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The Biocentric Kama Sutra: Oral Sex According to Indian Flying Foxes

4 Apr

by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! News

[The text of this work is free to share and distribute under the following Creative Commons License CC-BY-ND 3.0]

Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus)

Indian flying fox (Pteropus giganteus)

Outside of the village of Nallachampatti in southern India, a colony of Indian flying foxes roost in a fig tree, tasting of the delicate figs, lighting off over forests and swamps in the night to hunt mangoes, bananas and to sup on the nectar of flowers. They are sensual bats with a taste for the sweetness of life, which, as new research reveals, includes the flavors of sex, of vagina, especially in the morning.

In a study conducted over the course of a year, a team of scientists, wielding binoculars and a rather voyeuristic appetite, witnessed male bats perform oral sex on females over and over. The kinky Ph.D’s say these fruit eating bats do it to make the sex last longer, a hypothesis that seems to say Pteropus giganteus knows a little something about the artful ways of love.

“Apart from humans, bats also exhibit oral sex as a courtship behavior,” said Ganapathy Marimuthu, a bat researcher at Madurai Kamaraj University in India.

[Cue sultry mood music and Barry White voice-narration] Continue reading

The Tiger: An Ecology of Teeth, the Anthropocene and Wild Revenge

22 Mar

illustration by becka rankin

review by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! News

[The text of this work is free to share and distribute under the following Creative Commons License CC-BY-ND 3.0]

There’s just something about a good tale of animal revenge: Moby Dick dragging the wretched Captain Ahab under the great shroud of the sea, yes! Or,  Tyke the Elephant, who, following her abduction from Africa and 20 years of service in a traveling circus, breaks from her handlers, kills her trainer, smashes through the railings of the ring, chases circus clowns and handlers, flips cars and fs them up and pulverizes property in the streets of Honolulu, uh…yeah give me more!

These stories provide hope that human supremacy has its weak points, that “man” has not won, has not completely jumped out of the game and into the captain’s chair. And our inspiration from these stories, whether open or in secret, is telling of our anxiety at being the species at the top of the genocide chain and also of our love of a good ole underdog. But of course, Moby Dick is fictional, and whales have been hunted and run over to near extinction and Tyke was gunned down. Her rhinestone tiara splattered in her own blood is now worn by another slave elephant. In the end its revenge and not animal liberation. We have to settle for that for now. But animal revenge, in the time of boring human supremacy, can be encouraging nonetheless. Continue reading

Anti-Anxiety Drug Makes River Fish Anti-Social

15 Feb

by Russ McSpadden

Oxazepam is a popular pharmaceutical that has been prescribed and used extensively–beginning in the 1960s–to treat anxiety, insomnia and a host of symptoms related to alcohol withdrawal. Traces of it pass from the drug’s user to the toilet and get flushed into water systems that find their way into rivers where they remain biochemically active. Until now the effects on wildlife have not been known.


Recently, a team of Swedish researchers discovered that oxazepam flushed into the wild has a similar effect on fish as it does on humans–they become less social, eat more, and are bolder–raising terrifying questions about the ecological impacts on wild fish populations.

The scientists were able to study the changes in behavior of European perch by recreating the oxazepam levels they found in wild river in a controlled aquarium setting.

“[Fish] exposed to water with dilute drug concentrations…exhibited increased activity, reduced sociality, and higher feeding rate,”  the team noted “As such, our results show that anxiolytic drugs in surface waters alter animal behaviors that are known to have ecological and evolutionary consequences.”

The altered behavior of the perch, which normally hunt in schools, indicates that they may now be less adapted to their environment.

The full study conducted by scientists at Umeå University in Sweden is published in the journal Science.

Hot Sea Slug Couple Boasts Two Disposable Penises, Two Vaginas

13 Feb

by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! Journal and Newswire

Sea slugs are wild and amazingly skilled lovers. For starters they have both male and female sexual organs which they like to use at the same time.


