Here’s a look at some of the strange and remarkable eco news from this week. Researchers discover some whales have a sense of smell, a boat made from thousands of plastic bottles crosses the Pacific Ocean, taxidermy critters are the new beer koozies, and more.
Bowhead whale’s schnoz is intact
You know what they say, whales can smell prey from a mile off. Oh, wait, that’s sharks. Or is it? Scientists have long thought that dolphins and whales lack the ability to smell, but bowhead whales have the anatomical hardware needed for olfaction that other cetaceans, including dolphins, sperm whales, and orcas are missing, researcher report in the journal Marine Mammal Science. “The finding could change our understanding of how baleen whales locate prey, as scientists suspect the bowhead whales sniff out krill swarms,” reports the BBC. “The whales' sense of smell was revealed when scientists dissected their bodies and found olfactory hardware linking the brain and nose, and functional protein receptors required to smell.”
Photo: Beer Dog
Super Strong Beer Served in a Stuffed Dead Animal
In attempt to win back the “strongest beer in the world” title taken from them earlier this year, Scottish Brewery Beer Dog has crafted The End of History, a 55 percent alcohol by volume blond Belgian Ale that goes for a shocking $765. The price tag might in part be due to the fact that the bottles come in stuffed animals—not as in teddy bears, but as in critters that were once alive, including weasels, squirrels, and a rabbit.
Ok, the environmental link here is tenuous at best, but this was just too strange to pass up. “This is the strongest beer ever made by a human, penguin, German, or forest animals,” the brew masters claim in this wacky video:
Message in a Bottle
To draw attention to plastic pollution, British environmentalist David de Rothschild built a boat out of approximately 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles and is sailing 8,000 nautical miles in 125 days from San Francisco to Australia. He’s set to arrive in Sydney on Sunday. Given that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch just keeps growing, it’s refreshing to read some positive news about plastic and the ocean.
Colbert Report on the Environment: As long as it keeps getting effed up, we'll keep making videos about it
It's that sad time of year again when Colbert Report addicts endure two weeks without the show. It returns next week, but in its absence, the folks over at Colbert Nation have been kind enough to put together Colbert environmental video montages so fans can get their fix. In 'Aww, Animals' Colbert opens with footage of oiled pelicans,and says, "When you see heartbreaking footage like this, it is clear that it may take BP decades to repair the damage to its corporate image."
Also worth watching (c'mon, it's Friday):
-Stephen versus Nature: Mother Earth is out to get us. Put your Styrofoam cup in your ivory cup holder and help Stephen fight back!
-Run!!! Animals!!!: It's not just bears that are out to get us, folks. Stephen exposes the animals who are putting our lives and honey in danger.