Iguana Relative Shows How Lizards Spread Worldwide

An 80-million-year-old lizard discovered in southern Brazil has provided a surprising clue about how these reptiles evolved, and where they once lived, according to a new study.

Until now, researchers had found acrodontans only in the Old World, including Africa and Asia. (This is a type of lizard is called an iguanian that has teeth fused to the top of its jaws, a group that includes chameleons and bearded dragons.) But the newfound fossil, a partial lower jaw of a new species of acrodontan, shows that they lived in the New World much earlier than thought.

The fossil suggests that acrodontans managed to distribute themselves worldwide before the ancient supercontinent Pangaea broke up about 200 million years ago, the researchers said. [Image Gallery: 25 Amazing Ancient Beasts]

“This fossil is an 80-million-year-old specimen of an acrodontan in the New World,” study co-author Michael Caldwell, a biological sciences professor at the University of Alberta in Canada, said in a statement. “It’s a missing link in the sense of the paleobiogeography and possibly the origins of the group, so it’s pretty good evidence to suggest that back in the lower part of the Cretaceous, the southern part of Pangaea was still a kind of single continental chunk.”

The jaw, photographed from different angels, of Gueragama sulamerica.
Credit: Tiago Simoes and Adriano Kury

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Paleontologists discovered the fossil in the rock outcrops of desert that dates to the late Cretaceous in the Brazilian municipality of Cruzeiro do Oeste. The researchers named the new species Gueragama sulamericana — guera meaning “ancient” in native Brazilian; “agama” in reference to agamid, a family of iguanian lizards; and “sulamericana” meaning “from South America” in Portuguese.

The jaw is missing a few teeth, but has room for 18 of them, and the teeth almost uniformly increase in size from the front to the back of the mouth, the researchers found.

During the Late Cretaceous, G. sulamericana lived in an arid desert environment, although evidence of ancient wetlands suggests that water was available seasonably, the researchers said. G. sulamericana also had company. Other fossil findings, including “hundreds of bones” of the pterosaur species Caiuajara dobruskii, show that larger animals lived there, too, the researchers wrote in the study.

G. sulamericana may have lived in burrows to avoid extreme daytime heat, just as some modern lizards do today, the researchers added.

Surprise finding

Among living lizards, iguanians comprise one of the most diverse groups, with more than 1,700 species. Previous research has found that acrodontan iguanians dominated the Old World, and nonacrodontan iguanians (such as iguanas) dominated the New World, particularly the American South, Caldwell said.

The oldest known acrodontans are from the early to middle Jurassic period in present-day India. However, now researchers know that acrodontans had spread elsewhere in the world by the late Cretaceous, the researchers said.

“This Gueragama sulamericana fossil indicates that the group is old, that it’s probably southern Pangaean in its origin,” Caldwell said. “After the [Pangaean] breakup, the acrodontans and chameleon group dominated in the Old World, and the iguanid side arose out of this acrodontan lineage that was left alone on South America.”

Eventually, nonacrodontans replaced acrodontans in the Americas. But nonacrodontans remain as natives in the Old World, the researchers said.

“This is an Old World lizard in the New World at a time when we weren’t expecting to find it,” Caldwell said. “It answers a few questions about iguanid lizards and their origin.”

STEPS TO FOLLOW WHILE GETTING YOUR PET A PET INSURANCE

steps-to-follow-while-getting-your-pet-a-pet-insuranceWe get a knock out of the chance to know the nuts and bolts of pet protection since it is imperative. However, how about we return to the fundamental purpose of this article? How does pet protection work? It is truly basic, and it can be separated into three stages.

Step 1 – Get Proper Treatment From The Vet

In the case of something happens, and your pet needs therapeutic consideration, take them to the vet.

Step 2 – File a Claim

Every organization has its own procedure for recording claims, yet ordinarily, you can download the case structure from the organization’s site, round it out, and attach the receipts while sending it to the vet office.

Step 3 – Get Reimbursed

Most pet protection arranges have diverse levels of repayment that you can look over, contingent upon the sum you are willing to spend every month. When you present your case, the insurance agency will repay you in five to 14 business days.

It is not a muddled procedure, but rather you ought to ensure you pick an insurance agency that will truly deal with you and your pet.

Things to ask About Pet Insurance

As you are searching for pet protection, there are a few inquiries you ought to request that ensure you discover an organization that addresses your issues.

Will you utilize your present vet?

Great pet insurance agencies do permit you to utilize any authorized vet in the United States, and some will even cover visits in Canada. That way, in case you are going with your pet, and something happens, you can, in any case, record a case.

