Weird & Wacky Animal Noises

For the most part, we know that dogs bark, ducks quack, and birds tweet. But what about other creatures in the animal kingdom? Like humans, animals have developed their own ways to talk each other. Yet, some species have developed some pretty strange sounds for communication.  Whether these sounds are the equivalent of warnings or mating calls, they all sound a lot different than we would imagine. From cheetahs to foxes, we’ve compiled some of our favorites here.

cheetah

Chirping Cheetahs

Cheetahs are part of the same family of felines that include our common house cats. But they’re also the fastest land animals in the world, with the ability to reach maximum sprinting speeds of 64 mph. While they don’t meow like our average tabby cat, cheetahs don’t exactly roar like lions either. In fact, cheetahs chirp quite similarly to birds. Their inability to roar is due to their lack of thyroid bone in their throats. To hear a clip, click here.

Caterwauling Koalas

While they’re called koala bears, koalas are actually marsupials. Most people know that koalas originated from Australia, but a lesser known fact is that mature male koalas exude a dark, sticky substance from glands in their chests that they rub onto trees to indicate their territory. Like most wild animals, males are extremely territorial, and they can become aggressive when they feel threatened or provoked. When a koala is angered, they make screeching noises that sound like this.

Howling Wolf Mouse

It’s a common misconception that wolves how at the moon. In reality, it’s pure coincidence that the moon is present when wolves attempt to communicate with each other. The fact that wolves are nocturnal animals is the more likely reason behind why the moon is often present when they howl. Howling isn’t restricted to only wolves though, because the wolf mouse doesit too. Check out this mouse, making quite a racket, here.

rhinoBleating Baby Rhinos

Generally speaking, baby animals are almost impossible to resist. This holds true for baby rhinos too. At the moment, three out of the five remaining rhino species are considered critically endangered. Humans, by far, are the greatest threat to their survival. Poachers illegally kill rhinos and take their horns to trade on the black market. In this clip here, two rescued rhinos babies, whose mother was killed by poachers, beg for food.

What weird animal sounds did we miss? Let us know in the comments.

Just for kicks, since we’re on the topic of animal sounds, check out this cool infographic that shows you how animals sound in different languages! View it here.

This Month in STEM: September 2014

September is wrapping up, and we’ve got your monthly STEM news! Here are some of our favorite stories.

The Animal Kingdom IconAnimal Kingdom

Researchers have discovered a brand new species of poison dart frog in Donoso, Panama. At 12.7 millimeters in length, the freshly dubbed Andinobates geminisae is tiny enough to fit on a fingernail and is distinguishable by its unique call and smooth, bright orange-colored skin. Scientists believe that habitat loss is a significant issue of concern for these newly found frogs, as it appears to only be found in scarce regions of the Panama rain forest. To guarantee the survival of their species, the creation of special conservation plans have been recommended. Read more here.

Under the Sea IconUnder the Sea

Several groups of fish in Antarctica have developed the ability to manufacture their own “antifreeze” proteins in their blood that help them survive in the icy Southern Ocean. Unfortunately, it appears that this evolutionary survival tactic has created some undesirable consequences. Researchers have discovered that the same temperature regulation proteins are helping internal ice crystals that accumulate inside the fish resist melting, even when the temperatures warm. Read more here.

Extreme Weather IconExtreme Weather

At least 36 people have been killed following the unanticipated eruption of Mount Ontake, Japan’s second largest active volcano. The eruption is believed to have stemmed from a kind of steam-driven explosion that scientists say are especially difficult to predict. Ontake had a minor eruption in 2007, but it’s first major recorded eruption was in 1979. Japan is considered by seismologists to be a hotbed of seismic activity. Read more here.

Medical Innovations IconMedical Innovations

Each year, over 2.5 million children die worldwide because they do not receive life-saving vaccinations. To combat this global issue, researchers at Michigan State University are currently developing a fingerprint-based recognition system that has the potential to save babies’ lives through vaccination tracking. Vaccinations are normally tracked by paper documentation. However, keeping track of babies’ vaccinations on paper is highly ineffective in developing countries because they are easily lost or destroyed. Researchers are hoping that, over time, the new electronic registry systems will fix the issues of lacking and lost patient information in third world countries. Read more here.

Robotics IconSpace

Water is crucial for sustaining biological life. Consequently, scientists believe that finding the original source of Earth’s water is crucial for understanding how life-fostering environments are created, as well as estimating the likelihood of finding other environments that have the potential to hold life. Scientists at the Carnegie Institution now believe that the water found on Earth is older than the Sun, and originated in interstellar space. Read more here.

