Watch: Breaching Whale Lands on Boat in Mexico

A jaw-dropping video from Mexico shows the moment when a humpback whale burst forth from beneath the surface of a bay and landed onto a boat of unsuspecting passengers. The wild incident reportedly occurred earlier this month off the coastal community of Topolobampo as a handful of small vessels were out on the water. Whatever serenity may have been experienced that day was no doubt shattered when one particular boat ventured too close to a juvenile whale and wound up causing the giant creature to go on the attack.

In the shocking footage of the encounter, the agitated aquatic animal can be seen suddenly breaching from the water and rising high up into the air before crashing down onto the boat as horrified witnesses scream out in terror. The beast’s proverbial pancaking of the vessel left its four unfortunate passengers needing to be hospitalized with two sustaining significant injuries. The boat itself was also badly damaged, though it surprisingly managed to stay afloat despite having been slammed by seven tons of ornery whale.

THE ODD BEAUTY OF EELS

By Marie-Amélie Carpio

Capturing underwater beauty is routine for David Doubilet and Jennifer Hayes, who have explored some of the most spectacular reefs on the planet. Yet a colony of garden eels they encountered off the Philippines coast brought back memories. “I began my career at National Geographic in 1971 with a story on garden eels in the Red Sea,” said Doubilet, a Nat Geo Explorer. Taking these images, he said, “was like coming home.”

Garden eels are both social and shy. They live in individual burrows yet form colonies and rise together out of their burrows to feed on plankton carried by the current. (Pictured above, a two-spot wrasse and a cornerfish, unthreatening to the eels, swim through a colony.)

“It’s mesmerizing to watch hundreds of eels waving and undulating in an ancient exotic dance,” says Doubilet. Yet “that ends abruptly when the eels detect the slightest movement of an unwelcome intruder. The vast colony vanishes back into the sand as if it never existed.”

To capture the scene above, the photographers had to—quite literally—disappear.

“Jennifer settled on the Trojan Horse strategy,” Doubilet explains. Hayes placed a rock the same size and color of their camera housing near the edge of the colony and left it for a day. The eels apparently accepted the rock—and rose from their burrows. The next morning, she put the camera housing there, left—and then filmed.

Dinner interrupted: A hawksbill turtle stops eating sponges to confront its reflection in the lens. The turtle finds the sponges tucked under coral.

The vibrant coral: A pink soft coral and a bone-colored chalice coral are surrounded by anthias off Pescador Island, near Cebu. The photographers say the healthiest reefs in the Philippines are as vibrant with life as any they have seen.

Trying to save the young: A titan triggerfish, exhausted after battling to defend the eggs in its nest, lies down in a last attempt to save its young from moon wrasses. The robust corals on this reef attract a stunning array of sea life.

National Geographic

Boy, six, finds giant megalodon shark tooth on Bawdsey beach

Sammy Shelton
Image caption,Sammy Shelton found the giant tooth on a Suffolk beach

A six-year-old boy has found a shark tooth belonging to a giant prehistoric megalodon that could be up to 20 million years old.

Sammy Shelton found the 10cm-long (4in) tooth on Bawdsey beach in Suffolk during a bank holiday break.

It has been confirmed as belonging to a megalodon – the largest shark that ever existed – by expert Prof Ben Garrod.

His dad Peter Shelton said Sammy was sleeping with it near his bed as he was “very attached to it”.

The pair, from Bradwell near Gorleston-on-Sea in Norfolk, were searching for fossils when they came across the giant shark’s tooth, as first reported in the Great Yarmouth Mercury.

“Sammy was very excited as we’d seen fragments of shark teeth on the beach, but nothing as big and heavy as this,” Mr Shelton said.

Artist's impression of a megalodon
Image caption,Megalodon was a giant and dwarfed all other sea creatures
Sammy Shelton holding a shark's tooth on a beach
Image caption,Sammy found the tooth on the beach beneath Bawdsey’s eroding sandy cliffs while on holiday on 30 May

Photographs of the find were sent to Prof Garrod, a broadcaster and evolutionary biologist at the University of East Anglia in Norwich.