Do insurance agencies repay what the vet charges?

Yes. There are not any profit cut-off points or additional expenses, however, the repayment sum relies on upon the level you looked over the starting. Commonly, you can pick repayment measures of nd even, yet these levels will influence your month to month premium.

Do you need to pay additional for inherited, intrinsic, or endless conditions to be secured?

Usually, the response to this is no. If it’s not, then you ought to investigate other pet insurance agencies.

Are prior conditions secured?

Similarly, as with most insurance agencies, prior conditions are not secured. You may run over the uncommon insurance agency that will cover previous conditions.

Does the approach of routine check up considerate?

Here’s the place you must be cautious: some insurance agencies will cover routine consideration, yet they won’t cover much for real episodes, for example, surgery. The best pet insurance agencies do not cover routine consideration since they are intended to cover the costly care alternatives.

Using Animal Control To Get Rid Of Unwanted Critters

Animal Control in Carlsbad, CA is responsible for dealing with most of the animal related disturbances for San Diego County, including all of the incorporated and unincorporated areas within. But you may be at a loss if you should contact the City of Carlsbad, who contracts with the County of San Diego for animal control services, or if you should contact the county itself. Here are a few guidelines you can follow to make sure that you are contacting the right department, as well as ensuring that you are not putting yourself in any unnecessary risk.

If you are just looking to adopt a pet, license one you have already, or any other pet matter that is unrelated to a disturbance you should contact the County of San Diego directly. They operate three shelters, including the one in Carlsbad, so you should not have to contact animal control in Carlsbad at all for any peaceful inquiries. Carlsbad animal control is mostly responsible for dealing with animal disturbances that pose an immediate threat to people or animals. So be sure to ask yourself how urgent your inquiry is, and that should help guide you to the correct organization.

A situation requiring animal control assistance would be suspected abuse to an animal in your neighborhood. If you here constant barking, or desperate shrieks from a nearby cat then you may need to call Carlsbad Animal Control. You should not do any private sleuthing to investigate the situation. First of all, an abused animal can typically display violent tendencies, so you may not want to pose yourself as an intruder.

Secondly, you do not want to risk your credibility by having your neighbor call the police on you for trying to “rescue” his pet. Carlsbad Animal Control employs highly trained individuals who have been primed to investigate such occurrences and determine if any abuse has occurred, and take the animal away from its owner if any danger is posed to it. Always trust the professionals to take care of the problems in their field.

If a dead animal is found on the road then you should contact the City of Carlsbad. Dead animals are not just smelly and unsightly, they can also spread disease. Do not attempt to remove the animal yourself, because you probably do not know for sure what killed it and if it poses any danger to you. Once again, just let the professionals who are paid to take care of this problem remove it for you.

Another major problem can be wild dogs roaming the area. A wild dog can be extremely dangerous, so Carlsbad Animal Control should be contacted. Many of these animals have been abused and are very afraid of people, so any attempt to scare the dog into leaving may backfire, prompting the dog to attack you in defense.

In addition, a wild dog has no way of receiving regular vaccinations, so there is a chance that it could be infected with rabies. Animal Control has the necessary training and tools to safely remove the dog, and wild dog removal should never be attempted without their assistance. And, though they may be a terrible nuisanceFree Articles, Animal Control in Carlsbad is not supposed to respond to a skunk in the backyard or an opossum. So make sure you have a genuine emergency before calling.

The Cute and Complicated Science of Raising Twin Pandas

The little panda was cold, low energy and having trouble breathing before its heart stopped beating. But the zoo baby left an indelible mark on its caretakers and admirers before it died, just days after being born to mother Mei Xiang, along with its brother. During its short life, the twin rode atop a lacrosse stick, snuggled with its mother and fed from a bottle, the last of which may have led to its demise.

The final necropsy results aren’t complete, but the butter-stick-size panda likely died when fluid got into its lungs and caused inflammation, a condition called aspiration pneumonia. Veterinarians are unsure whether the cub got the condition during a bottle-feeding blunder or from formula it regurgitated, said Dr. Donald Neiffer, the chief veterinarian at Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

“Whether or not the baby aspirated some of that [regurgitated] material or whether he aspirated material earlier in the day, we don’t know, and we will never know,” Neiffer told Live Science. [See Photos of Mei Xiang’s New Twin Panda Cubs]

Express delivery

The pink and fuzzy cubs are part of a delicate plan, orchestrated on an international level, to preserve the giant panda species and, one day, introduce captive-bred pandas back into the wild. Just 1,864 giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) exist in the wild, according to a 2015 panda census. An additional 395 of the roly-poly fur balls live in breeding centers and zoos around the world, said Devin Murphy, a spokesperson for Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

Wild panda numbers increased by about 17 percent in the past decade, according to the 2015 census. American zoos are doing their part to breed and raise the animals, all on loan from China. Right now, there are 13 giant pandas in U.S. zoos, including San Diego Zoo, Memphis Zoo, Zoo Atlanta and the National Zoo.

