Tuesdays with Turtles – Right Flipperedness Edition

Across a population studied by scientists, more turtles preferred to use their right rear flipper rather than their left when laying eggs.The result, published in the journal Behavioural Brain Research, is the first time a species of turtle has found to prefer one limb over another.The discovery adds to growing evidence that even lower vertebrates prefer to use one side of the body more often.Such preference is known by scientists as a “lateralised functional behaviour”, and it usually indicates that an animal's brain function is also lateralised, with one side of the brain dominating control of certain tasks.

via BBC – Earth News – Turtles are ‘right-flippered’.

Ha, just when you thought Tuesdays with Turtles was gone, it is Tuesday (here in Canada) and a sea turtle post. Turns out, leatherbacks, the biggest of ths sea turtles and critically endangered tend to be right flippered while on land and laying eggs. A slight predilection to right sidedness runs all the way down to reptiles. It is 54%-46%, which does not seem like much, but the report indicates that among humans, it is the same once you control for a cultural right hand bias!

Anyway, got to love those sexy beasts, even if they’re right flippered, right Ned?

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Monkeys kill Delhi deputy mayor


This is seriously screwed up. I went to school (both undergrad and grad school) on a forested campus where an open dorm room window meant a thorough ransacking by monkeys, who for some reason really loved after-shave! They are aggressive little beasts, though (too much lead exposure on Delhi’s roads?). And apparently, they can cause human deaths.

BBC NEWS | South Asia | Monkeys kill Delhi deputy mayor:

“The deputy mayor of the Indian capital Delhi died on Sunday after being attacked by a horde of wild monkeys.

SS Bajwa suffered serious head injuries when he fell from the first-floor terrace of his home on Saturday morning trying to fight off the monkeys.

Monkeys are (and have been) a public health menace in Delhi. Now, they’ve gone too far and claimed a politician’s life. Maybe this will be the wake up call for a round up effort.


The Blue Marble: Indian Crocodiles Guard Dwindling Forests

This is an interesting and good side effect of releasing captive bred crocodiles back into the wild.

The Blue Marble: Indian Crocodiles Guard Dwindling Forests

Dozens of crocodiles bred in captivity in eastern India are protecting their endangered counterparts. Newly released into the wild, these giants are scaring away poachers bent on illegal fishing and timber harvesting in mangrove forests in the states of Orissa and West Bengal, reports Reuters. The disappearing mangroves have led to a steep decline in wild croc numbers, from several thousand a century ago to less than 100 in the early 1970s. But the same species has bred well in captivity and is now being used to solve its own problem. “The swelling number of released crocodiles in the wild is working as a deterrent and keeping people away from the mangrove as villagers are more cautious before venturing into the forests,” said Rathin Banerjee, a senior wildlife official. “Unlike guard dogs, crocodiles cannot be tamed and are ferocious and can attack anyone in the swamps.” .