One of my favorite things about field biology is the kinds of innovation it tends to require. There’s a degree to which this is true of all fields of science – if you’re always pushing into the unknown, you’re always going to need new tools for tasks that didn’t exist before. That’s why a disproportionate number of chemists are also glassblowers, for example. When it comes to studying animals, however, you have to account for the fact that they all have their own minds, their own opinions, and their own take on how to respond to a given situation. The right tool for the right job can range from using condoms to collect sea turtle poop, to specialized machinery, as we’re about to see.
When I had my brief experience studying iguanas, one trick I discovered by accident was that by bobbing my head at a large male, I was able to get into some sort of contest that overrode his reflex to flee. For myself, I can’t really imagine that if a giant creature approached me and said, “You lookin at me funny?” my reaction would be to get into a shouting match with it. That said, there are a lot of things that animals seem to just take in stride that would very much creep me out.
Take, for example, these robotic “spy beavers”:
I’m sorry, but if I saw a human version of one of those just hanging around my house, I would not just go about my business. That said, big rodents seem to be pretty chill creatures, and I absolutely love the footage these people got. I’ve always found beavers to be one of the neatest species on the planet, and very much want to have my own version of a beaver lodge with an underwater entrance.
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