The new twins were born to Mei Xiang (may-SHONG), the star mother at the National Zoo. Mei Xiang, whose name means “beautiful fragrance,” has three surviving offspring, including Tai Shan (born in 2005), who now lives in China; Bao Bao (born in 2013), who lives at the National Zoo; and the surviving panda twin, which will be named this autumn.The second-retrieved cub squirms as a team examines its weight, length, mouth, heart rate and breathing.

Credit: Pamela Baker-Masson, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

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Each pregnancy is a carefully timed operation, as female pandas are only fertile for about two days a year. (Finding that fertile window can be tricky.) Mei Xiang didn’t go into estrus in 2014, because she was still nursing Bao Bao. But this year, the zoo’s endocrinologists began monitoring the panda’s hormones, a glamorous job that consists of analyzing panda urine on a weekly basis, Murphy said.

Zookeepers have also done their part to encourage Mei Xiang to mate naturally with Tian Tian (t-YEN t-YEN), a male giant panda at the National Zoo, but “unfortunately, our pandas have never figured out how to successfully breed,” said Laurie Thompson, a giant panda biologist at Smithsonian’s National Zoo. “They both have positioning issues, so we always have had to artificially inseminate her.”

So, as Mei Xiang’s urinary estrogen levels spiked, zookeepers kept an express delivery of semen on hand from potential father Hui Hui (h-WEI h-WEI), a genetically diverse match, who hails from the Chinese Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Sichuan. And to increase the likelihood of a pregnancy, veterinarians supplemented the sample with fresh semen from Tian Tian. On April 26 and 27, veterinarians artificially inseminated Mei Xiang.

“Then, we waited,” Murphy told Live Science. “Since pandas have delayed implantation, we just had to wait it out to see when she would start exhibiting behaviors consistent with a pregnancy or pseudopregnancy.” During such false pregnancies, a female panda can snooze a lot, craft bamboo nests, and even cradle foods and toys as if they were real cubs — making it nearly impossible for zookeepers to know if there’s a fetus in the panda’s belly.

Then, on Aug. 19, an ultrasound revealed a fetus, and zoo staff began a 24-hour watch for a delivery. Shortly after, on the morning of Aug. 22, Mei Xiang went into labor. [In Photos: Giant Panda Mei Xiang Gives Birth]

Twin birth

The first cub popped out at 5:35 p.m. EDT.

“I believe there was a cheer and high-fiving,” said Thompson, who was watching the panda cam with colleagues in another room.

Mei Xiang looked so calm that Thompson emailed the zoo’s panda team, saying it didn’t appear that a twin was on the way. But at 10:07 p.m., Mom surprised everyone by delivering a second cub.

Zookeeper Shellie Pick cares for the smaller panda cub in the incubator on Aug. 24. At the time, Pick was weighing the cub, stimulating it to go to the bathroom and taking its temperature.
Credit: Heather Roberts, Smithsonian’s National Zoo

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“When they’re born, they come out screaming, so there was a little, squealy thing on the ground, and she [Mei Xiang] had one that she was already holding,” Thompson said. “She was figuring out how to pick up the second one without dropping the first one, and she wasn’t really able to do it.”

Immediately, the zookeepers began to follow a “twin protocol” used by panda experts in the United States and China. The caretakers dressed in scrubs, approached Mei Xiang’s den and grabbed the squirmy cub that was on the ground — the larger of the twins.

Newborn cubs can’t regulate their own temperature, so zookeepers put the cub in a heated and humidified incubator, said panda-keeper Juan Rodriguez. Then, they did a medical checkup, and put the cub they’d retrieved to bed in the incubator.

Newborn cubs feed every 2 hours, so the zookeepers prepared for a cub swap. They put the larger twin on the ground about 3 feet (1 meter) away from Mei Xiang. When she heard it crying, she put down the smaller twin, allowing zookeepers to whisk that cub away after Mei Xiang picked up its brother. Soon, the smaller twin was in the incubator and then getting a medical checkup.

“The little one was really feisty,” Rodriguez said. “He tried to jump out of the scale area. We had to wrap him up like a burrito to get a good weight on him.”

