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The definitive host: "These are a few of my favourite things ..."

The definitive host

de·fin·i·tive host (duh-fin'eh-tiv) n. 1) An organism where a parasite undergoes the adult and sexual stages of its reproductive cycle 2) Someone you go to for interesting stories and/or facts, and puts on one hell of a dinner party 3) This blog, devoted to science and other geeky subjects

Friday, May 22, 2009

"These are a few of my favourite things ..."

At work, I'm frequently bored. Not because there is nothing to do, but because it all requires me to do the same thing over and over and over again. And, anyone who knows me knows, I hate repetitive tasks that can repeat ad infinitum.

So, I was reading Claire's blog (which is VERY good, and I recommend everyone check it out) about sea lampreys, and I got an idea. So, here are two lists from the Mind of Manly.

My Favourite Animals
These are not in any particular order, but they are all my favourites.

The Blue Shark

Beautiful, Streamlined and Blue. I first saw this animal on an episode from Discovery Channel's Shark Week, and I was amazed. Everyone knows and is fascinated by the great white (yours truly included), but something about this shark spoke to me. And after a while, I figured out what it was. As a kid, I went to Nature Camp, and one day we were asked questions about sharks, and told that the winner would get a prize. Of course, surprise, surprise ... I won. And what did I win?
A fossilized shark tooth. The tooth of Prionace glauca, the Blue Shark.

Przewalski's Horse

It is the last truly wild horse left on the planet, and is endangered in Mongolia. All the other "wild" horses out there and just escaped captive horses. And plus, the horse has a mohawk ... what's cooler than that?

Green Tree Python

It's a snake. It's a python. It's green. How could I NOT love this animal?

Grey Wolf


Now, after four favourites ... how about four of the weirdest/ugliest/most fascinating?

David's Weird List

Greenland Shark

This is the top of the food chain under the Arctic ice, but not much is known about it. How long it lives, how it mates, what precisely it eats are still unknown. Some scientists believe that they can live for hundreds of years, even more than a sea turtle. As well, it moves slowly to conserve heat in the frigid water, and if you look closely on its eye, it has a nematode parasite attached to it. That's right, it's BLIND.
Ohhh yeah, and it's meat is poisonous.

The Pangolin

I love this guy. It's one of the weirdest animals I have ever seen, and I love it. It walks on two legs, but all hunched over like it is carrying an immensely heavy backpack. And, when threatened, it will curl up like a porcupine, leaving nothing exposed but its scales. But, the STRANGEST thing abut them?
Recent genetic tests show that they are most closeley related, not to armadillos or anteaters like you may think, but to mammalina carnivores (lions, tigers, dogs, cats, etc...)

And, finally, the one that ranks near the TOP of my list....

Hagfish (or slime eels) are not really fish, nor are they eels. They have four hearts and two brains, and their bones are made of keratin, so they are VERY flexible. They also have barbels around their mouth, which are used as chemosensory organs. They also live at the bottom of the ocean and feed on carcasses. But, since they have no jaws, the contort their bodies into a knot, and move that knot up and down their bodies to create a shearing force. However, the best, and weirdest thing about them, it their slime.
When frightened, scared or about to feed, they secrete a slime protein. When it interacts with water, it turns into a sticky and slimy goop that is impossible to get off, yet insanely slippery. And they produce a LOT of this stuff.

Check out this video, and you'll see what I mean:

Now, there are TONS of other animals that I would like to show you, and I'll perhaps do more at a later date. But, here are the names of some more:
Star-nosed mole, the Aye-Aye, Aardvark, Echidna, Tapir, Sloth, Anteater, Hammerhead shark, the Oryx, Babiursa, Axolotyl, Black Mamba, and the list goes on and on ....

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