I’ll let Bernard Picton, curator of marine invertebrates at the National Museums in Northern Ireland explain how it works: [cue sultry music please]

“The genital apparatus is on the right hand side of the body. So two nudibranchs come together and one faces one way and one faces the other way, with the right hand side of their bodies touching.”

Don’t stop Mr. Picton, don’t stop.

“The penis from one fits into the female opening of the other one, and the penis from that one fits into the female opening of the first one, if you see what I mean.”

Oh, I think we see what you mean. These sea slugs are having a way better Valentines Day than just about any other species–and especially tame humans–aren’t they?

“They are both donating sperm to the other one.”

My goodness. But this isn’t all. According to a new report published in the Royal Society’s journal Biology Letters, one particular species of sea slugs, Chromodoris reticulata, has shocked scientists with its ability to Continue reading

The Ancient Art of Midwifery Practiced by Chinese Snub Nosed Monkeys

12 Feb

by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! News

[The text of this work is free to share and distribute under the following Creative Commons License CC-BY-ND 3.0]

Photo by Xi Xhinong

Photo by Xi Xhinong

The art of midwifery is ancient.  The lineage of women healers aiding childbearing mothers during pregnancy can be dated textually as far back as the Middle Kingdom period in ancient Egypt (and similarly in the Middle East and Greece). Archeological and anthropological evidence suggests it may very well date to the origins of our species.  It continues as a well respected profession practiced internationally today.

Its also not an exclusively human tradition. Recently, a team of zoologist observed the art of midwifery practiced by Chinese black snub nosed monkeys.

Its the first time biologists have actually ever seen these high-altitude monkeys labor and birth, because they usually do so in forest canopy at night and in under 15 minutes.

So imagine the surprise when Wen Xiao of Dali University in Yunnan and his colleagues stumbled upon a black snub nosed monkey mother in a rare day time birth aided but what appears to be a monkey midwife. Continue reading

Monsanto Joins the Coyote Extermination Business

10 Feb

by Russ McSpaddenCoyote_roadside

Monsanto, the multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation responsible for Agent Orange and the production of genetically engineered seeds, is now in the coyote exterminating business, at least in and around one of its chemical plants in Luling, Louisiana.

According to a spokesperson for the world’s most evil GE mega-corporation, the wily coyotes that thrive along the east and west banks of St. Charles Parish are a nuisance. Continue reading

Love and Revenge: Sperm Whales Adopt Disabled Dolphin

4 Feb

by Russ McSpadden / Earth First! News

[The text of this work is free to share and distribute under the following Creative Commons License CC-BY-ND 3.0]

It was Moby Dick that dismasted me; Moby Dick that brought me to this dead stump I stand on now. Aye, aye! it was that accursed white whale that razeed me; made a poor pegging lubber of me for ever and a day. Aye, aye! and I’ll chase him round Good Hope, and round the Horn, and round the Norway Maelstrom, and round perdition’s flames before I give him up. And this is what ye have shipped for, men! to chase that white whale on both sides of land, and over all sides of earth, till he spouts black blood and rolls fin out. –Captain Ahab– from Moby Dick

illustration by becka rankin

illustration by becka rankin

Spoiler alert, Moby Dick, the human devouring sperm whale of Herman Melville’s epic whaling novel of the same name, kills Captain Ahab—that ole son-of-a-barnacle’s-taint—and to the great relief of many a hunted sea beast. As a character, Ahab truly was a fine example of a dastardly whaler and neither Greenpeace nor Sea Shephard could be written to have given him his just deserts as well as our cetacean comrade.  In the text, Moby Dick is both hero and antagonist and a truly enigmatic literary metaphor for the savagery of both nature and civilization, for revenge, madness, greed, god, the soul and justice, but never love.

But what shall ye make of the knowledge, Mr. Mellville, of sperm whales as loving adoptive parents who were recently sighted crossing the species boundary to care for a disabled dolphin?

Continue reading