The panda team was tired, but the twins were doing well.

Lacrosse-stick solution

The swaps went without a hitch, until Aug. 24, when a curious thing happened: Whenever zookeepers would put a squealing cub on the ground near Mei Xiang, she wouldn’t retrieve it. Instead, she would act as if the cub in her possession were crying, and tend to it.

The lacrosse stick that the panda team used to help swap the panda twins.
Credit: Smithsonian’s National Zoo

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“We had to change the process a little bit,” Rodriguez told Live Science. “We had to bring the cub closer, so she could actually visualize it a little bit better and realize, ‘Oh, this is the cub that’s crying, not the one on me.'”

Zookeepers couldn’t enter Mei Xiang’s den, for safety reasons — after all, she’s still an undomesticated, protective mamma bear, Rodriguez said. [Baby Panda Photos: See a Cub Growing Up]

Surprisingly, a lacrosse stick did the trick. The panda team covered the lacrosse-stick net with brown paper (so the cub’s feet wouldn’t get stuck in the netting) and held it out to Mei Xiang, so she could see the crying cub. Then, a member of the panda team stuck a hand into a hole in the den’s wall, felt around for Mom’s right armpit (where she usually tucked the cubs) and removed the other twin.

It was an unnerving situation.

“Your arm is in there with the bear,” Rodriguez said.

Luckily, in her post-pregnancy haze, Mei Xiang was largely oblivious to the outside world, focusing most of her attention on the cub. Even so, each swap required three to four people, each of whom received training, Murphy said.

The lacrosse-stick method helped the swaps proceed, allowing the team to continue switching the cubs between the incubator and Mom, Rodriguez said.

Last days

Until the panda team developed the lacrosse-stick method, they couldn’t always switch the twins on time. During one long stint in the incubator on Aug. 24, the little panda twin needed fluids and nutrients. So, the panda team fed it with a handheld bottle holding formula made from water, and human and puppy formula, Neiffer said.

“We noticed that he was having some trouble with the nipples, a little bit of troubling swallowing. The milk was pooling up in his throat,” Neiffer said. “And we worry about aspiration of that material into the lungs. It’s one of our biggest concerns.”

Feeding baby animals is as challenging as it is gratifying, and usually involves two to three people, he said.

“With small mammals and birds, you can be the most talented and excellent bottle feeder, and you can have these [aspirations] occur,” Neiffer said. “If the baby is literally sucking a drop of milk from a bottle and decides it’s going to squirm or vocalize, and that drop falls into the trachea, even a small amount can start a pretty significant reaction.”

To be cautious, the caretakers started the cub on antibiotics that target respiratory tissue. Neiffer described it as a catch-22 situation: “We’re trying to get enough calories into cub to survive, but at the same time don’t want to cause any problems,” he said.

They attempted another twin swap that night, but it was not successful. On the way back to the incubator, the little cub regurgitated, and formula came out of his mouth, again raising concerns about aspiration.

Finally, at about 2 p.m. on Aug. 25, the zookeepers successfully swapped the cubs again. The little cub stayed with Mom until the next morning — its last day living on Earth. [Butter Balls: Photos of Playful Pandas]

The end

The panda team quickly realized the little twin had not increased in weight, appeared weaker and less vocal, and had possible respiratory issues.

The zookeepers placed the cub in the incubator, but “all through the morning until the baby died, we had a lot of challenges with keeping the baby’s body temperature at a level that we felt was compatible with life,” Neiffer said.

The treatment ramped up immediately: They gave the cub fluids (to prevent dehydration), a sugar called dextrose (to prevent low blood sugar), antibiotics (to target possible lung infections) and a drug that helps pull fluid off the chest. The caretakers used the incubator’s nebulizer (which atomizes fluids into a breathable steam) to give the cub a saline solution that kept the animal’s respiratory membranes moist, and a drug that helps break up mucus.

Sometimes the cub appeared to be improving, but it stopped breathing at about 1:50 p.m. Zoo staff began resuscitation efforts, but to no avail: The cub died at 2:05 p.m. on Aug. 26.

A postmortem X-ray showed that at least 70 percent of the cub’s lung tissue was inflamed. Neiffer said he suspects the damage from the aspiration pneumonia happened quickly, probably within 24 to 48 hours of the aspiration event.

Aspiration pneumonia could technically happen to a cub while nursing on its mother, but Neiffer said he has never seen that happen in his career of about 20 years. A cub with a cleft palate might have a greater risk of aspirating its mother’s milk, but the condition is typically associated with hand-raised babies, Neiffer said.

