Category: nature

teded:

Welcome to Earth Week on TED-Ed Tumblr! We’ll be sharing ways for you to be a more considerate resident of Planet Earth all week (that you can apply…all year!)

In honor of Earth Day, we took a few tips from Audubon on how to take action to protect birds! We’ve paired them with some of our favorite bird visuals from our TED-Ed Lessons <3

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1. Reduce or eliminate pesticide and herbicide use. By using few chemicals in and around your home, you will help keep birds, pets, and your family healthy.

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2. Plant native plants. Native flora provides birds with food in the form of fruit and seeds, and is home to tasty invertebrates like bugs and spiders.

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3. Identify the non-native invasive plants in your region, and work to remove them from your yard. And don’t bring any new invasives into your backyard! Invasives don’t provide as much good food or habitat as natives do, and can threaten healthy ecosystems.

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4. Attract hummingbirds with sugar water, made by combining four parts hot water to one part white sugar, boiled for one to two minutes. Never use honey, artificial sweeteners, or food coloring. Clean hummingbird feeders with a solution of one part white vinegar to four parts water once a week.

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5. Make your windows visible to birds to prevent crashes. Put up screens, close drapes and blinds when you leave the house, or stick multiple decals on the glass (decals need to be no more than two to four inches apart to be effective).

And here are some TED-Ed Lessons to watch for the love of the birds:

Bird migration, a perilous journey – Alyssa Klavans

How do birds learn to sing? – Partha Mitra

How did feathers evolve? – Carl Zimmer

Love the Earth, and the Earth will love you back! Happy Earth Week!

Artwork & Animation above by Artrake Studio, Lisa LaBracio + Tara Sunil Thomas, & Compote Collective.

Today is Bird Day! Here are some ways to make the planet a happier place for all the birdies of the world!

teded:

teded:

What flies through the night, silently guarding and protecting our world from evil? Batman? Try…a bat. Like Batman, bats are widely misunderstood and vilified. Not only do bats eat pesky insects like mosquitoes and crop pests, they disperse seeds and pollinate plants, and have even inspired the design for robotic airplanes. Help dispel the myth that bats are dangerous villains and spread the word why they, instead, deserve a hero’s welcome – and our protection.

From the TED-Ed Lesson I’m Batman – Amy Wray

Animation by TED-Ed

Today is Bat Appreciation Day!

Help us spread the good word, and check out the TED-Ed Lesson I’m Batman – Amy Wray

teded:

teded:

What flies through the night, silently guarding and protecting our world from evil? Batman? Try…a bat. Like Batman, bats are widely misunderstood and vilified. Not only do bats eat pesky insects like mosquitoes and crop pests, they disperse seeds and pollinate plants, and have even inspired the design for robotic airplanes. Help dispel the myth that bats are dangerous villains and spread the word why they, instead, deserve a hero’s welcome – and our protection.

From the TED-Ed Lesson I’m Batman – Amy Wray

Animation by TED-Ed

Today is Bat Appreciation Day!

Help us spread the good word, and check out the TED-Ed Lesson I’m Batman – Amy Wray

teded:

The 200 or so species of octopuses are mollusks belonging to the order Cephalopoda, Greek for ‘head-feet’. Those heads contain impressively large brains, with a brain to body ratio similar to that of other intelligent animals, and a complex nervous system with about as many neurons as that of a dog.

From the TED-Ed Lesson Why the octopus brain is so extraordinary – Cláudio L. Guerra

Animation by Cinematic

Happy World Octopus Day!

Learn more about these fascinating creatures, and then you’ll want to celebrate them….every day!!

teded:

In honor of World Elephant Day, we present you with 12 little known facts about one of our favorite creatures…in GIFs, of course.

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1. Elephants know every member of their herd and are able to recognize up to 30 companions by sight or smell. 

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2. They can remember and distinguish particular cues that signal danger and can recall locations long after their last visit.

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3. An elephant’s memory is not limited to its herd, nor is it limited to its species. In one instance, two circus elephants that performed together rejoiced when crossing paths 23 years later. Elephants have also recognized humans that they once bonded with after decades apart. 4. 

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4. The elephant boasts the largest brain of any land mammal as well as an impressive encephalization quotient (the size of the animal’s brain relative to its body size). The elephant’s EQ is nearly as high as a chimpanzee’s.

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5. The elephant brain is remarkably similar to the human brain, with as many neurons and synapses, as well as a highly developed hippocampus and cerebral cortex.

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6. Elephants are one of the few non-human animals to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.

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7. Elephants are creative problem solvers. 

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8. Don’t try to outsmart an elephant! They have an understanding of basic arithmetic and can even keep track of relative quantities.

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9. Elephants communicate using everything from body signals to infrared rumbles that can be heard from kilometers away. Their understanding of syntax suggests that they have their own language and grammar. 

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10. Elephants can recognize 12 distinct tones of music and recreate melodies.

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11. Elephants are the only non-human animals to mourn their dead, performing burial rituals and returning to visit graves. 

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12. Elephants are one of the few species who can recognize themselves in the mirror.

Given what we now know about elephants, and what they continue to teach us about animal intelligence, it is more important than ever to make sure that these magnificent creatures do not vanish.

Check out some more fun elephant facts here and be sure to watch the TED-Ed Lesson Why elephants never forget – Alex Gendler

Animation by the ever-talented Avi Ofer

It’s Elephant Appreciation Day! We are FULL of reasons to appreciate these majestic creatures – here are 12 of those reasons.

