How A Tiger’s Stripes Are Like A Mouse’s Mouth

Cruising around the interwebs, I caught sight of something.  I wasn’t sure what it was, because it was hiding in the tall grass, but upon further examination, it appeared to be a news story about a tiger.

Well, I have a certain affection for tigers, not in the animal sex way, which I am putting in here merely to boost stats and make sure that I can put a tag on here that will guarantee more stats because our site isn’t flagged by safe search and you people out there on the internet are hilariously gross, but because they are fascinatingly beautiful and terrifying.  Oh, the dreams that I have had about being dragged alive up into a tree to be devoured by a tiger.

Anyway, the reason this caught my eye is because it also involves you, internets.  Or at least someone you should know about, because it was a lot of this man’s theories that got us to the place where we can even have the conversation about animal sex on the internet.  His name is Alan Turing, and he was one of the forefront of computer technology in the mid 1900s.  Being at the forefront of computer technology then, by the way, sort of means that you were at the forefront of fire in 10,000 BC.  You were on the cutting cutting edge.

Turing was not just at the forefront of computers though, he was a generalist and theorized about a lot of stuff. One of the things that he theorized about was the reason that tigers get their stripes in certain patterns.  He used the most powerful weapon in his arsenal, inheritance and probability.  He believed there was an interference pattern based on genetics that created the tigers stripes.  This turns out to be the case, but the way we figured it out is interesting.

We used mouse mouths.  A mouse’s mouth has a ridged pattern that resembles a tiger’s stripes.  Someone, doing a lot of genetic analysis, has isolated the genes that create the striped pattern, and can now manipulate them. There is an activator gene, and an inhibitor gene.  We can now look at these genes and perhaps, finally, make a polkadotted tiger that can rip your face off.  Like God intended.

Check out the article on io9 here.

Picture from: here.


Podcast: Nicodemus, the friendly octopus, Man eaters, and Lions in Elephant Trains

Animal News: The Podcast is updating with the weirdest new intro time we have ever had.  Listen up for strange shout outs and even better news!


NEWS: Bad Animal Movie Wishes It Could Blame Ohio Tragedy For Awful Content

...and their touching stories.

56 exotic animals were released from a private nature preserve in Ohio. Wild Lions, Bengal Freaking Tigers, Cheetahs, Monkeys, Wolves and presumably less interesting, unnamed animals likely bounded across the Ohio countryside until they reached Zanesville whereupon they were spotted and people lost their minds.

49 were shot down with handguns and rifles and cars. That’s right, someone supposedly hit a lion with their car which has got to be some kind of the worst trauma for everyone and everything involved. The owner of the farm/reserve/park killed himself, was bitten by one of the precious cats (tiger) and his wife begged for her animals’ lives to be spared. There are some sad photos  that I just don’t care to put up you can just click links.

6 animals were found, tranquilized and sent to the Columbus Zoo. And 1 monkey is unaccounted for but chances are some other animal involved ate it.

Questions we’re all asking ourselves:

What was the deal with the guy? Who let him have all those animals? How does one get to collect such animals? No one got attacked but why were all those animals shot down? And aren’t handguns a really terrible way to take down huge animals like grizzly bears?

And, more importantly, Will the Exotic Animal Slaughter in Ohio Hurt the Movie ‘We Bought a Zoo’?

Wait, no…less importantly.

Did you actually watch that? I’m so sorry. Did you see the “Based on the True Story” part? The “For Christmas” bit?  I had to stop at:


That’s where the timing of this movie starts to seem a little insensitive. Because, no, don’t do something crazy related to wild fucking animals you have no clue how to deal with. I thought that was the point of  all those damn animal hoarding shows. Those shows aren’t entertainment people, they are life lessons. If you are not equipped or trained or wealthy enough to deal with all the pressure of raising children (Matt Damon) then certainly gigantic animals aren’t gunna work either.

Banned Books Week: Animals Edition

So, actually Banned Books Week was this past week (sept 24-oct 1) but whatever. I know you’re still excited about banned books, so much so that you’ll use any excuse to read the no doubt idiotic scandals that kept these books out of your school library.

And, because we’re Animal News, here are some books with animals in the titles.

Note: Books may or may not include titular animals as main characters. I’ll just cover my ass and say all books include the most animal animal of all animals: humans.

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell: No, a Tango isn’t an animal. I discussed this book on the podcast – it’s about a gay penguin couple raising a chick. It’s clearly banned because children will later come across the story about one of the penguin’s infidelity to his male birdspouse AND CHILDREN CANNOT KNOW ABOUT INFIDELITY.

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut: Adding a book like this to the list, I know why  teachers may have wanted it banned. Just imagine all the bullshit papers from students who didn’t reading the book going on about San Lorezan cats worshipping cradles and committing mass suicide or some nonsense. There’s only so many times you can read crap like that before doing something irrational like ban a book.

Rabbit, Run by John Updike: Rabbit, Run is the tale of a boy named Rabbit who is fast and loves carrots. His love of sex, carrots and being fast create friction with his friends from whom he must now escape. In conclusion, the author wants people to realize that despite their adorable appearance, rabbits, in fact, lead difficult lives just like the main character.

Cujo by Stephen King : You know why this book is on the list. Why, despite both being stories about a boy and his dog with rabies, Cujo gets cut and Old Yeller makes it through. If not, just infuse everything you know about Stephen King books into a story about a dog.

The Goats by Brock Cole & , incidentally, Lord of the Flies by William Golding : Not actually about titular animals but about the cruelty of young people. We’ve all seen children turn into animals with nearly no provocation whatsoever, so why are these books banned? Because we don’t want them to get any more crazy ideas, obviously.

I want to note here that, despite being frequently banned or challenged, I had to read Lord of the Flies three times in three different school due to moving three times in three years. AND I TURNED OUT FINE.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: This story teaches us, through a constant, unsavory barrage of racial epithets that, even though mockingbirds are insufferable birds that will copy cat nearly anything and screech it ad infinitum at some ungodly hour in the morning, we shouldn’t kill them or Tom Robinson. Wait, what.

Other challenged books that I don’t really care enough to elaborate on:

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck: Actually has lots of animals. Also, bad words. You hope the animals start swearing but it unfortunately never comes to that.

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craigshead George: Little bit of rape.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou: Unbelievable. Birds commit acts of rape, homosexual behavior and racism and WE DON’T BAN THEM.

A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck: Banned to protect children from the realities of mortality and where bacon comes from.

Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume: Heaven forbid a teenager read about another teenager learning how to cope with teenager problems. Teenagers.

I think that was pretty good. I hope everyone learned something about animals and will embark on the journey that is reading mildly depressing or upsetting content that probably would’ve gone over your head as a kid anyway.

I probably missed a few. Please offer more banned books and snarky defenses in the Comments.