Thursday, March 29, 2012

Many-legged Lilli

Meet Lilli, the six-legged calf from Switzerland. It appears that she can't use her two extra legs, but she's still pretty amazing, since her vet predicted that she wouldn't live long after birth. The farmer who owns her says that he couldn't euthanize her, despite the vet's dire predictions of a short life of suffering, because she was just so full of life. And now the Swiss love her for the same reason: in a recently televised video, she leapt and frolicked her way into their hearts. She'll probably never produce milk because her odd appendages have deformed her spine, but, if her run of good health continues, she'll join her bovine friends in the lovely mountain pastures of Switzerland this summer. Remember her this summer as you stray over the grass!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Bower of Love

This lovely, twiggy tunnel was created by a bird, if you can believe it. The Bowerbird, found most commonly in New Guinea and Australia, is nature's architect and interior designer, all rolled into one. The male is most famous for fashioning an intricate nest and carefully arranging the decor around the entrance of the nest to attract mates. They collect all manner of beautiful things from their environment -- shells, lovely stones, butterfly wings -- and  set them around their nests in a very precise way until they are satisfied they have achieved the maximum of attractiveness. The photo here is a kind of tunnel that certain kinds of Bowerbirds build; scientists have recently discovered that the tunnel seems to achieve a kind of optical illusion that makes the male appear larger than he is. Read the story here: An architect, interior decorator, and a magician!