Tag: Manufactured Animals

discus breed fish

Taste the Artificial Fish Rainbow

A gorgeously uncanny school of discus fish cluster in an aquarium, all of them captive breeds. Though there’s nothing unusual about artificially selecting animals for flamboyant or bizarre traits, it’s still compelling to see such a lovely display of manmade biodiversity. Some of these discus strains are the result of “natural” hybridization between fish from different geographic locations, while others are the result of random mutations and intense inbreeding.

Photo via Practical Fish Keeping.


Scientists Implant False Memory in Mice

Manipulations of the mind that were once the terrain of futuristic fantasy are now one step closer to becoming reality. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology  successfully implanted a false memory in the brain of a mouse, an idea that is reminiscent of science-fiction movie.
Researchers were able to generate a false memory and study its neural and behavioral interactions with true memories. Read more

Screen shot 2013-07-03 at 3.58.53 PM
Manufactured Animals

Swans Float through Flooded Streets

In this peculiar image, swans float down a flooded street in Worcester, UK. A jarring sight to human observers, the swan’s blithe adoption of a new habitat illustrates the fact that most creatures don’t care about the differences between nature and culture. Via The Times.


Food Familiarization #1: Semantic Tricks

This is the first in a series of case studies that examine the different ways new foods become naturalized parts of our diets. Why is this important? Promoting the consumption of insect, plant and in-vitro protein is an increasingly vital component of addressing global food and environmental concerns. Despite this, convincing consumers to abandon steaks and chicken nuggets remains a daunting task. 

When is a Patagonia toothfish not a Patagonian toothfish? When it’s a Chilean sea bass. In the first principle of food familiarization, semantic tricks are used to place strange food in a context where it feels familiar, alluring, or healthful. In the infamous example of Dissostichus eleginoides, an ugly fish with an ugly name was rebranded as the sexy-sounding Chilean sea bass.

Read more

Back to the Tribe

Are Hawaiian Monk Seals Natural? Not According to Some Hawaiians

Like pandas, Hawaiian monk seals are loved by many for their cute, cuddly appearance. And like pandas, the species is close to becoming extinct. With only 1,100 Hawaiian monk seals left in the world, scientists predict the seal is going to disappear in 50 to 100 years. Their extinction is only being accelerated by a spate of mysterious killings. According to a fascinating detective story over at the New York Times Magazine:

“Many in Hawaii were convinced that the entire history of the monk seal is based on a lie. Because the species was eradicated in the mains so long ago, people have lived on Kauai their entire lives without seeing a single monk seal until recently. Traditional Hawaiian knowledge carries great authority on the islands, and in every cranny of the culture where you’d expect to see monk seals, people saw none […] The logical explanation, for many, was that the seal wasn’t actually native to Hawaii, that the government had brought the animals, in secret, to create jobs for scientists and push its environmentalist agenda…”.

Read more about seal murders the New York Times. Photo via National Geographic.