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22 Vintage Photos of Animals Acting Like People

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Getty Images

Forget celebrities being just like us. These vintage photos prove that animals have a rich history of indulging in activities usually reserved for humans.

They Listen to Music...

This image: Music lovers partner up for their favourite dance programme on the wireless, February 1926. Top image: A cat wearing headphones to listen to a radio, January 1926.

...And Go to Bars.

January 1936: A camel approaches the bar to be served by "Zandra," the pantomime cat from 'Dick Whittington' at Bournemouth Pavillion.

They Enjoy Family Meals...

July 1936: 'Tornado' Smith, the Wall of Death rider from Southend, and his wife having tea with their pet lion and lamb.

...And Go to Parties.

June 1934: Snake charmer Arimund Banu holds a party for stage performers' pets at the Prince of Wales Theatre, London.

They Play Board Games...

February 1933: A lamb and a cat playing draughts, watched over by a bantam, at Langford, Somerset.

...And Enjoy Sporty Activities!

1940: A young boy on skates clutches a large tabby cat.

Obesity is a problem for them, too.

1935: Ginger, the heaviest cat in London, is greeted by one of the staff at the restaurant where he lives, High Holborn, London, 12th October 1935. Ginger weighs in at twenty-three pounds

They Go on Road Trips...

September 1934: Mrs C Wylds behind the wheel with her pet pig at Terling in Essex.

...And Take Primping Seriously.

April 1932: Feline film star "Tibby" rests on the knee of Abraham Sofaer, leading man in her film for British Lion at Beaconsfield, The Flying Squad, while make-up man Gerald Fairbank trims her whiskers for the camera.

They Indulge in Fine Meals at Fancy Restaurants.

1980: Arthur, the cat food commercial cat, is wined and dined at a fancy restaurant.

They Get Behind the Wheel.

1933: A cat and a bulldog in a toy car.

They sing, too!

1926: Mr Macfrisco, the singing sea lion, has a singing lesson.

They Celebrate Birthdays...

August 1977: A twenty-seven year old cat celebrates her birthday, an age equivalent to 189 in human terms.

...And Go Window Shopping.

American silent film actress Phyllis Gordon (1889 - 1964) window-shopping in Earls Court, London with her four-year-old cheetah who was flown to Britain from Kenya.

They Strike a Pose.

June 1956: Members of the Malayan Police Band Bachan Singh and Abdul Rahman, due to appear at the Royal Tournament, visit London Zoo and make friends with Anabella the Orang-Outang.

They Do Laundry.

September 1933: A cat hangs a row of tame rats on the washing line to dry.

They Need an Annual Checkup from a Good Doctor. 

A zoo vet holding an iguana, circa 1956.

They go tanning.

January 1938: A piglet which is being treated by the PDSA (People's Dispensary for Animals) in Ilford with a sun ray lamp, to cure a skin ailment.

They Wear Glasses...

1925: Film actress Fay Webb with her pet goose, which is wearing an attractive pair of glasses.

...And Use Weapons.

1956: "Carrots" the rabbit fires table tennis balls from a toy cannon.

And hey—they write, too!

1955: A woman teaching her kangaroo to type.

All photos courtesy of Getty Images.

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Oakley Originals, Flickr Creative Commons // CC BY 2.0
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Animals
Could Imported Sperm Help Save America’s Bees?
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Oakley Originals, Flickr Creative Commons // CC BY 2.0

It might be time to call in some sexual backup for male American bees. Scientists have started impregnating domestic honeybees with foreign sperm in the hopes that enlarging the gene pool will give our bees a fighting chance.

These days, the bees need all the help they can get. Colonies across the globe are disappearing and dying off, partly due to the increased use of neonicotinoid pesticides and partly from a parasite called the varroa mite. The invasive mite first landed on American shores in 1987, and it's been spreading and sickening and devouring our bees ever since.

Part of the problem, researchers say, is that the American bee gene pool has gone stagnant. We stopped importing live honeybees in 1922, which means that all the bees we've got are inbred and, therefore, all alike. They lack the genetic diversity that allows species to adapt to changing conditions or new threats. So when the mites come, they all get hit.

Many apiarists now rely on anti-mite pesticides to keep their charges safe. While these treatments may help keep the mites away, they aren't great for the bees, either—and the mites have begun to develop a resistance. But beekeepers feel like their hands are tied.

"I lost 40 percent of my colonies to varroa last fall," Matthew Shakespear of Olson's Honeybees told NPR. "I'm not taking any more chances. We've already done five treatments, compared with the two treatments we applied this time last year."

But there might be another way. Experts at the University of Washington have started to—how can we put this delicately?—manually encourage drones (male bees) in Europe and Asia to give up their sperm. All it takes is a little belly rub, and the drone, er, donates 1 microliter of fluid, or one-tenth of the amount needed to inseminate a queen bee.

Fortunately, the bees don't mind at all. "They're really accommodating," bee breeder and researcher Susan Cobey told NPR.

So far, the scientists' attempts to crossbreed foreign and domestic bees have been successful. Within their test colonies, genetic diversity is up.

"This doesn't mean they are superior in performance to the other bees," researcher Brandon Hopkins said. "It means we have a better chance of finding rare and unique traits." Traits, Hopkins says, like genetic resistance to the varroa mites—a quality shared by donor bees in Italy, Slovenia, Germany, Kazakhstan, and the Republic of Georgia.

Other beekeepers are opting for a more hands-off approach, introducing imported queens to their domestic hives. Shakespear bought his from Cobey, who reared them from bees she collected in Slovenia.

"Maybe these new genetics can deal with the varroa mites naturally," Shakespear said, "rather than having to rely on chemicals. It's time to start widening our gene pool."

[h/t The Salt]

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Natural History Museum
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London's Natural History Museum Has a New Star Attraction: An Amazing Blue Whale Skeleton
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Natural History Museum

In January 2017, London’s Natural History Museum said goodbye to Dippy, the Diplodocus dinosaur skeleton cast that had presided over the institution’s grand entrance hall since 1979. Dippy is scheduled to tour the UK from early 2018 to late 2020—and taking his place in Hintze Hall, The Guardian reports, is a majestic 82-foot blue whale skeleton named Hope.

Hope was officially unveiled to the public on July 14. The massive skeleton hangs suspended from the hall’s ceiling, providing visitors with a 360-degree view of the largest animal ever to have lived on Earth.

Technically, Hope isn’t a new addition to the Natural History Museum, which was first established in 1881. The skeleton is from a whale that beached itself at the mouth of Ireland's Wexford Harbor in 1891 after being injured by a whaler. A town merchant sold the skeleton to the museum for just a couple of hundred pounds, and in 1934, the bones were displayed in the Mammal Hall, where they hung over a life-size blue whale model.

The whale skeleton remained in the Mammal Hall until 2015, when museum workers began preparing the skeleton for its grand debut in Hintze Hall. "Whilst working on the 221 bones we uncovered past conservation treatments, such as the use of newspaper in the 1930s to fill the gaps between the vertebrae," Lorraine Cornish, the museum's head of conservation, said in a statement. "And we were able to use new methods for the first time, including 3D printing a small number of bones missing from the right flipper."

Once restoration was complete, Hope was suspended above Hintze Hall in a diving position. There she hangs as one of the museum’s new major attractions—and as a reminder of humanity’s power to conserve endangered species.

"The Blue Whale as a centerpiece tells a hopeful story about our ability to create a sustainable future for ourselves and other species," according to a museum press release. "Humans were responsible for both pushing the Blue Whale to the brink of extinction but also responsible for its protection and recovery. We hope that this remarkable story about the Blue Whale will be told by parents and grandparents to their children for many years to come, inspiring people to think differently about the natural world."

Check out some pictures of Hope below.

 “Hope,” a blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling of Hintze Hall in London’s Natural History Museum.
Natural History Museum

“Hope,” a blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling of Hintze Hall in London’s Natural History Museum.
Natural History Museum

“Hope,” a blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling of Hintze Hall in London’s Natural History Museum.
Natural History Museum

“Hope,” a blue whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling of Hintze Hall in London’s Natural History Museum.
Natural History Museum

[h/t Design Boom]

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