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The word "animal" comes from the Latin word animale, neuter of animalis, and is derived from anima, meaning vital breath or soul. In everyday colloquial usage, the word usually refers to non-human animals. The biological definition of the word refers to all members of the Kingdom Animalia. Therefore, when the word "animal" is used in a biological context, humans are included.
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About Coyotes / Canis Latrans / Prairie Wolf

Posted by WishbonE at 12:05 AM

Thursday, October 30, 2008

About Coyotes

The Coyote (Canis latrans), also known as the prairie wolf, is a small species of wolf indigenous to North America. The coyote's name originates from the Aztec word "coyotl", which means "barking dog". It is a name which describes the species well, as it is highly vocal. Coyotes are well-known as among the most adaptable mammals in North America.

Coyotes are most widely distributed of all the continent's canids, ranging from far northern Alaska to Nicaragua. Virtually the only parts of North America is does not inhabit are those which are covered with ice year round. The coyote evolved as a creature of the western grasslands. However, it has massively expanded its distribution in recent times since Grey and Red wolves, it primary competitors for habitat, have been eliminated throughout most of its range. Coyotes are omnivorous, eating plants, animals, and carrion. They were likely more of a daytime hunter in the past, but has now become far more nocturnal because of human activity. They eat primarily small mammals, such as eastern cottontail rabbits, thirteen-lined ground squirrels, and white-footed mice. They occasionally eat birds, snakes, large insects and other large invertebrates. They prefer fresh meat, but they consume large amounts of carrion. Part of what makes coyotes so successful at living in so many different places is the fact that they will eat almost anything, including human trash and household pets in suburban areas. Plants eaten include leaves of balsam fir and white cedar, sasparilla, strawberry, and apple. Fruits and vegetables are a significant part of the diet of coyotes in the fall and winter months.

Coat pattern of Coyotes varies and largely depends on the surrounding habitat. Coyotes from arid zones are rather brownish yellow, whilst those occurring in the northern latitudes tend to be darker. Also, the size of a coyote is greatly influenced by the environment in which it lives. Individuals from the hot, dry deserts of the far southwest only average about 25 lb (11.5 kg), but those in the northern forests can weigh up to 75 lb (34 kg). Coyotes are capable of running at speeds up to 65 km/hr and they can jump distances of up to 4 m.

Socially, coyotes live in a variety of arrangements. Some live alone, others in mated pairs, and others in packs, which may consist of one mated pair, their new young, and offspring from the previous season that have not yet left their parents. Packs are an advantage when preying on larger mammals such as deer, or defending food resources, territory, and themselves. Coyotes have been known to live a maximum of ten years in the wild and 18 years in captivity. Coyotes use auditory, visual, olfactory and tactile signals to communicate. They are the most vocal of all North American wild mammals, using 3 distinct calls (squeak, distress call and howl call) which consist of a quick series of yelps, followed by a falsetto howl. Howling may act to announce where territories are to other packs. Coyotes also howl when two or more members of a pack re-unite and to announce to each other their location. Their sight is less developed and is used primarily to note movement. They have acute hearing and sense of smell. They use stumps, posts, bushes or rocks as "scent posts" on which they urinate and defecate, possibly to mark territory. Coyotes are very good swimmers but poor climbers.

Coyotes serves as hosts for a number of diseases, including rabies. They are considered a threat to poultry, livestock, and crops. Coyotes may also compete with hunters for deer, rabbits, and other game species. Coyotes help to control some agricultural pests, such as rodents. Coyote pelts are also still collected and sold in some areas. On their conservation status, Coyotes are common and widespread because of their extraordinary adaptability.

About Tyrannosaurus Rex or T. Rex

Posted by WishbonE at 1:19 AM

Friday, October 17, 2008

About Tyrannosaurus Rex or T. Rex

One of the biggest predator and largest meat-eating dinosaurs, the Tyrannosaurus rex. It's name Tyrannosaurus meaning was "tyrant lizard" along with rex means "king". Fossil evidence shows that Tyrannosaurus was about 40 feet (12 meters) long and about 15 to 20 feet (4.6 to 6 meters) tall. Its strong thighs and long, powerful tail helped it move quickly, and its massive 5-foot-long (1.5-meter-long) skull could bore into prey. Everything about this ferocious predator, from its thick, heavy skull to its 4-foot-long (1.2-meter-long) jaw, was designed for maximum bone-crushing action.