“It belonged to a megalodon, the largest ever shark – and its teeth are not often found around the UK coastline,” he said.

“Maybe just a handful a year, but this is a particularly good example, in really good condition, whereas they are usually quite worn when found.”

Megalodon was a maximum of 16 - 18 metres long, great white sharks are 5 metres and humans about 1.75 metres

The megalodon could grow up to 18m (60ft) in length, scientists estimate, and weigh up to 60 tonnes, he said.

Dwarfing anything else swimming in the waters at the time, these were “specialist whale eaters – they were ambush hunters,” Prof Garrod said.

Shark's tooth in a hand
Image caption,The tooth was said to be in very good condition

The megalodon dominated all the seas around the world other than those parts of the oceans surrounding Antarctica.

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The megalodon

  • The cartilaginous fish (whose skeleton is made of cartilage rather than bone) was a carnivore and had no known predators
  • It could eat anything it liked, but its favourite food was whales, although seals would also have been on the menu
  • Most of this shark’s hunting was in the open sea (juveniles lived closer to shore) and it attacked its prey near the surface, when it came up for air
  • Megalodon could swim at high speed in short bursts so tended to rush its prey from beneath
  • It would first aim to disable its prey by injuring a flipper or the tail, then once unable to swim properly, the victim would be easy to finish off
  • Lived from about 20 million years ago, long after the dinosaurs became extinct 65 million years ago

Source: BBC Science

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The name means “big tooth” and the giants were active from about 22 million years ago until about three million years ago when they became extinct.

Sammy’s find was “a really big thing” for the little boy, Prof Garrod said.

“Not many people who look for a megalodon tooth actually find one,” he said.

“I know – I’ve been searching since I was a child and I knew all the beaches around the area – but I still haven’t found my megalodon.”

Shark's tooth next to a ruler
Image caption,The tooth measures about 10cm

Sammy’s excitement has been shared with his friends at school, and he took the tooth to his beaver cubs group, after which he was awarded his explorer badge, his father said.

Sammy described the “massive” tooth as his best-ever find, and said it was just lying there on the sand and pebbles.

BBC

The heavyweight Cattle breed in the World

Chianina

The Chianina is an Italian breed of cattle, formerly principally a draught breed, now raised mainly for beef. It is the largest and one of the oldest cattle breeds in the world. The famous bistecca alla fiorentina (‘beefsteak Florentine style’) is produced from its meat.

One of the oldest breeds of cattle, the Chianina originates in the area of the Valdichiana, from which it takes its name, and the middle Tiber valley. Chianina cattle have been raised in the Italian regions of Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio for at least 2200 years.

Chianina_Bulle

The Chianina is both the tallest and the heaviest breed of cattle. Mature bulls stand up to 1.8 m (5 ft 11 in), and castrated oxen may reach 2 m (6 ft 7 in). It is not unusual for bulls to exceed 1,600 kg (3,500 lb) in weight. Males standing over 1.51 m (4 ft 11 in) at 12 months are considered top-grade. A Chianina bull named Donetto holds the world record for the heaviest bull, reported by one source as 1,740 kg (3,840 lb) when exhibited at the Arezzo show in 1955, but as 1,780 kg (3,920 lb) and 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in) tall at the age of 8 by others including the Tenuta La Fratta, near Sinalunga in the province of Siena, where he was bred. Cows usually weigh 800–900 kg (1,800–2,000 lb), but commonly exceed 1,000 kg (2,200 lb); those standing over 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in) are judged top-grade. Calves routinely weigh over 50 kg (110 lb) at birth. The coat of the Chianina is white; very slight grey shading round the eyes and on the foreparts is tolerated. The skin, muzzle, switch, hooves and the tips of the horns are black.

At the end of 2010 there were 47,236 head registered in Italy, of which more than 90% were in Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio; it is, after the Marchigiana, the second indigenous beef breed of Italy.

Chianina1

Don’t want one these beasts to get agitated when you are nearby.

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Chianina3

Their history as draft animals means that Chianinas were bred for docile temperaments, as they had to work closely with people. That good disposition is important in a cow as large as the Chianina.

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