Video Games IconTechnology

Harry Potter fans likely dream of owning an Invisibility Cloak. They may be excited to learn, then, that researchers at the University of Rochester, in New York, have discovered innovative new ways to use complex lenses to hide objects from view, in a process called cloaking. The so-called “Rochester Cloak” is realistically not cloak-like at all. Nonetheless, the cloaking device has been able to successfully make a hand, face, and a ruler disappear from view. Earlier versions of cloaking devices have been complicated and financially unfeasible. This new device breaks the mold, costing researchers little more than $1,000 in materials. The implications for these types of devices are broad, and researchers believe that they can be applied everywhere, from health care to the military. Read more here.

Okay STEM lovers, what stories did you enjoy? What stories did we miss this month? We want to hear your thoughts!

Escape the Cubicle: Study STEM

Businesswoman reviewing paperwork at deskThere’s hardly a lack of evidence these days that desk jobs can be killers. Sitting at a desk all day can have adverse effects on health, productivity, and creativity. So if our work environments make large contributions to our health and success, how can we arm the next generation with tools to avoid the monotony of the 9-5 grind? The answer lies in four little letters: S-T-E-M.

Within the STEM community, there is a broad spectrum of potential jobs boasting offices in the most unexpected places. Whether on land or in the sea, STEM professionals have access to countless opportunities to explore and study the world. For a job description filled with challenge, excitement, and engagement, a STEM career may be a perfect fit.

Build Software on the Sea

cline_danelle1_underwater When thinking the term “software engineer,” many people conjure images of a professional hunched over a computer staring at algorithms or interfaces. You may know that a career in software engineering requires the ability to analyze problems from various angles and find multiple viable solutions. But did you also know that software engineers can work in a number of environments, including the sea? Just ask Danelle Cline, Software Engineer with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Whether out to sea to support her projects or sitting in a meeting room overlooking the ocean, her daily work environment is far from boring.

Software engineers work in a variety of fields—from aviation to medicine—and job growth is expected to increase by 30% within the next six years. The sizable salary is also a nice perk; software engineers in America make an average of $73,000 per year. Armed with a knack for problem solving, a creative spirit, and a curious mind, the software engineer can take his/her career almost anywhere.

Tour with Tornadoes

WurmanWorking as a meteorologist entails much more than predicting rainstorms and temperatures on the nightly news. As explained by Dr. Josh Wurman, Meteorologist and Storm Chaser, “a lot of my time is spent traveling, whether I am working on our own missions collecting data for tornadoes and hurricanes, or working on projects for other scientists.” The relative youth of this particular field of study means that opportunities for new research and experiments are varied and plentiful. Whether you want to chase storms or study climate change, there is a bright future for prospective meteorologists.

Boast an Office View of the Natural World

Coconut IslandSince biology is a blanket term for the study of all living organisms, a career as a biologist ensures widespread availability of diverse jobs and favorable fields of study. Whether you’re working to conserve endangered plants and animals in their natural habitats or researching gene expression and epigenetics from a lab on Gilligan’s Island, a career as a biologist oftentimes requires a great deal of contact with the natural world. With the continual meshing of scientific research and technology, a career in biology is a sure bet for innovation and job growth.

 

Earth, the Final Frontier

Space Earth, the final frontier.

I was greeted this morning by this article, which explains how NASA scientists have recreated the aurora borealis in a lab. Seeing as how witnessing the Northern Lights is at the top of my bucket list, I was automatically intrigued with the prospect of avoiding a trip to the North Pole. But avoiding the trip and reducing the size of my bucket list were not the only things this article got me thinking about.

By The High Fin Sperm Whale (Self-taken photo) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

By The High Fin Sperm Whale (Self-taken photo) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

It’s easy to wonder about things in the sky. The vastness of our atmosphere and the universe beyond it are as inviting to our imaginations as a blank canvas. As an adult I have grown into a space enthusiast, but even as a kid I was not exempt from endless star gazing, wishing on those that zipped across my line of sight.

Yet what about the things that are right here on earth? There is so much mystery that exists right in front of us if we have the eyes to see it. I admit that words like physics and geology (and even biology to a certain extent) used to invoke in me feelings of dread, but the more I learn about these fields of study, the more they intrigue me.

NASA scientists were able to recreate a beautiful atmospheric phenomenon using physical properties like magnetic force and charged particles. Science teachers have told me time and again about “the building blocks of our universe,” and an article like this provides a wonderful example of what this really means. Physics, geology, chemistry, biology—all of these subjects dance together to explain our world, our universe, and beyond.  Our planet and its components provide infinite possibilities for exploration and discovery.

I’ve said it before—I come from the place of a former sciencephobe. Yet in a way I credit my early aversion to science with a renewed sense of wonder in my adult years. I’m late to the science party, but now I am ready to rock! (get it?) So join the party by defending the following statement:

Earth, the final frontier.

By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons