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Dec 16 2012

Palate Cleanser Sunday

I think we could probably all use a few reminders of good things right about now.

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Sarracenia spp., aka carnivorous pitcher plants, in snow in Vermont. Photo by my pal Charlie Hohn. It’s enough to make me drop my grudge against the whole state.

If there’s no snow where you are, spending some time laying around outside might be nice. (Photo via knowyourmeme.)

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You could even go for a walk in the desert. I might have to later today.lizardlykkentrailclarke

 

(Speaking of which, allow me to abuse my coblogger privilege to mention that I have a new freelance writing gig as of this weekend. Come over and say hello in comments if you want.)

Too much with the visual? Need some science? Here’s some new, awkwardly translated results of an ongoing study of panda paleontology:

 As early as about 3 Myr ago, [pandas] probably had already completed their dietary swift [sic: "switch," I assume] and pygmy panda emerged with bamboo as its primary diet. The warm and wet weather at that time provided ideal conditions for the spread of bamboo forests that further led to the first population expansion of giant panda. However, about 0.7 Myr ago, the panda population began to decline due to the two largest Pleistocene glaciations happened in China, and its first population bottleneck occurred at about 0.3 Myr ago. During that period, pygmy panda was gradually replaced by another subspecies — baconi panda that has larger body size.

Mmmmmmmm… “panda baconi.“ (Link is to Brian Switek’s post from a couple years ago on paleopandas.)

Lastly, and speaking of paleontology, I heard a rumor that Carl Buell’s illustration of the Hell Creek Fauna, featuring the newly named lizard Obamadon, might have been displayed on Saturday Night Live last night. Did anyone see it? I don’t watch the show much since they fired Joe Piscopo. Is it any good still?

 

72 comments

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  1. 1
    evilDoug

    That is probably the most pornographic bunny picture I have ever seen!

    Question for wild bunny people:
    A few days ago, when I was walking home from the grocery store, there was a white-tailed prairie hare (Lepus townsendii) in the alley, having a stretch. First the front legs, then the back. Then it did something I’ve never seen one do before – it “stood up”, all four legs under it, and walked several steps. It looked like some sort of large, long-eared white house cat. Is this (the walking on straight legs) a common thing for jackrabbits to do as part of a stretching routine?

  2. 2
    Inaji

    Congrats on the new gig, Chris!

    Love the pitcher plants. Who doesn’t love carnivorous plants?

  3. 3
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Who doesn’t love carnivorous plants?

    Insects?

  4. 4
    Inaji

    Janine:

    Insects?

    They love them…to death.

  5. 5
    michaeld

    Yay BUNDAY! :P Bunnies for all!

  6. 6
    Tethys

    Is this (the walking on straight legs) a common thing for jackrabbits to do as part of a stretching routine?

    Members of the hare family rear up on their hind legs for many different reasons, it is common behavior.
    Here is a link to a BBC episode of Nature that shows them sitting up and shaking heavy dew off their paws, and boxing between rabbits. It was once believed that the boxing rabbits were males fighting for access to the females, but new observation has shown that it is the females who box the male suitors.

    Hares

  7. 7
    bcmystery

    Bunny!

  8. 8
    coralline

    Is this (the walking on straight legs) a common thing for jackrabbits to do as part of a stretching routine?

    Members of the hare family rear up on their hind legs for many different reasons, it is common behavior.
    Here is a link to a BBC episode of Nature that shows them sitting up and shaking heavy dew off their paws, and boxing between rabbits. It was once believed that the boxing rabbits were males fighting for access to the females, but new observation has shown that it is the females who box the male suitors.

    Hares

    But that’s not what evilDoug described.

  9. 9
    Tethys

    But that’s not what evilDoug described.

    They are doing exactly what evilDoug describes in the linked video, in addition to the behaviors I listed.

  10. 10
    Nepenthe

    The ‘tocks! The bun-bun buns make the universe okay again.

  11. 11
    ChasCPeterson

    That bunny’s no ‘palate cleanser’, it’s a main course.
    And the Uta? more of an hors d’oeuvre.

  12. 12
    silomowbray, sans frottage pour la douche

    In my part of the world there’s a place called Coombs, located on Vancouver Island. It’s kind of neat…but only kind-of. During the day there’s a market of sorts where they sell all kinds of curiosities as well as standard fare such as organic hemp clothing and the like. But I swear it feels like a scene out of a Stephen King novel. Wait until night, and the evil emerges!

    Relevant to this thread is that Coombs is famous for its roaming bunny population. Much extreme cuteness, because many of the bunnies are the dwarf kind. Teh bay-bay bunniez make even leather-clad chain-carrying bikers go “Squeeee!”

    (There was some recent angry-sadness that occurred there that I don’t want to get into. Google/Bing if you’re curious and can handle the sad.)

  13. 13
    Ichthyic

    That is probably the most pornographic bunny picture I have ever seen!

    strange, I got a wholly different thought.

    to me, it appears the rabbit is wistfully looking towards a large building, which for my view I will take to be a university.

    …and it’s dreaming of being able to attend; the thought bubble over its head saying: “Someday…”

    damn discrimination against bunnies preventing it from doing so!

  14. 14
    evilDoug

    Tethys, thanks for the link, but I didn’t see any of those hares do what I saw. “My” hare walked, almost exactly like a cat or a dog would, very calmly, for several steps.

    In March, white tailed prairie hares around here are still mostly white – maybe a little brown starting to poke through here and there. The grass, on the other hand, is still decidedly brown – or covered with a white blanket.

    It was amusing to see the guy try to sneak up on the hare. I wasn’t much farther than that from the one I saw in the alley, and there was no sneaking involved. I said hello, it continued its stretch and walk, then calmly hopped away – at first in my direction. Curiously, this was almost the same spot in the alley where a raven allowed me to get within less than 3 metres, which is kind of unusual for them.

  15. 15
    osmosis

    I stopped finding rabbits charming when I learned what “coprophage” means.

  16. 16
    Chris Clarke

    Occupy Bunniversity!

  17. 17
    evilDoug

    … dreaming of being able to attend …

    Advise for bunnies: stay well away from university buildings; things don’t end well there for bunnies

  18. 18
    Inaji

    Osmosis:

    I stopped finding rabbits charming when I learned what “coprophage” means.

    You best stop liking all manner of animals then. It’s hardly uncommon.

  19. 19
    ryankitko

    Ah, yep, that would be Sarracenia purpurea subsp. purpurea in the first photo. Hate the snow, love the plants. Have a whole bunch of them in my back yard as part of an ex-situ propagation and conservation program with the North American Sarracenia Conservancy.

  20. 20
    Ichthyic

    it “stood up”, all four legs under it, and walked several steps. It looked like some sort of large, long-eared white house cat.

    well, there’s your answer right there!

    It was obviously trying to camouflage itself as a cat.

  21. 21
    kayden

    That bunny picture is way too cute!

  22. 22
    The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical

    osmosis:

    I stopped finding rabbits charming when I learned what “coprophage” means.

    But the poops they eat are so adorable.

    Having spent enough time loving rabbits and guinea pigs, cecotropes are entirely inoffensive to me now.

  23. 23
    Argle Bargle

    Two bunnies one cup.

    Sorry. I’ll get my coat.

  24. 24
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    *sends Rodney Nelson my worst death glare*

  25. 25
    michaeld

    Sends Rodney the disapproving stares of hundred of bunnehs 0.0 http://www.disapprovingrabbits.com/

  26. 26
    fullyladenswallow

    @ #1- evilDoug:

    Although it comes close, I think to qualify as pornographic, the bunny would have to be wearing stilettos and fish-nets, or would that be merely “kinky”?

  27. 27
    Chris Clarke

    I stopped finding rabbits charming when I learned what “coprophage” means.

    And yet they so seldom comment on blogs!

    My dog Zeke was my best friend ever, but he did things everyday that outdid rabbits eating cecotropes for sheer grossness. And then he’d guilt-trip me for not sharing my ice cream cone with him after he ate the week-dead sparrow someone else had vomited up on the curb.

  28. 28
    Chris Clarke

    Though perhaps I’ve said too much.

  29. 29
    carlie

    If you had shared the ice cream cone, that would have been saying too much.

  30. 30
    Chris Clarke

    Also, the “pornographic” appearance of the bunny photo is merely an example of convergent evolution, the resemblance to human buttocks stemming from the time when we had to hippity hop away from large predators on the savanna.

  31. 31
    Inaji

    Chris:

    My dog Zeke was my best friend ever, but he did things everyday that outdid rabbits eating cecotropes for sheer grossness.

    Anyone who has ever had a dog who gains access to an uncleaned litter box would find bunny habits charming in comparison.

  32. 32
    The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical

    You speak true, Caine. There’s a reason my cat’s litter box is kept behind a dog-proof barricade.

  33. 33
    Ichthyic

    My dog Zeke was my best friend ever, but he did things everyday that outdid rabbits eating cecotropes for sheer grossness. And then he’d guilt-trip me for not sharing my ice cream cone with him after he ate the week-dead sparrow someone else had vomited up on the curb.

    wait, this thread is titled PALATE CLEANSER.

    STOP!

    :)

  34. 34
    microraptor

    Speaking of pandas, I was wondering how they’d managed to evolve such a restrictive diet. Even with bamboo as plentiful as it apparently was 3 million years ago, I find it surprising that they specialized to that degree, especially on such a nutrient poor food source.

  35. 35
    Lofty

    I have a cat that’s a palate cleanser, wait, no, it’s a plate cleaner, given a chance. It’d take the pattern right off if it could..

  36. 36
    Inaji

    Caerie:

    There’s a reason my cat’s litter box is kept behind a dog-proof barricade.

    Mmm hmm, same here. I love my monster dogs, but dogs are effing disgusting*.

    *Monster dog ideas of fine dining: deer droppings, any smelly, decaying carcass, a pile of dead fish (this also to be rolled on as a fine perfume), horse shit, etc.

  37. 37
    Koshka

    wait, this thread is titled PALATE CLEANSER.

    STOP!

    :)

    I am pretty sure that vomitted dead sparrow is a palate cleanser for a dog.

  38. 38
    Koshka

    Mmm hmm, same here. I love my monster dogs, but dogs are effing disgusting*.

    I have a mini dog – It is similarly disgusting.

  39. 39
    Nepenthe

    Annnnd this is why I’m a Cat Person.

  40. 40
    Lofty

    Mmmm if dog, cat or bunny crap gets you down perhaps you need a pet rock instead…
    http://www.petrock.com/

  41. 41
    patterson

    after he ate the week-dead sparrow someone else had vomited up on the curb.

    I’m hoping that someone else was really a something else.

  42. 42
    Inaji

    Nepenthe:

    Annnnd this is why I’m a Cat Person.

    In the Caine household, quintet of cat’s ideas of fine dining: mice, bats, birds, dirt (which contains houseplants), squirrels, shrews and horse shit*.

    *I don’t know why horse shit is considered to be so tasty. I’m not gonna try it.

  43. 43
    eddyline

    I don’t know why, but the bunny photo evokes Wyeth’s “Christina’s World” for me…

  44. 44
    Rev. BigDumbChimp

    Not commenting on the nasty shit my lab and husky do….

  45. 45
    Nepenthe

    @Caine

    The only things my cat eats are cat food and Anything I’m Eating. And I do mean anything. Buttered popcorn is a huge favorite, as are lo mein and tikka masala. When I put hot sauce on things, she still sticks her paws in the food, then looks at me as if to say “Why do you cook it this way when you know I don’t like it?” She’ll even dig through the trash for candy or pastry wrappers, even though cats cant taste sugar.

    Things she won’t eat: any sort of household pest, wet cat food. She’s an indoor cat, so she’s never tried squirrel or bat.

    Annnnd, as you can see I’m a Cat Person and love talking about My Cat.

  46. 46
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    Bunnybutt! My (nick)namesake.

  47. 47
    Ichthyic

    *I don’t know why horse shit is considered to be so tasty.

    could be a digestive thing more than a taste thing.

  48. 48
    chigau (違う)

    eddyline #43

    I don’t know why, but the bunny photo evokes Wyeth’s “Christina’s World” for me…

    me too!!!!
    I just never got around to commenting on it.

  49. 49
    Inaji

    Nepenthe:

    She’s an indoor cat, so she’s never tried squirrel or bat.

    Ours are indoor with access to two large, completely enclosed kennels. Mice and shrews are often silly enough to go in the kennels and so are small birds. Baby bats often lose their grip on mum, and fall right through the chain link*. Not so long ago, a squirrel made its way into the house via one of the kennels and the godsdamn fucking cats *ate its face*. It was the first thing I saw one morning, in the kitchen.

    *We’ll be putting screen cloth or shade cloth on the tops of the kennels come Spring. I end up rescuing way too many baby bats.

  50. 50
    Nepenthe

    @Caine

    Yeah, even if my apartment had access to the outside (besides the questionable caulking and doors), she couldn’t venture out since she’s FeLV+.

    Ugh. I’m sorry that they ate just it’s face. I mean, I expect that one day my cat(s) will eat my face, but I’m not as bite-sized as a squirrel.

  51. 51
    chigau (違う)

    *ate its face*

    yup.
    Cats.
    We had one that ate mice except the kidneys and bladder, which were left as an offering.
    I do not understand how something without tools or opposable thumbs could manage that.

  52. 52
    Ichthyic

    you know what’s a good palate cleanser?

    ginger.

    yup.

    *sigh*

  53. 53
    chigau (違う)

    Nepenthe

    I expect that one day my cat(s) will eat my face

    Didn’t Rod Serling do a documentary* about that?

    *tongue
    *cheek

  54. 54
    Chris Clarke

    Don’t leave your tongue in your cheek, chigau. It makes it easier for your cats to eat your face. Clench those teeth!

  55. 55
    Amphiox

    I do not understand how something without tools or opposable thumbs could manage that.

    My null hypothesis is that it has something to do with their tongues, the way lions can strip a carcass clean to the whiny white bones with their tongues. Or something.

  56. 56
    chigau (違う)

    myteethareclenched

    I get the shiny white bones.
    I don’t get the surgically removed kidneys and bladder…
    wait…
    aliens.!!!!!11‽??!

  57. 57
    yubal

    What’s wrong with Vermont, Chris?

  58. 58
    anuran

    It’s time to relax and enjoy Twangles the Christmas Squid

  59. 59
    Chris Clarke

    What’s wrong with Vermont, Chris?

    Nothing at all. A few unpleasant memories swiftly and deliberately being forgotten.

  60. 60
    unclefrogy

    with the comment about the bunny picture being pornographic I looked again there was something that reminded me of Andrew Wyeth.

    If we are going to be gushing over bunnies I am going to have to see if I can get some rabbit. Tastes great in stew either marinated in wine or vinegar and is wonderful grilled on the barbeque with a hot Texas sauce. mmmmmmm!

    uncle frogy

  61. 61
    unclefrogy

    I looked Andrew Wyeth. up and I think it is the subject on the grass and turned away kind of similar the “Christina’s World” and some other works in that they are sometimes turned away from the viewer

    uncle frogy

  62. 62
    birgerjohansson

    It’s a sniper bunny. It is waiting for an opportunity to do the killshot.

    The “flowers” are discarded alien pods.

    I like the desert photo. Stony, barren…just like the Earth after the Old Ones have returned.

  63. 63
    birgerjohansson

    On second thoughts, mentioning snipers was bad form.
    Maybe the bunny is waiting to take a picture of a celebrity with its teleobjective.

  64. 64
    timgueguen

    Enough talk of cats and their gross tastes, watch my noisy magpie video instead.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxBVa9D0-J4

    I was within a few feet of a raven in downtown Saskatoon a couple of weeks ago. I really should have whipped out the camera and taken a video of him, but it didn’t come to mind until I had walked some ways away.

  65. 65
    tsig

    Palette cleanser > rabbit > hasenpfeffer.

  66. 66
    frog

    Just an observations: My indoor cat still licks his own asshole clean. When I’ve had more than one cat, they often cleaned each others’ assholes.

    It may not be a meal, but cats do inherently consume some amount of poop. Just sayin’.

    And then they lick themselves all over with that tongue. And then their human buries hir face in their fur, or kisses them on the head, or at the very least pets them. Lets them lie on a lap, or share a bed.

    Yep, poopies all over!

  67. 67
    elysehart

    I’m loving the bunny butt! Too cute!

  68. 68
    unclefrogy

    there is something about cats that truly has me dumfounded. I have been licked by my cat on my skin and it feels progressively bad after the third lick feels more like wet/dry sandpaper. How can they lick their gentiles with that thing?
    uncle frogy

  69. 69
    aaronpound

    Lastly, and speaking of paleontology, I heard a rumor that Carl Buell’s illustration of the Hell Creek Fauna, featuring the newly named lizard Obamadon, might have been displayed on Saturday Night Live last night. Did anyone see it? I don’t watch the show much since they fired Joe Piscopo. Is it any good still?

    No. It has been pretty awful for several years.

  70. 70
    Ichthyic

    I think we could probably all use a few reminders of good things right about now.

    …or at least things that are really, really disgusting as a distraction?

    my contribution:

  71. 71
    David Marjanović

    Speaking of pandas, I was wondering how they’d managed to evolve such a restrictive diet. Even with bamboo as plentiful as it apparently was 3 million years ago, I find it surprising that they specialized to that degree, especially on such a nutrient poor food source.

    The advantage is obvious – no competition.

    Pandas also aren’t quite as specialized as most people think. They eat bamboo rats.

    Yep, poopies all over!

    Hence, perhaps, why growing up with pets reduces one’s risk of allergy: they give your immune system something to do.

  72. 72
    evilDoug

    timgueguen, if you like magpies I could send you a dozen. Nice fat healthy ones (I feed them Costco vulture chow – keeps them from making off with all of the peanuts I put out for other things). They can be a trifle annoying at 4 or 5AM in the summer, when several of them land in the tree branches a metre from my bedroom window. But I quite enjoy the vast array of sounds they can make. The young ones, on the other hand, are just plain noxious.
    I also have a bluejay that is hilarious. It will sit on a branch and bounce up and down like a cockatoo. It makes a zillion sounds, including a very convincing grackle imitation and a not quite so convincing crow. Almost every time I hear a bird call I don’t recognize and go a runnin’, it turns out to be the bluejays.
    I had about a dozen grackles around over the summer. They disappeared abruptly, and I was worried someone might have poisoned them. They came back for a brief visit one day in October, and brought about 300-500 of their closest friends. Musical they ain’t.

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