Tyrannosaurus Rex or T. Rex lived during the late Cretaceous period, about 85 million to 65 million years ago. They lived in a humid, semi-tropical environment, in open forests with nearby rivers and in coastal forested swamps. The seasons were mild. Tyrannosaurus rex was a fierce predator that walked on two powerful legs. This meat-eater had a huge head with large, pointed, replaceable teeth and well-developed jaw muscles. It had tiny arms, each with two fingers. Each bird-like foot had three large toes, all equipped with claws (plus a little dewclaw on a tiny, vestigial fourth toe). T. rex had a slim, stiff, pointed tail that provided balance and allowed quick turns while running. T. rex's neck was short and muscular. Its body was solidly built but its bones were hollow. Fossilized specimens of T. rex's rough, scaly skin have been found. It was bumpy, like an alligator's skin, and has been described as a "lightly pebbled skin."

T. rex had large visual lobes in its brain that processed visual information. T. rex also had depth perception (since both eyes faced forwards on the front of its skull, and not placed on the sides), but it was not the only dinosaur that had depth perception. In general, predators (hunters) ofter have depth perception to help them hunt their prey. Animals that are hunted (like the plant-eating dinosaurs) usually have eyes located on the sides of their head (having no depth perception); this lets them see predators approaching from both sides. T. rex's brain had a very large area in the brain for processing odors. Tyrannosaurus had a stiff, pointed tail (like other Tetanurans [meaning "stiff tail"]). The tail was used as a counterbalance for its enormous head, for agility and for making quick turns.

About Hornbills / Bucerotidae

Posted by WishbonE at 1:48 AM

Friday, October 10, 2008

About Hornbills / Bucerotidae

Hornbills (family Bucerotidae) are very distinctive birds, characterized by a long, down-curved bill, sometimes with a casque on the upper mandible. The Bucerotidae include some 57 living species, about 10 of them endemic to the southern part of Africa. Their distribution ranges from Africa south of the Sahara through tropical Asia to the Philippines and Solomon Islands. Most are arboreal birds of dense forest, but the large ground-hornbills (Bucorvus), as their name implies, are terrestrial birds of open savanna. There are 54 species of Hornbills in the world. They comprise the order Bucerotiformes which is sub-divided into 2 families and 9 genera. Hornbills are strictly 'old world' birds meaning their range extends from Africa across India and Asia to Papua New Guinea. They do not occur in the Americas where a similar ecological niche of medium sized species is filled by Toucans. Hornbills come in a large range of sizes from the small Dwarf Red-billed Hornbill (Tockus camurus) weighing in at 111 grams to the Great Southern Ground Hornbill (Bucorvus leadbeateri) standing nearly 3 ft tall and weighing 4190 grams. Hornbills occupy a wide variety of habitat from the Namib Desert to the lushest S. E. Asian tropical rainforest. They have been known to mankind for a long time and feature in many ancient customs and myths. Also, the distinctive features given to their skulls by their large beaks and casques has resulted in these skulls being used in ceremonial head gear.

In ancient Rome they were known as Rhinoceros birds.
Hornbills are the only birds in which the first two vertebrae (the axis and atlas) are fused together. They are also the only bird with a two-lobed kidney - all other birds having a three-lobed kidney. 38-165 cm; bill very large, curved, sculptured, often with casque; bare skin of eye and throat brightly colored; "eyelashes;" wings strong; tail long; legs short; feet broad-soled, syndactyl;

Hornbills are omnivorous with a range of diets from almost wholly carnivorous to almost wholly frugivorous (fruit eating). The large Southern Ground Hornbill is almost entirely carnivorous, feeding on lizards, frogs and small mammals as well as other birds. The much smaller Monteiro's Hornbill (Tockus monteiri) is also virtually entirely carnivorous feeding extensively on insects. At the other end of this continuum, and of more average size are a number of species including the Great Pied Hornbill (Buceros bicornis) and the Narcondam Wreathed Hornbill (Aceros narcondami) which are predominantly frugivorous. Interestingly, all the savannah and steppe species are carnivorous whilst all the frugivorous species are forest dwellers. However, a number of Tockus species are forest dwellers yet primarily carnivorous (insectivorous). Hornbills eat a variety of food, from animals to fruits and seeds. They are omnivorous, eating both meat and fruit in their meals.

People hunt hornbills for food and as a treatment for ailments. The birds play an important role in the customs and traditions of local people. Their feathers, heads, and casques are valued. They are often adopted as local mascots or state birds.

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