautiful.

Image of the day today is a Capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) by Vigilance Prime. (this image has a GNU creative commons license -details [here])

The world's largest rodent, the Capybara is a herbivorous South American creature that can grow to 1.3 metres(over 4 feet) in length, and weigh up to 65 kg (just over 10 Stone).

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Dogs detecting Bowel Cancer

Image: "Beano" by V. Neblik, 2008. This image has a creative commons attribution licence 2.0

Hi. Welcome (back) to Weirdbeautiful.
Probably just about anyone who has ever had a pet dog will tell you what amazing creatures they are. Today's first link is about the weird and amazing ability of dogs- specifically labrador retreivers - to detect signs of early bowel cancer in humans. In tests conducted by Dr Hideto Sonoda, from Kyushu University, specially trained dogs detected 37 out of 38 cases of early bowel cancer. Standard medical tests for early stage bowel cancer rely upon finding traces of blood in stool samples and only detect around 1 in 10 cases.
The full story is here-
The article also mentions that the ability of dogs to detect the scent at various concentrations varies not only between dogs but also within the same dog on different days.

Today's second link is to this article on the perils of sleep deprivation-

Thanks to Lizzie B. for the bowel-cancer link.