Check out some more fun elephant facts here and be sure to watch the TED-Ed Lesson Why elephants never forget – Alex Gendler

Animation by the ever-talented Avi Ofer

Despite an increase in awareness and advocacy across the globe, elephants are still a highly vulnerable population. Consider adopting an elephant or donating to one of many organizations that work to conserve elephant populations! <3

In fact, how do any toxic animals survive their own secretions? The answer is that they use one of two basic strategies: securely storing these compounds or evolving resistance to them. Snakes employ both strategies – they store their flesh-eating, blood-clotting compounds in specialized compartments that only have one exit: through the fangs and into their prey or predator and they have built-in biochemical resistance. Rattlesnakes and other types of vipers manufacture special proteins that bind and inactivate venom components in the blood.

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Poisonous and venomous animals aren’t the only ones that can develop this resistance: their predators and prey can, too. The garter snake, which dines on neurotoxic salamanders, has evolved resistance to salamander toxins through some of the same genetic changes as the salamanders themselves.

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That means that only the most toxic salamanders can avoid being eaten— and only the most resistant snakes will survive the meal. The result is that the genes providing the highest resistance and toxicity will be passed on in greatest quantities to the next generations.

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As toxicity ramps up, resistance does too, in an evolutionary arms race that plays out over millions of years. This pattern appears over and over again. Grasshopper mice resist painful venom from scorpion prey through genetic changes in their nervous systems. Horned lizards readily consume harvester ants, resisting their envenomed sting with specialized blood plasma. And sea slugs eat jellyfish nematocysts, prevent their activation with compounds in their mucus, and repurpose them for their own defenses.

From the TED-Ed Lesson Why don’t poisonous animals poison themselves? – Rebecca D. Tarvin

Animation by Giulia Martinelli

teded:

Today is World Oceans Day, a global day of ocean celebration and collaboration for a better future. A healthy world ocean is critical to our survival. Together, let’s honor, help protect, and conserve the world’s oceans!

1. While the Earth’s oceans are known as five separate entities, there is really only one ocean.

2. The ocean contains upwards of 99% of the world’s biosphere, that is, the spaces and places where life exists.

Both above GIFs are from the TED-Ed Lesson How big is the ocean? – Scott Gass

Animation by 20 steps

3. Jellyfish are soft because they are 95% water and are mostly made of a translucent gel-like substance called mesoglea. With such delicate bodies, jellyfish rely on thousands of venom-containing stinging cells called cnidocytes for protection and prey capture.

From the TED-Ed Lesson How does a jellyfish sting? – Neosha S Kashef

Animation by Cinematic

4. Plastics & litter that make their way into our oceans are swiftly carried by currents, ultimately winding up in huge circulating ocean systems called gyres. The earth has five gyres that act as gathering points, but the largest of all is known as the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ and has grown so immense that the oceanic garbage patch can shift from around the size of Texas, to something the size of the United States. 

From the TED-Ed Lesson The nurdles’ quest for ocean domination – Kim Preshoff

Animation by Reflective Films

5. The 200 or so species of octopuses are mollusks belonging to the order Cephalopoda, Greek for ‘head-feet’. Those heads contain impressively large brains, with a brain to body ratio similar to that of other intelligent animals, and a complex nervous system with about as many neurons as that of a dog.

From the TED-Ed Lesson Why the octopus brain is so extraordinary – Cláudio L. Guerra

Animation by Cinematic

6. Some lucky animals are naturally endowed with bioluminescence, or the ability to create light. The firefly, the anglerfish, and a few more surprising creatures use this ability in many ways, including survival, hunting, and mating.

From the TED-Ed Lesson The brilliance of bioluminescence – Leslie Kenna

Animation by Cinematic

7. Sea turtles ultimately grow from the size of a dinner plate to that of a dinner table. In the case of the leatherback sea turtle, this can take up to a decade. Happy World Turtle Day!

From the TED-Ed Lesson The survival of the sea turtle – Scott Gass

Animation by Cinematic Sweden

What? You thought we ran out of cannibalism stories? Nah….

Many fish indiscriminately cannibalize each other during foraging behavior. Fish produce large numbers of tiny young, and adults exhibit about as much individual recognition of their offspring as humans do for a handful of raisins. Fish eggs, larvae, and juveniles are easily available, nutrient-rich meals, and with thousands of eggs in a clutch, plenty are still available to hatch after the adults have snacked. 

Baby fish aren’t just at risk of being cannibalized by adults—siblings eat each other too.

For more cannibalistic creatures, check out the TED-Ed Lesson Cannibalism in the animal kingdom – Bill Schutt

Animation by Compote Collective

While it may seem counterproductive for members of the same species to eat each other, cannibalism can promote the survival of the species as a whole by reducing competition, culling the weak, and bolstering the strong.

Sand tiger shark eggs develop and hatch inside their mother’s oviducts at different times. When the hatchlings run out of yolk from their own eggs, they eat the other eggs and hatchlings until one baby shark from each oviduct remains. When they emerge, the young sharks are well-nourished, experienced predators who stand a better chance of surviving.

For more cannibalistic creatures, check out the TED-Ed Lesson Cannibalism in the animal kingdom – Bill Schutt

Animation by Compote Collective

Fun Freaky Fact Friday!

Some male mammals, including bears and lions, will kill offspring sired by another. That’s because childless females become receptive to mating more quickly than if they were caring for a cub. 

Rather than waste nutritious meat, the males then eat the dead cubs.

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For more cannibalistic creatures, check out the TED-Ed Lesson Cannibalism in the animal kingdom – Bill Schutt

Animation by Compote Collective