To avoid future deaths like this, the zoo plans to modify the nipple sizes and holes on the handheld bottles, and copy nipple designs that have been used by other institutions, Neiffer said.

The twin who lived

The larger, surviving twin is “doing gangbusters” Neiffer said. This cub now spends all of its time with its mother, unless she leaves to drink, defecate or urinate outside her den. In those rare moments, zookeepers sometimes sneak in and weigh the cub to make sure it’s growing.

And it is. The little guy’s waistline is widening, and it’s now able to push itself up on all fours. It’s moved from screaming vocalizations to grunting, as expected, Neiffer said. The black saddle patch on the cub’s back is coming in, and admirers can catch a glimpse of the cute cub on the panda cam.

The other pandas at the zoo, Tian Tian and Bao Bao, haven’t met the twin, but seemed to sense something was up after the birth, the zookeepers said. The animals stopped vocalizing as much, providing quiet to Mei Xiang as she nursed her young, the panda team said.

“We are very happy that the other baby seems to be doing great,” Neiffer said. “And Mei Xiang is a great mother. We are hoping that we just get to watch him grow.”

Editor’s Note: This story was updated to better reflect when the surviving panda cub will be named. It may be named this autumn before it is 100 days old, according to the zoo.

Why owning a pet makes you happier and more likely to live longer

Owning a lively pet may sometimes prove exasperating, but it appears all the effort is worth it.

Pet owners are healthier, have greater self-esteem and are less lonely than those who don’t have animals at home, according to a study.

Not only that, but they are also more conscientious, extroverted and less fearful, researchers at the American Psychological Association said

Man’s best friend: Owning a pet brings with it many benefits including improved health, greater self-esteem and less loneliness, according to scientists

They believe that pets serve as important sources of social and emotional support for the average person, and not just individuals facing significant health challenges.

Lead researcher, Allen R McConnell, of Miami University in Ohio, said: ‘We observed evidence that pet owners fared better, both in terms of well-being outcomes and individual differences, than non-owners on several dimensions.

‘Specifically, pet owners had greater self-esteem, were more physically fit, tended to be less lonely, were more conscientious, were more extraverted, tended to be less fearful and tended to be less preoccupied than non-owners.’

Pet owners are just as close to key people in their lives as to their animals, the study found.

This indicates no evidence that relationships with pets come at the expense of relationships with other people, or that people relied more on pets when their human social support was poorer.

The scientists, from Miami University and Saint Louis University in Missouri, conducted three experiments to examine the potential benefits of pet ownership among what they called ‘everyday people’.

They questioned 217 people with an average age of 31 and family income of $77,000, 79 per cent of whom were women.

The group answered a survey aimed at determining whether pet owners differed from people without pets in terms of well-being and personality type.

Researchers now believe that pets serve as important sources of social and emotional support for the average person, and not just individuals facing significant health challenges

Several differences between the groups emerged – in all cases, pet owners were happier, healthier and better adjusted than were non-owners.

A second experiment involved 56 dog owners with an average age of 42 and family income of $65,000, 91 per cent of whom were women.

This group were questioned about whether they benefit more when their pet is perceived to fulfill their social needs better.

The researchers here found greater well-being among owners whose dogs increased their feelings of belonging, self-esteem and meaningful existence.

The last group, made up of 97 undergraduates with an average age of 19, found that pets can make people feel better after experiencing rejection.

Subjects were asked to write about a time when they felt excluded. Then they were asked to write about their favourite pet, or to write about their favourite friend, or to draw a map of their campus.

The researchers found that writing about pets was just as effective as writing about a friend when it came to staving off feelings of rejection.

‘The present work presents considerable evidence that pets benefit the lives of their owners, both psychologically and physically, by serving as an important source of social support,’ the researchers wrote.

‘Whereas past work has focused primarily on pet owners facing significant health challenges…the present study establishes that there are many positive consequences for everyday people who own pets.’

The study is published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

How You Can Help Fight Animal Cruelty

Animal cruelty is something that is close to many people’s hearts. Many think of it as an abuse that is akin to child abuse, since animals are also defenseless against the hands or neglect of humans.

It tends to rouse similar anger and outrage as well, and there are now many agencies that are set up to help prevent animal cruelty, and also shelters where rescued animals find solace and comfort from their abusive or neglectful environments.

Years ago, there were not even any laws set up to protect animals from abuse, and abusers were able to get away with doing just about anything they wanted without consequence.

