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Celebrate Japan's Cat Day with These 7 Japanese Instagram Cats

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Today is Neko no Hi in Japan (meaning "Cat Day"), but even though this is their version of a Hallmark holiday, it means more than just cuddling kitties and posting filtered photos of them lounging in the sun (though we're sure there's plenty of that happening). In 1987, the Executive Cat Day Committee (as advised by the Japan Pet Food Association) launched the new holiday, a day meant to honor their beloved pets, pray for their longevity, and celebrate a "model cat" who once traveled hundreds of miles to reunite with its owner. At the time, the AP reported that February 22 was chosen by the committee because "the date 2-22 in Japanese is pronounced 'ni-ni-ni,' approximating the 'nyan-nyan-nyan' that is the Japanese equivalent of 'meow-meow-meow.'"

In celebration of a country which reveres its cats enough to give them their own islandcat-camera street views, their own themed trains, and to give us Hello Kitty, here are seven social media accounts of Japan's favorite furballs to follow.

1. RYOTUKORO

This account features arty shots of three different cats, P-chan (a black cat), Nya-san (a brown one), and Tina (a striped cat).

2. _BEBETHECAT_

Tokyo's Bebe is an incredibly fluffy 4-year-old Persian feline with impressive anime eyes.

3. TOMIINYA

If you crave kitty consistency, this Russian Blue named Cocomo and a mix named Sol are fairly regular with their goodnight and good morning greetings. And, they're easily recognizable because of Sol's slightly cross-eyed gaze.

4. MARURUNA

This is a cat who appreciates a quick nap and a good neck pillow.

5. KOZHO

This account has plenty of videos of Bucho and Moja playing, lounging, and occasionally being compared to various cultural icons.

6. MSY1515

Documenting three curious cats named Shirasu, Hotate, and Clam, this Instagramer uses action shots and creative angles to show the furry friends at play.

7. MARUGAODESUYO

Called the Japanese "Grumpy Cat," 9-year-old Koyuki also always wears a sour expression on her sweet face, but her owner promises that "she is not upset."

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science
Why Can Parrots Talk and Other Birds Can't?
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If you've ever seen a pirate movie (or had the privilege of listening to this avian-fronted metal band), you're aware that parrots have the gift of human-sounding gab. Their brains—not their beaks—might be behind the birds' ability to produce mock-human voices, the Sci Show's latest video explains below.

While parrots do have articulate tongues, they also appear to be hardwired to mimic other species, and to create new vocalizations. The only other birds that are capable of vocal learning are hummingbirds and songbirds. While examining the brains of these avians, researchers noted that their brains contain clusters of neurons, which they've dubbed song nuclei. Since other birds don't possess song nuclei, they think that these structures probably play a key role in vocal learning.

Parrots might be better at mimicry than hummingbirds and songbirds thanks to a variation in these neurons: a special shell layer that surrounds each one. Birds with larger shell regions appear to be better at imitating other creatures, although it's still unclear why.

Learn more about parrot speech below (after you're done jamming out to Hatebeak).

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paleontology
Extinct Penguin Species Was the Size of an Adult Human
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A penguin that waddled across the ice 60 million years ago would have dwarfed the king and emperor penguins of today, according to the Associated Press. As indicated by fossils recently uncovered in New Zealand, the extinct species measured 5 feet 10 inches while swimming, surpassing the height of an average adult man.

The discovery, which the authors say is the most complete skeleton of a penguin this size to date, is laid out in a study recently published in Nature Communications. When standing on land, the penguin would have measured 5 feet 3 inches, still a foot taller than today’s largest penguins at their maximum height. Researchers estimated its weight to have been about 223 pounds.

Kumimanu biceae, a name that comes from Maori words for “monster" and "bird” and the name of one researcher's mother, last walked the Earth between 56 million and 60 million years ago. That puts it among the earliest ancient penguins, which began appearing shortly after large aquatic reptiles—along with the dinosaurs—went extinct, leaving room for flightless carnivorous birds to enter the sea.

The prehistoric penguin was a giant, even compared to other penguin species of the age, but it may not have been the biggest penguin to ever live. A few years ago, paleontologists discovered 40-million-year-old fossils they claimed belonged to a penguin that was 6 feet 5 inches long from beak to tail. But that estimate was based on just a couple bones, so its actual size may have varied.

[h/t AP]

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