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Meat-eating habits help humans go forth and multiply

The carnivore edge

"Humans' meat-eating habits," says LiveScience, "help separate them from other great apes, new research suggests. A meat-heavy diet lets people wean younger babies and have more offspring, which may have contributed to the population explosion, the researchers say. Because human females wean their young so quickly, they 'can potentially contribute a larger number of individuals to the human population during their reproductive years,' study researcher Elia Psouni, an associate professor at Lund University in Sweden, told LiveScience. 'We are suggesting that this has had a very big impact on the survival and spreading of the species and the way it happened.' Studies of 'reproductively natural' populations (that is, societies that don't use birth control) showed that mothers stop giving breast milk to their baby when the baby reaches about two years and four months of age. That surprised the researchers since other great apes take about four times as long to wean their offspring (proportionate to their maximum lifespans)."

Living like a monkey

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"In the suburbs of Tokyo lives Kenichi Ito, the world's fastest man on four legs," Reuters reports. "For nearly a decade, the 29-year-old Mr. Ito, long a fan of simians, has been perfecting a running style based on the wiry Patas monkey of Africa, winning himself a Guinness World Record in the process. 'You know, my face and body kind of look like a monkey, so from a young age everybody used to tease me, saying "monkey, monkey," '[he said.]… For eight-and-a-half years the slender Mr. Ito has walked around his neighbourhood on his hands and feet, wearing gloves and cleated shoes. He has turned his household chores into challenges on all fours and squats like a monkey while talking." He has run 100 metres on all fours in just under 20 seconds.

Hamsters need coffee?

"[A] entrepreneur in Nantes, France, is giving people a chance to see what it's like to live life as [a]hamster," writes David Moye for The Huffington Post. "French 'scenographer' Yann Falquerho, 42, runs Villa Hamster, a hotel that allows guests to give up the daily stresses of being human and try out life as a hamster. The Villa … has been modernized for the 21st century human-hamster hybrid, with cages for rooms, haystacks instead of beds and human-sized running wheels, according to Oddity Central. The guests have the option of wearing little hamster hoodies as well. … [T]e guests eat organic hamster grains served in little containers and sip water on all fours. However, the German website is quick to note that there are coffee machines in each cage …"

Find grizzlies by phone?

"Contrary to the notion that vacations are best enjoyed 'unplugged,' if you're hoping to catch a glimpse of wolves, grizzly bears and bison at Yellowstone National Park, the best place to be on the lookout may soon be a cellphone," says The Christian Science Monitor. "New smartphone apps enable people to pinpoint where they've recently seen critters in Yellowstone. People who drive to these locations can – at least in theory – improve their odds of seeing wildlife compared to typical tourist's dumb luck. One app called Where's a Bear promises 'up to the second' animal sightings in Yellowstone. Recently a website called Yellowstone Wildlife began offering a similar app." A message on the site from park rangers warns that grizzly attacks "killed two tourists in Yellowstone last summer."

Dead cows in the cabin

"A group of stray cows that froze to death in the Colorado mountains must be blown up or set on fire to avoid water contamination, forestry officials say," reports BBC News. "The carcasses were discovered near the Conundrum Hot Springs in Aspen by two Air Force Academy cadets in late March. The cows were found in a ranger cabin where it is thought they wandered during a snowstorm after they were separated from the herd last year. The plan is to remove the dead animals before they begin to thaw. … The options include letting the cows decompose and closing off the area, setting off explosives to break up the animals and speed up the decomposition process, or setting the cabin on fire."

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Thought du jour

"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires."

William Arthur Ward (1921-94)

U.S. author of maxims

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