Now, there are animal protection laws set up in almost every state, and if you are found guilty of inhumane treatment of an animal, you are subject to anything from fines to community service, to jail time.

While we’ve come a long way in legislating animal protection laws, there is still room for improvement, as they are not stiff enough penalties in most people’s eyes, and it seems that it’s still taken rather lightly.

While I’m not aligned with the extreme mentality of animal rights groups that preach vegetarianism and use tactics that I don’t deem appropriate to get their point across, I certainly admire what they are trying to do, which is drawing attention to the animal kingdom and getting the word out that our furry friends need our help when they do not have a voice of their own to defend themselves.

One can read about stories of inhumane treatment weekly in any newspaper, and some of the stories are enough to make one nauseous. There are stories of animals left in homes without food or water, in their own waste and crawling with fleas and ticks, stories of farm animals abandoned, neglected, underfed and abused, and horrifying tales of household pets being beaten, starved, deprived of care, and even killed at the hands of the very people who are supposed to take care of them, that all still need to be addressed.

There are some steps you can take to make sure you are not a silent voice in the quest to prevent animal cruelty, you just need to be aware of your surroundings and know what to look for.

You can report any suspicions to the local police, or if you have an agency that works with abused animals, you can call on them to investigate and rectify also, usually the APL (Animal Protective League) and other similar shelters and animal rights nonprofit organizations will be able to help as well.

Some of the signs to look for you may already know, as most people who are animal lovers have a built in instinct for knowing when an animal has been abused or neglected. Many animals who have been physically abused will be hand shy.

They will not want to come near you or any other person, and may be especially leery of their owners or react in an aggressive way toward them or others.

While this does not always indicate abuse, as some animals are just tempered that way, it is a good underlying factor to look at when determining if an animal has been physically abused.

If an animal has patches of fur missing or looks extremely thin, or even if they are overrun with fleas, this may indicate neglect. Another one to look for is animals that you see outside on extremely cold days, tied to a chain for hours without any warm shelter. This is dangerous and can be abuse if the animal does not have a place of shelter to retreat to.

Likewise if they are left chained outside for hours without food or water – water of course being the most vital of the two. Use your judgment, there are always animals that may be acclimated to certain situations, but if you consistently see this, and are suspicious it may be worth an investigation by an officer of an animal protection agency or the police department.

Of course the most obvious thing to look out for is actually witnessing an act of animal abuse. If you see a person physically assaulting an animal, please make sure you report this immediately, as this is the most blatant and obvious form of animal abuse and certainly warrants a report for investigation.

If we all do our part in preventing animal cruelty, we can make this world a better and safer place for our furry friends who entrust us with their life and well being. If we don’t look out for themHealth Fitness Articles, who will?

Teenager infected with rat-bite fever from her pet rodent

A 17-year-old woman was infected with the rare, but treatable rat-bite fever, that developed from pet rodents that lived in her bedroom, report the doctors who treated her in the online journal BMJ Case Reports.

Rat-bite fever has been reported in writings dating as far back as 2300 years. It was originally described as a disease of the poor, but these days most cases occur in lab workers or in children with pet rodents.

The condition is often goes unrecognised and undiagnosed. Only 200 cases of rat-bite fever have been recorded in the USA since 1839.

Most cases of rat-bite fever involve a bite or scratch from a rodent, but there are several reports of infection without direct bacterial inoculation.

The young woman was admitted to hospital with pain in her right hip and lower back that had continued for two days and led to immobility. Over the proceeding two weeks, she had an intermittent fever, nausea and vomiting, and a pink rash on her hands and feet.

Her nausea and vomiting improved, but the fever continued, and she had tenderness of a joint in her pelvis, and pain in her right leg.

The doctors learnt that the woman had numerous pets including a dog, cat, horse and three pet rats. The rodents lived in her bedroom. One of these rats had died 3 weeks prior to onset of her symptoms.

A blood test returned positive for Streptobacillus moniliformis–the most common cause of ratbite fever.

The disease can have mortality as high as 13%, if left untreated. Fortunately, the woman underwent 4 weeks of antibiotics. After 5 days, her rash and fever disappeared, and the joint pain in her pelvis improved over the following weeks. She made a full recovery.


Sorry Cat Lovers Felix Doesn’t Need You

Dogs have owners, cats have staff.

Though the old joke is a stereotype of a feline’s independent nature, that trope may have some scientific backing.

Cats do not form the childlike dependence on humans that dogs do, new research suggests.

That doesn’t mean people’s feline friends don’t bond with them, said Daniel Mills, a veterinary behavioral medicine researcher at the University of Lincoln in England.

