Orange Tree Frog and Mozzies, Cedar Bay, Queensland.

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Image Credit: Photograph by Matthew McIntosh, Australian Geographic Exhibition
Matthew McIntosh captured this winning image of an orange-eye tree frog with mosquitoes feeding at Cedar Bay National Park in Queensland, while on a road trip from Townsville to Cooktown.
Matthew’s photo has won the 2016 Australian Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year competition.
Supplied: Australian Geographic
Source: Matthew McIntosh_Australian Geographic exhibition – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Yoda Fruit Bat found in New Guinea Rainforest.

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A tube-nosed fruit bat with an appearance reminiscent of the Star Wars Jedi Master Yoda has been discovered in a remote rainforest.
The bat, along with an orange spider and a yellow-spotted frog are among a host of new species found in a region of Papua New Guinea.
More than 200 animals and plants were revealed for the first time after two months of surveying in the rugged and little-explored Nakanai and Muller mountain ranges last year.
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Looks familiar: The creature bears more than a passing resemblance to the Star Wars Jedi Master Yoda
The findings included two mammals, 24 species of frog, nine plants, nearly 100 new insects including damselflies, crickets and ants, and around 100 spiders.
They were uncovered by two scientific teams co-ordinated by Conservation International’s rapid assessment programme, in partnership with Papua New Guinea’s Institute for Biological Research and conservation organisation A Rocha International.
The teams explored different altitudes of the forest-cloaked Nakanai mountains, which host cave systems and some of the world’s largest underground rivers, and the Muller range, accessing the remote areas by plane, dinghy, on foot and even by helicopter.
via Bat resembling Star Wars Yoda discovered in Papua New Guinea rainforest | Mail Online.

Riff Ratt and Osiris, Chicago.

Riff2When taxidermist Mickey Alice Kwapis saved a 4-week-old rat from becoming snake food at a reptile shop, she did not expect that this would be the beginning of an unlikely friendship.
When Riff Ratt first arrived in his new home, he needed to be bottle-fed and nursed back to health.
During his feeding sessions, Kwapis’ dog Osiris would sit by his side and carefully lick extra milk off the tiny rat.
Osiris is a Dutch shepherd therapy dog who has helped his owner rehabilitate countless homeless animals.
“We’ve trained him to be really, really gentle. He responds to the word ‘gentle,'” Kwapis stated to DNAinfo Chicago. “He’s the sweetest dog, and he’s been great with other animals.
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When Riff Ratt turned 3-months-old, the two animals proved their mutual trust as Osiris let his miniature companion crawl into his mouth and clean his teeth.
Since then, the incredible friends have become viral stars, thanks to their detailed Instagram account.
“Riff Ratt really likes licking the inside of Osiris’ mouth. I’m sure you all are wondering if we’re afraid Osiris will eat Riff – NOPE!
Osiris has helped foster and care for dozens of animals and he is the gentlest dog I’ve ever met,” writes Kwapis.
Read on and see more Images via Gentle Therapy Dog and Adorable Rescue Rat Become Unlikely Best Friends – My Modern Met.

A Happy Frog and Smiling Owl.

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This frog appears to have a big smile for the camera in Russia.
Photograph: Artyom Krivosheev/Barcroft Images

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See more images via The Comedy Wildlife Photography awards – in pictures | World news | The Guardian

Lion’s Mane Jellyfish, Scotland.

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The winning images in the 2016 British Wildlife Photography Awards have been selected from thousands of entries.
The overall winning photograph was by George Stoyle and was a picture of a Lion’s Mane jelylfish taken off the Scottish island of Hirta. / BWPA.
See more images via In pictures: A celebration of British wildlife – BBC News

Is the Octopus the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent Alien?

‘Islands of mental complexity in a sea of invertebrate animals’ … Inky the octopus at the New Zealand National Aquarium. Photograph: New Zealand National Aquarium
‘Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs / Upon the slimy sea.” Coleridge’s lines evoke those Precambrian depths where sensate life first stirred, and which remain lodged atavistically in our collective imaginations.
Perhaps that’s why we look on the octopus as an eldritch (strange)  other, with its more-than-the usual complement of limbs, bulbous eyes, seeking suckers and keratinous beaks voraciously devouring anything in its slippery path.
Peter Godfrey-Smith’s brilliant book entirely overturns those preconceptions. Cephalopods – octopuses, squids and nautiluses – “are an island of mental complexity in the sea of invertebrate animals”, he writes, having developed on a different path from us, “an independent experiment in the evolution of large brains and complex behaviour”.
This is why they present themselves as a fascinating case study to Godfrey-Smith, who is a philosopher of science – because of what can be learned from them about the minds of animals, including our own.
His book stands alongside such recent works as Hal Whitehead and Luke Rendell’s The Cultural Lives of Whales and Dolphins as evidence of new and unconstrained thinking about the species with which we share our watery planet.
Unlike cetaceans – whose sentience it is possible to imagine, partly because they demonstrate our mammalian connections so vividly and physically – cephalopods are entirely unlike us. “If we can make contact with cephalopods as sentient beings, it is not because of a shared history, not because of kinship, but because evolution built minds twice over,” says Godfrey-Smith.
“This is probably the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien.” The fact that they have eight legs, three hearts, and blue-green blood allies them more with The Simpsons’ gloopy extra-terrestrials than anything earthly.‘
Source: Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith review – the octopus as intelligent alien | Books | The Guardian