Fumbling Cougar Kittens: Learning to Hunt

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F99, orphaned kitten, stretching near a successful kill. She’s wearing a new solar-assisted Iridium collar, which allows us to locate her kills more easily in the field. Photograph by Mark Elbroch / Panthera

We recently captured F99, a now 1-year old, orphaned, female cougar kitten followed by Panthera’s Teton Cougar Project (see post Why Adult Cougars Kill Each Other? for how she was orphaned and Orphaned Cougar Kittens and Their Inspiring Will to Survive for some of her adventures since). We swapped out the tiny, expandable collar that we’d given her at 5 weeks old, for a cutting-edge, solar-assisted, light-weight Iridium GPS collar. The Iridium collar is new technology—just 2/3 the weight of our lightest collar previously—and we programmed it to relay her location to our office computers every hour, on the hour, all day long.

We re-captured F99 with the hope that she would teach us something further about how kittens learn to hunt, even without a mother. She was just 36 pounds when we changed out her collar, which is about 20 pounds lighter than a typical 1-yr old female. She’d been physically stunted by her early period of starvation—she looked more like a 6-month old —> Read More Here

Your Atomic Self: The Invisible Elements That Connect You to Everything Else in the Universe (EXCERPT)

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One can only wonder how Albert Einstein might have wrestled with the still-open question of how inanimate atoms produce life. He freely acknowledged the limitations of human understanding, including his own, and in July 1945, he wrote, “We have to admire in humility the beautiful harmony of the structure of this world — as far as we can grasp it. And that is all.” Science alone can take us only so far in our efforts to grasp the world, but sometimes teaming it with the arts can carry us the rest of the way forward on that journey. As a musician, Einstein understood this, and perhaps his love of music offered him insights into how life arises from atoms in ways that are now described in terms of “emergence.”

An emergent phenomenon arises from relatively simple components that somehow become more than the sum of their parts, as random scratches become letters if they are shaped in certain ways. Letters can be grouped into words with meanings that depend upon their sequences. The letters e, l, f, and i, for example, can become “file” or “life.” Emerging from the same kind of mysterious zone wherein the arrangements of words —> Read More Here

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