“This is not about whether cats love their owners,” Mills told Live Science. Rather, it just means that Felis catus doesn’t look to its human owners as a source of safety and security, he added.

Strange situation

The new results are based on a test called the “Strange Situation.” In the test, which was developed for humans by psychologist Mary Ainsworth in the 1970s, researchers put a mother or primary caregiver and a baby in one room together and then asked the mother to leave as a stranger walked in to play. Ainsworth found that some tots would play joyfully while their caregiver was around, act fearful or distressed when the caregivers left, and then act happy when the mother figure returned. Those little ones were “securely attached,” Ainsworth said, meaning they saw their mom as a “safe base” from which to explore the world. By contrast, some youngsters seemed indifferent to their moms’ presence and absence, while others were tentative when approaching a returning mom, and still others showed a very erratic response.

Securely attached infants tend to do better in school, relationships and life in general than those with other forms of attachment, scientists have found.

A study published in 2013 in the journal PLOS ONE found that dogs similarly cling to their owners as a haven of safety when a threatening stranger is near. The researchers concluded that, just like human babies, these little fur babies could become securely attached to their caregivers. A small 2002 study suggested that cats could develop separation anxiety, but the findings weren’t carefully verified.

Self-reliant creatures

To see whether cats showed a similar puplike attachment, Mills and his colleague Alice Potter, who now researches companion animals at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in England, put cats in the equivalent of the Strange Situation. In the new study, owners left the cats in a room and a stranger then entered and tried to engage the kitties in play. The researchers selected cats whose owners said they were particularly attached to them.

Overall, cats lived up to their fickle reputation; they had quite variable behavior.

“The idea of developing behavior tests in cats is much harder than people perhaps realize,” Mills said. Researchers may “do a test and say, ‘Oh, this is the cat’s profile.’ If you do the test on a cat a few weeks or a few hours later, it’s different.”

The felines also showed no clear signs of attachment, other than slightly more frequent meows when the owner left them with the stranger, the researchers reported Wednesday (Sept. 2) in the journal PLOS ONE.

However, those meows could have been signs of frustration, a conditioned response, as cats tend to meow more if their owners chat with them, Mills said. The results suggest that, unlike dogs, cats don’t look to owners as a sort of security blanket. [Are Cats Smarter Than Dogs?]

Love among equals?

Ask any cat person, however, and they would swear that Mr. Whiskers does love them. They may be right, Mills said. The new findings simply mean cats don’t see their human companions as parentlike figures. For instance, in the Strange Situation test, parents don’t form a secure attachment to their babies because they don’t see their children as a “safe base” — but it would be wildly inaccurate to say that parents don’t love their kids. It may simply be that feline-human love is rooted in something other than dependence.

It’s also possible that cats simply don’t wear their emotions on their fur, so to speak, and that another test might better gauge their attachment to owners, Mills said.

Still, he thinks the findings do reflect a truth about cats’ independence.

“If you think about it, why should cats depend on people for safety and security?” Mills said. “Cats are naturally very independent hunters.”

By contrast, dogs hunt in packs, and so may naturally gravitate toward others when looking to meet their needs, he added.

California’s Killer Bees Are Spreading North

Bad news for apiphobes: “Killer” bees are on the move in the United States.

Scientists from the University of California, San Diego recently collected hundreds of bees around the Golden State to determine how far north hybrid honeybees, or Africanized bees, have spread since they first arrived in the state in 1994.

They found that Africanized bees — which possess genes from both European and African honeybees — now live as far north as California’s delta region (about 25 miles, or 40 kilometers, south of Sacramento). And in the southern part of the state, so-called “killer” bees run the show. About 65 percent of the honeybeesthat buzz around San Diego County have a mix of European and African genes, the researchers found. [No Creepy Crawlies Here: Gallery of the Cutest Bugs]

“The pattern of Africanization we documented in San Diego County and elsewhere in California appears consistent with patterns previously documented in Texas, where Africanized honey bees first appeared in the United States,” Joshua Kohn, a professor of biology at UC San Diego and co-author of the new study, said in a statement.

While Africanized bees have taken up residence throughout the American South, Southwest, Southeast and Western coastal regions, their ability to set up permanent colonies in the northern parts of the country seems to be limited by cold temperatures during the winter months, Kohn said. However, higher temperatures caused by global warming could mean that killer bees may continue to push north in the coming years, he added.

