Chimps Have Been Spotted Chowing Down on Tortoises

iStock/wekeli
iStock/wekeli

Like the sea-dwelling turtle, the land-based tortoise makes up for its glacial locomotion by existing in a hard protective shell that predators find difficult to penetrate. Unless, of course, that predator is a chimpanzee. In that case, a tortoise is vulnerable to being attacked, bashed against a tree, and having their meat sucked out like a shucked oyster.

This alarming demonstration of the food chain was recently observed for the first time at Loango National Park in Gabon, a country in central Africa. The chimps had become habituated to human researchers over several years. Writing in Scientific Reports, researchers documented 34 instances of the chimps picking up a tortoise and successfully smashing the underside, or plastron, of the shell against a tree to break it. (The top is called a carapace.) Freeing the tortoise from its defensive armor, the chimps proceeded to climb trees and dine out on the squirming reptiles.

Though chimps possess astonishing strength, not all of them were able to successfully crack the shells. When a few females and one juvenile tried, male chimps finished the job for them. The chimps also shared the meat among members of their group. One even ate half of a tortoise, then stuck the other half in a tree for later, an indication he was planning for the future.

Researchers aren't totally sure why chimps target tortoises for snacking. There are other food sources like fruit available in the environment. One possibility is that from May to October, tortoises make a tremendous amount of noise scurrying among the leaves, drawing attention to themselves as possible prey. Morbidly, it's also worth noting that their shells have nerve endings. That means that getting cracked open against a tree by a chimp is exactly as painful as it sounds.

[h/t Smithsonian]

This Smart Accessory Converts Your Instant Pot Into an Air Fryer

Amazon
Amazon

If you can make a recipe in a slow cooker, Dutch oven, or rice cooker, you can likely adapt it for an Instant Pot. Now, this all-in-one cooker can be converted into an air fryer with one handy accessory.

This Instant Pot air fryer lid—currently available on Amazon for $80—adds six new cooking functions to your 6-quart Instant Pot. You can select the air fry setting to get food hot and crispy fast, using as little as 2 tablespoons of oil. Other options include roast, bake, broil, dehydrate, and reheat.

Many dishes you would prepare in the oven or on the stovetop can be made in your Instant Pot when you switch out the lids. Chicken wings, French fries, and onion rings are just a few of the possibilities mentioned in the product description. And if you're used to frying being a hot, arduous process, this lid works without consuming a ton of energy or heating up your kitchen.

The lid comes with a multi-level air fry basket, a broiling and dehydrating tray, and a protective pad and storage cover. Check it out on Amazon.

For more clever ways to use your Instant Pot, take a look at these recipes.

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Researchers Just Unearthed ‘Lost’ Footage of the Extinct Tasmanian Tiger—Watch It Here

A Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, in captivity circa 1930.
A Tasmanian tiger, or thylacine, in captivity circa 1930.
Topical Press Agency/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

For 85 years, the last known footage of the now-extinct Tasmanian tiger sat forgotten in the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia (NFSA), until it was recently unearthed by researchers from a Facebook group called the Tasmanian Tiger Archive.

The NFSA’s newly digitized 21-second clip is part of a nine-minute travelogue called Tasmania the Wonderland from 1935, presumed to be the work of Brisbane filmmaker Sydney Cook (though the film is missing its credits, so that remains unconfirmed). It shows a striped, dog-like creature named Benjamin—the last of his kind ever in captivity—pacing his cage at Tasmania’s Beaumaris Zoo, which shut down in 1937.

Tasmanian tigers aren’t actually tigers—they’re carnivorous marsupials called thylacines. TreeHugger reports that the species died out in mainland Australia about 2000 years ago, but they managed to survive in Tasmania until the 20th century. Though thylacines were officially declared extinct after Benjamin died from suspected neglect in September 1936, the status has been highly contested to this day.

“Do I think the animal is extinct?” Neil Waters of the Thylacine Awareness Group of Australia told HowStuffWorks. “No, because I have seen two and been coughed/barked at by one in South Australia in 2018. There have been more than 7000 documented sightings of thylacines (or animals that appear to be thylacines), with the majority of those sightings on mainland Australia.”

Considering that fewer than a dozen known clips—a total of just over three minutes—of film footage showing thylacines exist today, Benjamin’s 21 seconds of fame in Tasmania the Wonderland is a monumental rediscovery. And, since thylacines were exhibited in zoos in Washington, New York, Sydney, Berlin, and other cities after the advent of film, the NFSA is optimistic that more footage could turn up in time.

[h/t TreeHugger]