News and Notes – 1/24/2008

ANIMAL EDITION.

Animal rights activists sought to have Matthew Hiasl Pan, a 26-year-old male chimpanzee, declared a person.Monkey business. Well I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. Austria’s Supreme Court ruled last week that a chimpanzee is not a person. An animal rights group was trying to have the chimp declared a person in hopes of gaining guardianship of the animal. Did we really need a Supreme Court to settle this one? I am thinking you could have gotten the same answer just asking a bunch of preschoolers. 🙂

Sneaky squirrels. A new study reveals that squirrels actually pretend to bury nuts and seeds in order to protect their winter food stocks from potential thieves. Scientists say the fake burials are designed to confuse any rival squirrels, birds or humans who might be watching. Dr Michael Steele reports: “To our knowledge, this is the first study to show evidence of behavioural deception by a rodent.” For some reason, I just love that ending quote.

Stowaway kitty. Imagine Rob Carter’s surprise when he opened up his luggage after flying home to Texas and found a kitten inside! It turns out Carter had picked up the wrong suitcase. It gets stranger. The cat’s owners, Seth and Kelly Levy, live in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Apparently the kitten, named Gracie Mae, had snuck into Seth’s suitcase before he left for the airport. The bags got switched, and Gracie flew 1300 miles to Fort Worth. Meanwhile, back at home Kelly Levy was searching all over for the missing pet, when she got the call from Carter in Texas telling her he had found Gracie in the suitcase.

Video bonus. Alaska really doesn’t want to go inside. (HT: Neatorama)

(Video length: 1:53)

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