Bites at Animal Planet


15 Apr

New Device Enables Scientists To Converse With Dolphins

A baby Atlantic bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and mother swim together in the seas near Curacao, Netherlands Antilles (Photo by Horizons/UIG via Getty Images)

Humans are one step closer to communicating with dolphins, after scientists successfully interacted with dolphins using an underwater audio device, according to news outlets.

Cetacean Hearing and Telemetry, or Chat, enables scientists to emit audio that resembles the sounds dolphins make in the water. While the microphones do not translate the dolphin sounds into human language, it allows scientists to “speak” in clicks and high-pitched whistles that can be used to teach dolphins new commands and vocabulary, according to The Independent.

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21 Mar

Can Lobsters Feel Pain? Scientists Seek an Answer


Have you ever been horrified by the thought of cooking a lobster alive, fearing that it can feel the pain? According to a recent article in the Washington Post, scientist Robert Elwood has been working for the last eight years to uncover whether or not lobsters and other invertebrates do feel pain in the same way humans do.

When conducting tests on various kinds of shellfish, Elwood discovered some interesting results. According to the article, when Elwood brushed acetic acid of the antennae of prawns, the prawns began an intricate, prolonged grooming process - something that was diminished when the prawn were given a local anesthetic before the acid was placed on the antennae.

In the case of brown crabs, when crabs were touched with a brief electric shock, the crabs tended to rub at the spot for "an extended period of time." Similarly, if the crabs claw was removed, as it often is in fisheries, the crabs would rub and pick at the wounded area.

“These are not just reflexes,” Elwood told the Post. “This is prolonged and complicated behavior, which clearly involves the central nervous system.”

Elwood also researched another factor - how much pain is worth it for a great reward? In the case of hermit crabs, crabs that had located an ideal shell for their home were more willing to put up with greater increases in pain before moving out of the better shell. Elwood suggests that this behavior goes far beyond any reflex and could be a true relection that the animals are able to feel pain.

Despite Elwood's findings, the subject of pain remains a problem of consciousness. Pain remains "private to each individual." However, Elwood's findings have inspired change - some scientists have changed how they treat invertebrates in their labs and are encouraging others to do the same.

What do you think? Can lobsters and other invertebrates feel pain?

26 Nov

It’s A River Monsters Roundup, Featuring The Greenland Shark And Skate

It’s been a BIG week for fish in the news and we’re bringing you two incredible stories involving two rare beasts as seen on River Monsters: the skate and the Greenland shark!

It's a monster skate! (Photo Credit: Jeff Rotman/Getty Images)

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4 Nov

Yao Ming Leads Crusade Against Shark Fin Soup

Virgin Group head Branson and former NBA player Yao attend a news conference organized by Wildaid to promote shark conservation in Shanghai. Credit: REUTERS/Aly Song

The consumption of shark fin soup as a rare delicacy in China has been on the decline thanks to the efforts of NBA star Yao Ming, conservationists, Chinese business leaders and others. Consumption has "gone down by 50 to 70 percent in the last two years," Peter Knights, executive director of WildAid, told the Washington Post.

According to the same article, the demand for this "fashionable" soup led to the killing of more than 70 million sharks last year alone. The problem stems from the fact that the nation is unaware of how their consumption impacts the species, which is why many believe the increase in awareness has led to a decrease in demand.

Chinese demand for endangered wildlife is not limited to just shark fins. Ivory is popular among the lavishly rich, which has led to an increase in elephant poaching in Africa as well.

As Knights told the Post, "Conservation is more about China now than it is about Africa. China can be the savior of wildlife or it can be the demise of it."

Read more on The Washington Post.

21 Aug

Dead dolphins across East Coast leave scientists confused

Over 70 dead dolphins have washed up on the shores of Virginia this summer, according to CNN. (Photo Credit: moodboard/Corbis)

When you go to the beach, what do you expect to find? Probably sunbathers, sandcastles and obnoxious tourists.

Dead dolphins, however?

For some beachgoers this summer, it’s unfortunately true. An article from CNN revealed there were 228 recorded dolphin deaths this year from New York to Virginia, according to federal authorities. State officials in Virginia also shared that out of the more than 164 dolphin deaths in state waters this year, 78 carcasses washed ashore in August. Making these figures all the more startling is that there were only 111 deaths recorded last year.

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28 Sep

Take a Stunning Underwater Journey with DISNEYNATURE OCEANS


Tune in to DISNEYNATURE OCEANS, Sunday, Sept. 30 @ 9 PM e/p,
only on Animal Planet.

A delicious feast for the eyes, DISNEYNATURE OCEANS takes you on an epic journey through the deep blue, with stunning imagery of the remarkable marine life ... and the enchanting, dreamy, vocal stylings of Pierce Brosnan.


Filmed with state-of-the-art underwater technology, the incredible cinematography will not disappoint. Witness the journey of the exquisite blanket octopus; the ballet of a school of fish; sleeping giants, humpback whales sleeping side-by-side -- just to name a few of the spectacular creatures of the deep you'll encounter. 

Here's a sneak peek of the eye candy you can expect:


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Welcome to the Bites @ Animal Planet, where you can connect with the people who bring Animal Planet to life. Find out what's in the works here at Animal Planet, share your feedback with the team and see what's getting our attention online and in the news.







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