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10 More Lesser-Known Names for Baby Animals

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Flickr: gamppart

We’ve already gathered up barely-heard-of names for newborn animals, but there are even more lesser-known monikers. "Look at that little squeaker" may not be the most perfect thing to coo at a baby pigeon, but it's accurate. Here are 10 more of the offbeat and uncommon references for baby animals.

1. Baby skunk: kit

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Kits bear physical signs of what their fur patterns will look like when they're full-grown adults. They have markings on their naked skin that will later be replaced by fur. It's like a peek into the future. And yes, baby skunks have the ability to spray from birth, but their chemical defense mechanism isn't as strong.

2. Baby turkey: Poult

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After hatching, baby turkeys take shelter under their mom's wings. If they get separated, they let out a panic call. Multiple poults actually travel in a single-file line.

3. Baby guanaco: chulengo

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Chulengos come from another barely-known animal: the guanaco, a South American-native animal from the camelid family. Even though they're related to camels, they don't have humps on their backs.

4. Baby rat: Pinkie

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Technically, a "pinkie" is a baby rat that is going to be used as food, but it's a cute name. The name is frequently used by snake owners.

5. Baby Peafowl (more commonly known in the male form as a peacock): Peachick

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Raised in captivity for more than 2000 years, the U.S. has mostly blue (or Indian) peafowls. Peafowl is the all-encompasing term for what is generally called a peacock. A peacock refers to a male peafowl and a peahen refers to a female. A peafowl is only a peachick when it is younger than one year old.

6. Baby oyster: spat

Courtesy of Unama'ki Institute of Natural Resources

Way before it's possible to grow a pearl, a spat must grow into an oyster. Usually in the spring or the fall, adult pearl oysters will spawn into rich, nutrient loaded waters, and the oyster's sperm will fertilize the eggs. It takes about one or two months for a spat to grow to a size visible to the naked eye.

7. Baby mosquito: nymph, wriggler, tumbler

Courtesy of iamtonyang

A baby mosquito's name isn't related to Tumblr, the popular blogging website. Little tumblers (sometimes called wrigglers or nymphs) have occupied Earth for more than 210 million years, but their life expectancies are extremely low. Male mosquitoes live for less than a week and females can live up to a few months under ideal conditions.

8. Baby frog: Polliwog, tadpole, froglet

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There are three names for baby frogs, depending on which segment of the life cycle they're in. After 21 days of being an embryo, a baby frog is called a tadpole (but really is called a polliwog) and at this point, has a long tail and lives in the water. It actually becomes a tadpole when it sprouts legs. As a froglet, the tadpole has almost matured into a full-grown adult that breathes with lungs, but still has a bit of a tail.

9. Baby eel: Elver

Courtesy of TakakoUno

The value of elvers has skyrocketed in recent years as the demand for them has spiked in Asia. In fact, in February 2013, out of 5000 applicants in Maine's elver lottery, only four fishermen were given licenses to use hand-dip nets in the state's elver fishery. 

10. Baby pigeon: Squab, squeaker

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Parent pigeons typically hide their young for a month after hatching, ensuring that they will be able to survive. As a result, it's very rare to see a squab (or squeaker) because they're almost fully grown by the time parents let them spread their wings.

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These Deep-Sea Worms Could Live More Than a Thousand Years

Plunge below the sparkling surface of the Gulf of Mexico, head down into the depths, and there you'll find the ancient ones, growing in clusters of drab tubes like piles of construction equipment. Scientists writing in the journal The Science of Nature report that some of these worms could be more than 1000 years old.

When it comes to marine organisms, the deeper you go, the slower and older life gets. Biologists have found an octopus that guarded her eggs for four and a half years. They've seen clams born during the Ming dynasty and sharks older than the United States. They've seen communities of coral that have been around for millennia.

Previous studies have shown that some species of tube worm can live to be 250 years old. To find out if the same was true for other species—in this case, the Gulf of Mexico's Escarpia laminata—researchers spent years watching them grow. They used a long-lasting dye called Acid Blue to mark six clusters of worms, then let them to go about their wormy business. A year later, they collected all 356 blue-stained tubes and brought them back to the lab to measure their growth.

By calculating the speed of the worms' growth and comparing it to the size of the largest individuals, the scientists could devise a pretty good estimate of the oldest worms' age.

And boy, are they old. The researchers' worm-growth simulation suggested that the most ancient individuals could be more than 9000 years old. This seems incredible, even for tough old tube worms, so the scientists calculated a more conservative maximum age: a mere 1000 years.

A millennium-long lifespan is an extreme and not the average, the paper authors note. "There may indeed be large E. laminata over 1000 years old in nature, but given our research, we are more confident reporting a life span of at least 250 to 300 years," lead author Alanna Durkin of Temple University told New Scientist.

Still, Durkin says, "E. laminata is pushing the bounds of what we thought was possible for longevity."

She's excited by the prospect of finding older creatures yet.

"It's possible that new record-breaking life spans will be discovered in the deep sea,” she says, “since we are finding new species and new habitats almost every time we send down a submersible.”

 

[h/t New Scientist]

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Animals
Watch as Hummingbirds Fly, Drink, and Flap Their Tiny Wings in Slow Motion
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Hummingbirds have more feathers per inch than nearly any other bird, but it’s hard to fully appreciate their luminescent colors when they beat their wings between 70 to 200 times per second.

For the enjoyment of birders everywhere, National Geographic photographer Anand Varma teamed up with bird biologists and used a high-speed, high-resolution camera to capture the tiny creatures in slow motion as they flew through wind tunnels, drank artificial nectar from a glass vessel, and shook water from their magnificent plumage.

[h/t The Kid Should See This]

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