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Constantly on the nod, chinstrap penguins catch seconds-long bursts of sleep 10,000 times per day

Nearly all animals need some form of sleep to survive, but not all of them sleep in the same ways as humans. Take chinstrap penguins (Pygoscelis antarcticus), the adorable two-foot-plus waddling birds named for the distinctive and dignified black stripes at the bottoms of their heads, which are indigenous to the islands and shores of the Southern Pacific and Antarctic Oceans....

Originally posted on salon.com

These bat penises are so enormous, they can’t be used for penetrative sex, study finds

The shape and function of a penis is unique among some animals. Not every creature has one — birds, for example, simply eject sperm from their cloaca. But among male mammals, penises are widespread and quite useful for reproduction. If you need a refresher, the standard model of a penis is one that penetrates a female in order to spread biological material, continuing the cycle of life....

Originally posted on salon.com

A newly-discovered microbe that eats plastic in the cold is giving scientists hope

Currently, there is so much plastic junk in the ocean that a large garbage patch that is essentially an amorphous island twice as large as Texas that has been formed in the Pacific. When plastic isn’t clogging up our seas, it is creeping into our bodies: Microplastics, or particles five millimeters or less across or in length, have been found in human blood and breastmilk....

Originally posted on salon.com

Scientists once thought they understood how domestication worked. Now, they’re not so sure

Though dogs are so close genetically close to wolves that many taxonomists consider them to be a subspecies, most people wouldn’t let a wolf lick their hand as readily as a Shih Tzu. When animals are domesticated, as the dog was, their traits change; an artificial selection occurs over many generations, which, in the case of the dog, probably happened through unconscious selection bias among ancient humans and their canid hangers-on....

Originally posted on salon.com