207 posts tagged Nature
207 posts tagged Nature
Leaf-cutting Artist Omid Asadi was born in Iran and now lives in Sale, Greater Manchester, England where he gathers fallen leaves and uses a craft knife and needle to transform them into exquisitely beautiful and expressive works of art. He even recreated The Scream by Edvard Munch on a leaf.
"Art for me is the way of looking differently to this world and around myself.I started to think why nobody paid attention to these beautiful leaves and trod on them, because of their name - if they were called flowers we wouldn’t tread on them at all! I wanted to give the leaves another Life and make art from them."
[via Bored Panda]
Meet two of the tiniest avian members of the Department of Teeny-weeny Wonders, a Green-crowned Brilliant hummingbird (Heliodoxa jacula) (top) and a Green Violetear hummingbird (Colibri thalassinus) (bottom). These stunning macro photos provide an remarkably close look at two incredibly small and fast-moving birds - both covered in the itty-bittiest feathers you’ll ever see. They were taken by photographer Chris Morgan in Costa Rica at the Bosque de Paz biological reserve in 2011.
"The hummingbirds were so tempting to photograph to the point of madness! Eventually with patience you get quite close, and I love seeing the details of these little guys," says Morgan.
[via Lost At E Minor]
Because this is a fun sentence one rarely gets to use: Here’s an awesome example of nature imitating terrifying candy. This giant earthworm bears a remarkable resemblance to the World’s Largest Gummy Worm we first posted about a couple years ago.
This colossal creepy-crawly was found by Project Noah member Hoppy4840 in rich, wet forest soil in the foothills of the Sumaco Volcano in Ecuador. It measured approximately 1.5 meters (~4.9 feet) long and weighed at least 500 grams (~1.1 pounds). Funny thing is, we can’t help but think that, while it’s quite likely the earthworm is more nutritious, there’s no way it’s as tasty as the gummy version.
Check out the awesomely bushy tails on these squirrels! These are tufted ground squirrels (Rheithrosciurus macrotis), an incredibly rare rodent which likes to hide out in the hilly forests of Borneo and sports a tail more voluminous (relative to its body size) than that of any other mammal. These splendid tales are 30% larger than the volume of the squirrel’s body.
It’s not clear why Rheithrosciurus needs so much tail, but Emily Mae and her co-authors believe the bobbing mass of fur might confuse clouded leopards and other predators, or prevent them from getting a good grasp when they strike. That idea sounds plausible to Hawkins, who says that when her field crew saw the squirrels in Borneo, they at first thought it was a much larger animal.
The tufted ground squirrel is twice the size of most tree squirrels and is sometimes referred to as the ‘Vampire Squirrel’ because it supposedly has a taste for blood.
Local legends suggest that Rheithrosciurus, which is thought to mostly eat giant acorns, can be savage. Hunters say that the squirrels will perch on low branches, jump onto a deer, gash its jugular vein, and disembowel the carcass. “It sounds pretty fantastical,” says a skeptical Roland Kays, a zoologist at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh. “Even more than its fluffy tail.”
We’d like to add that it doesn’t matter how huge their tails are, these squirrels are still naked and thus in dire need of some tiny tighty-whities.
Photos by Rona Dennis
Visit Science news to learn more about the elusive vampire squirrel.
Nature + Science + Art = Super Awesome!
These amazing gifs, created from a video by Jonathon Bird’s Blue World, show a diver releasing a non-toxic fluorescent dye at the base of different sponges in the Caribbean to beautifully demonstrate how they feed on microscopic plankton by pumping and filtering the water through their bodies.
Today the Department of Awesome Natural Wonders transports us to the Indian Ocean. About 1200 miles from the southeastern coast of Africa is the island nation of Mauritius, and it’s there, at the southwestern tip of the island, that we’ll find a spectacular natural optical illusion:
When viewed from above, a runoff of sand and silt deposits creates the impression of an ‘underwater waterfall’. Satellite views (as seen in the two Google Maps screenshots above) are equally dramatic, as an underwater vortex seemingly appears off the coast of this tropical paradise.
