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November 15th, 2018

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The Stuff of Nightmares | Freak Animal Accident

News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

By News of the Weird by Chuck Shepherd

Published April 27, 2018

The Stuff of Nightmares | Freak Animal Accident

Frank Lyko is a biologist at the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg with a narrow field of study: the marbled crayfish. But as Dr. Lyko and his colleagues report in a study published Feb. 5, there's more to the 6-inch crustacean than meets the eye. Until about 25 years ago, this species didn't exist, The New York Times explains. One single, drastic mutation created a whole new species of crayfish -- one that could clone itself. Since then, it has spread across Europe and to other continents and threatened native varieties. The eggs of the crayfish all produce females, which do not need to mate to produce more eggs. Dr. Lyko's DNA research offers new insights into why most animals have sex, because there are so few examples of sex-free species (they don't last long). He admits that the marbled crayfish may last only 100,000 years. "That would be a long time for me personally, but in evolution it would just be a blip on the radar," he said. [The New York Times, 2/5/2018]

A helicopter crew contracted by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources in Wasatch County to track and capture an elk hit a snag of sorts on Feb. 12, according to KUTV. As the crew lowered the aircraft to less than 10 feet above the ground to cast a net over the elk, the animal jumped and hit the tail rotor of the helicopter, causing it to crash. Mike Hadley with DWR said helicopters are used to "capture and collar hundreds of animals every winter and we've never had this happen before." The two crewmen walked away with just scratches and bruises, but the elk was killed. [KUTV, 2/12/2018]

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