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October 24th, 2017

Diversions

At least you ain't a 'researcher'!

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published Jan. 26, 2016

At least you ain't a 'researcher'!

Scientists from Australia's University of Queensland have developed "swimsuits" to act as diapers for six giant loggerhead turtles as they study their diets by examining their feces. "To our great surprise," said one researcher, they "worked perfectly." The suits were easy to put on, comfortable for the sea turtles to wear (according to the researchers, not the turtles), looked great (ditto), and we were "able to collect the entire fecal sample," he bragged to a London Daily Telegraph reporter in Sydney. [Daily Telegraph, 10-2-2015]

After all, leeches are interesting and thus someone has to study them, and Mark Siddall, curator of invertebrates at the American Museum of Natural History, is that person. These leeches are easily found, but only in the rear ends of hippopotamuses, he noted, and told Wired.com in August that if a creature can exploit a niche others cannot, it has a monopoly on food. "The only part on the hippo that's vascularized enough to get a good blood meal (is) the rectal region." (Making life worse for these leeches, they lack the strong jaws of other leeches and must instead use a nose-like organ that, writes Wired, it "snakes" into the vascular tissue.) [Wired.com, 8-28-2015]

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