With some optical illusions, the longer one looks at them, the more one can make sense of what’s actually there. But this stunning, false underwater waterfall looks completely real, no matter how long we stare at the photos.
Visit Twisted Sifter to learn more about this awesome natural spectacle.
The Department of Awesome Natural Phenomena invites you to check out this breathtaking timelapse video of the formation of a colossal supercell thunderstorm between Wright and Newcastle, Wyoming on May 18, 2014. The video was shot by the Basehunters, a storm chasing team founded by Colt Forney, Kevin Rolfs, Scott Peake, and Isaac Pato.
"Supercells are severe thunderstorms, notable for both their rotating winds and for the long duration they can play out over. Though this particular one did not touch down to form a tornado, it’s easy, as you watch the clouds spin rapidly overhead, to see just why supercells often do end in tornadoes, or at the very least extremely damaging storms."
Here’s the latest addition to the Archie McPhee Library: The Mincing Mockingbird Guide to Troubled Birds [Buy on Amazon], written and illustrated by Matt Adrian, aka naturalist The Mincing Mockingbird.
In a journal entry Kurt Cobain once wrote, “Birds…scream at the top of their lungs in horrified hellish rage every morning at daybreak to warn us all of the truth. They know the truth. Screaming bloody murder all over the world in our ears, but sadly we don’t speak bird.”
That is, no one spoke bird until The Mincing Mockingbird took a swing at it and made some truly startling discoveries. Looking like a damaged library book (which was no doubt damaged by a deranged bird) The Mincing Mockingbird Guide to Troubled Birds is a beautifully illustrated “pocket field guide that enables anyone to quickly identify psychotic, violent or mentally unstable bird species. Written in non-technical language for the layman, the guide describes where to find—or where to avoid—the most disturbed North American birds.”
Throw out your other bird guides. The world is full of hilariously demented birds and, short of going outside and putting yourself and your corn chips in danger, this is the only true resource.
"Throughout the book the reader will discover tales of murder, assault, mental breakdowns, obesity, drug abuse and infidelity among the birds. This guide is used and recommended by law enforcement agencies and ignored by leading ornithologists."
Many of illustrations are paired with brief stories told by the birds themselves. The back of the book contains bird attack statistics from 1970 and a list of study questions to make sure you’ve really absorbed the material - for the good of us all.
"Reviews of the guide have ranged from "hilarious" and "classic" to "these should be burned along with ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Lolita,’ you bad, bad, bad, bad man." Most libraries will not protest the banning of this book, and several librarians have called it a "nasty bit of business." There’s nothing too horrible in these, but all the same there may be a word or two that may be inappropriate for "wee people." Meaning kids. But if you consider yourself one of those "cool" parents, hey, go ahead. Hopefully your kids will pass along their therapy bills to you later on."
Read this book and you’ll laugh, yes, but you’ll also learn. You’ll learn that birds aren’t out there to look pretty, sing sweet songs and flit along the fingertips of blushing princesses. They’re living their lives, man. And once you’ve learned the truth, you’ll never look at birds the same way again. (Just try not to laugh when the birds can see you. It only upsets them more.)
[Images from the Guide to Troubled Birds via Flavorwire]
io9 recently assembled a dazzling collection of photos of awesomely strange and beautiful sea slugs. The name sea slug refers to a diverse group of marine creatures, particularly gastropods and sea snails. They’re found throughout the Earth’s oceans, but they come in so many amazing shapes and colors that we’ve always secretly hoped they’d turn out to be aliens. Some sea slugs use their colorful bodies as camouflage, while others use brilliant coloration as an aposematic signal, a warning to potential predators that they’re poisonous or at least look like they are.
Head over to io9 for plenty more spectacular sea slug photos.
These adorably strange little creatures that looks like a pieces of coral that just woke up are Pygmy seahorses, a species of seahorse that was completely unknown to science until the 1970s. Found in Southeast Asia in the Coral Triangle area, they’re incredibly small - measuring only two centimeters long - which ranks them among the smallest seahorses on earth. So between their itty-bittiess and their amazing ability to blend in amongst the the sea grasses, soft corals and gorgonians that they inhabit, it’s a wonder they were discovered at all.