Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Wednesday's Wacky Wild Trivia

This is another animal I saw featured on Animal Planet's "Most Extreme" today. This is the Hooded Pitohui from New Guinea. He is one of the first documented POISONOUS birds in the world. Only this guy and a few of his relatives are documented as poisonous. We owe our thanks for this discovery to Jack Dumbacher, who in 1989, was studying these birds way out there and was scratched and bit by getting one out of a net. He put his boo-boo finger in his mouth, and lo and behold, his lips and mouth went numb. It was eventually discovered that the Pitohui's skin and feathers contain this poison, called Batrachotoxin, and has only been found in one other group of animals--poison dart frogs. Research is still ongoing to determine if this bird gets his poison from the insects he eats and how he is immune to it. It is thought that the poison is a chemical defense, visually demonstrated by the bright colors of the more toxic birds. Interestingly, the very low toxicity birds are much more dull in color. This would indicate the presence of Aposematism, a defense mechanism used by animals to ward off predators, warning them of unpalatibility or poison. For more information see:
Now, don't you feel smarter? Speaking of feeling smarter, my sister in law is taking an intermediate algebra class in college and my hubby and I (mostly him, the math genius), helped her with some of her assignments. I had forgotten a lot of the algebraic rules and such, but when I got started, I got such a mental stimulation from it, that I have now been doing some algebra here at home. I never thought while sitting in 8th grade algebra class, and calculus throughout high school and college, that I would ever want to do math for fun. Being a stay at home mom, though, has me in brain drain. Being with toddlers all day long is physically, but not mentally challenging. It was like I took my bored mind for a walk in a sunny park. Here's a website I've been using to "crunch" out problems. Good tutorials too for any age who need some mathematics help. Check it out!


Maggie said...

I think I have a dangerous effect on you!

Misty said...

You mean with the math or the aposematism? I don't think I've ever been afraid of the colors you wear, so it must be the math... :)