There are a few reasons why the range of Africanized bees in California and other states is important, Kohn told Live Science. For one, these bees are highly aggressive, he said. People in California, Arizona and Texas (as well as several other states) have been seriously injured or killedafter enduring thousands of stings from Africanized bees, which are quick to defend their hives. Knowing where those hives might be is a good starting point for preventing future attacks, Kohn said.

But scientists don’t just want to track the migration of Africanized bees because of their killer instincts. Kohn and Yoshiaki Kono, a graduate student in UC San Diego’s Department of Biological Sciences and lead author of the new bee study, are also curious about the spread of the Africanized bees’ more desirable qualities, such as their resistance to some of the diseases and mites that are killing off honey bees in other parts of the country, Kohn said.

The flight of the honeybee

The story of killer bees started in the 1950s. In an effort to breed honeybees better suited to South America’s tropical climate, a biologist in Brazil imported a subspecies of bee (Apis mellifera scutellata) from southern Africa to interbreed with bees from Europe. But winged insects are hard to contain, and several swarms of African bees escaped into the wild.

The runaway bees bred with local populations of European honeybees, and their hybrid descendants spread, mating with other European bees along the way. This intermingling of the African and European honeybees’ gene pools is known as Africanization because it’s the African genes that generally prevail, according to Kohn. The typical Africanized bee in California has a genome made up of 70 to 80 percent African genes and only 20 to 30 percent European genes, he added. [On the Hunt: Honeybee Scouts Find Food]

African genes, and the qualities they are associated with, are dominant because they are favored by natural selection, Kohn said. An Africanized bee’s slightly larger size and high reproduction rate give it certain advantages over non-Africanized bees, for example.

Africanized bees also appear to be more resistant to certain diseases and parasites compared to European bees, Kohn said. In fact, there are many studies that back up this claim. One study, published in 2010 in the journal Experimental and Applied Acarology, found that Africanized bees may be more resistant to the parasitic mite Varroa destructor (an insidious foe inside bee colonies) because of the bees’ grooming behaviors and the lowered fertility of the mites inside the brood, or honeycomb of the Africanized hive.

Right now, most of California’s Africanized bees are feral — the study found that only 13 percent of managed hives in San Diego County carried the African mitotype (mitochondrial DNA), as opposed to 70 percent of feral hives in the county. Most beekeepers prefer European honeybees because Africanized bees are so much more difficult to manage, Kohn said.

But, there may be a way for beekeepers to get the disease resistance they’re looking for in European bees while minimizing the risk that Africanized bees pose.

“By dissecting the genomes of Africanized honey bees to find regions responsible for advantageous traits, we may be able to combat recent declines in managed honey bee populations that are so critical for food production,” Kohn said.

Disease-resistant bees that aren’t likely to kill anyone could be a win-win for everyone.

Pepper Spray to get rid of attackers

Pepper spray is a kind of self defense product. Pepper spray was originally invented by a mailman who has to deal with unfriendly dogs during his work. Pepper spray is a chemical compounds that is used for self defense against attackers and animals. The attackers are generally drug abusersScience Articles, drunkers and rapists. The effect of pepper spray differs from man to man based on their tolerance capacity. It causes irritability to eyes in the form of tears and pain. The composition of spray includes oleoresin capsicum and OC gas. It is a powerful weapon for self defense for man and woman both. Now a days the policemen also uses this spray on their duty. Pepper sprays are very easy to use. The attacker is on the ground after three minutes if you use pepper say. Pepper spray is very easy to acquire also because you do not need any registration for that.

The effects of pepper spray are very serious that includes: Temporary blindness which can remain for twenty to thirty minutes.

Immediate closing of eyes.

Difficulty in breathing that can last for three to ten minutes.

Difficulty in speaking.

Uncontrolled cough.

Runny nose.

Burning sensation of skin.

Pepper spray are very small in size and can be kept in pocket. Thus you are assured about your safety because it is always near to you. They can be concealed in rings. In this type of pepper spray the ring is filled with an alkaloid powders. It can be used from a distance of about two feet. the only thing you needed is to just press a button. Pepper projectile is also available which can be fired using a paintball gun. Now a days triple action pepper spray is also available whose composition includes tear gas with OC gases and oleoresin capsicum. Pepper sprays are provided with canisters so that if the powder in the weapon gets finished you can refill it. You just need to remove the old canister and fill it with the new one.

If you are buying a pepper spray you need to keep in mind that the amount of pepper should be eight percent and a minimum of two million SHV( Scoville Heat Units).It is the highest intensity of pepper permitted legally. If the pepper content is less than this than spray is of lower quality. The pepper spray is not so expensive so any person who is conscious about his safety can use pepper spray.