Episode 38 – Naked Mole Rat: Wrinkly Pink Old Rat

When searching for the key to a long cancer-free life, there is one place that few people want to look—which is directly into the beady, unblinking eyes of a hairless underground horror. Enter the naked mole rat, the sort of cold-blooded super ugly mammal with cells that loath social contact. But hey, maybe we’ll find the cure to cancer here in Life Death and Taxonomy.

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Episode 37 – Mourning Gecko: A Lovely Lady Lizard

“And today we’re talking about a strong independent gecko, who loves sailing and walks on the beach. But more on that later.”

Intro

If you found yourself all alone on a desert island, you might be pretty lonely. But what if you could make friends… literally! There’s one little lizard that has developed a way to populate islands in the South Pacific with unorthodox methods. But, sometimes, strange and amazing adaptations are what it takes to pass on your genes in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

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Episode 36 – Jaguar: The Champion of Chomp

“…and today we’ll be talking about a cool cat that can bat at crocodile backs and fat rats like they’re doormats and defeat them in combat. But more on that later.”

Intro

The jungle is home to some of the most extraordinary creatures on planet Earth. One such creature stalks the rainforests of Central and South America as the king of the jungle: the jaguar. Pound for pound, this large feline has the second strongest bite of any mammal on Earth. But to survive beneath the Amazonian canopy, the jaguar must also be one of the most versatile creatures. It’s all part of being an apex predator on Life Death and Taxonomy.

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Episode 35 – Thresher Shark: Smack ’em and Snack ’em

“…and today we are talking about a shark that steals a technique from Indiana Jones to get some fishy treasures. But more on that later!”

Intro

The ocean is a great place with lots of room to roam.

The perfect way to escape for the fish that call it home.

“Just stick together and we’ll all be fine,”

The friendly bait fish will chime.

But there’s one who’s a master at the hunting craft,

That captures prey with a whoosh and crack.

The ocean may be great from high to low tide,

But there’s one within its depths from which no fish can hide.

But that’s just the way of the briny sea,

In Life, Death, and Taxonomy

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Episode 34 – Japanese Honey Bee: Hot Hugs From Murderbugs

“…and today we are talking about a sweet bee that secrets glee onto house bees that make honeys when they please inside trees.”

Intro

Being a honey bee means that you can get organic honey without paying the Trader Joe’s prices. But that doesn’t mean life is going to be easy. When predators barge through your hive’s front door, you need to bee like the Japanese Honey Bee and keep a trick hidden up your thorax. It’s just how a busy bee survives in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

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Episode 33 – Southern Grasshopper Mouse: The Wasteland Warrior

“…and today we’re talking about a creature that is the half-orc barbarian class of mice and would give Cluny the Scourge a run for his money.”

Intro

The sonoran desert can be a hard place to find a good meal, especially for a hungry mouse. Plus, what can you do when one of your favorite meals also packs one of the most powerful stings in North America? Sometimes, survival comes down to chemical warfare and an aggressive attitude in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

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Episode 32 – Geography Cone Snail: A Diabetical Evil

“…and today we’re talking about a snail that would leave a trail of pale dales, if it were to go to a shell collecting conventional in a town full of handsy guys name dale.”

Description

Sea snail with a cylindrical shell. The shell has a base pinkish white color with brownish red splotches that form thick broken bands. The snails visible foot is also blotchy with brown, yellow, and tan colorations. Like fake harvest time corn decorations. A proboscis protrudes from the side opposite the Apical side (spiral part). The proboscis sheaths a sinister tooth which can shoot out unsuspecting feesh.

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Episode 31 – Barn Owl: The Sneaky Screech

“…And today we’re talking about sneak flying fluff with the face of an adorable ghost.”

Intro

A predator needs to be fast. The ever-alert prey of the fields and forests always have an ear and eye out for potential threats. If you’re not fast, there’s only one thing you can do, fly under the radar of those ears and eyes. Barn owls have adapted to forgo speed in favor of stealth. But how can they fly through the forest without being seen or heard by vigilant vermin? Defying the laws of aerodynamics is what it takes to catch a quick meal, in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

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Episode 30 – Hoatzin: The Fowl-Smelling Tree Cow

“…And today we are talking about a weird and clumsy birb that is inexplicably not endangered.”

Taxonomy Debate

Given its own order because it’s such a little weirdo. But some think it could be closely related to other birds like tinamous, the Galliformes (gamebirds), the rails, the bustards, seriemas, sandgrouse, doves, turacos and other Cuculiformes, and mousebirds. Others believe they come from prehistoric birds. One compelling reason is that it has claws on it’s wings when it is first hatched. Like archaeopteryx.

Description

About the size of a pheasant. Multicolored with golden yellow breast, dark colored back, featherless blue face, yellow tufts on the top of the head, and red/brown/orange flight feathers. Long tail with distinct tail feathers that splay out. Long neck with a small head. Looks prehistoric.

Measure Up

Wingspan – 65 centimeters (26 in) – How many Hoatzins would it take to get to the top of Machu Pichu? 3,624 Hoatzins.

Length – 65 centimeters (26 in) -How many Hoatzin would it take to equal one topo, an Incan unit of measurement? Hint: a topo is 6,000 thatkiys (One pace). 12,068 Hoatzin

Weight –  816 g (1.8 pounds) – The average birth weight of Peruvian infants decreases (by 65 g) with every 500 meters of altitude by a specific rate. How many infant birth weight decreases would it take to equal an entire Hoatzin. About 12.5 Hoatzins.

Fast Facts

They eat 82% leaves, 10% flowers, and 8% fruit. They clamber around branches clumsily. Pretty tame and will let you get close, unless it gets sick of you. They are social and nest in colonies.

Adults nest above water in seasonally flooded forests. Hatchlings can climb away from nests when threatened by a predator.May also drop into the water and swim to safety.

Episode 29 – Humpback Whale: Krill or be Krilled

Intro

The ocean is a vast world filled with perils, including an array of large, voracious predators looking to make a meal out of anything they can get their jaws around. But there’s one aquatic avenger that seems to answer the call to protect and surf. The Humpback Whale is a creature with sophisticated intelligence but could it be advanced enough to feel empathy? A trait that’s truly rare in Life, Death, and Taxonomy.

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