Meet the Yakutian Horse, Who Can Live at 94 Degrees Below Zero

Far-East Siberia is the land where the woolly mammoth once roamed. The winter landscape is starkly beautiful — and fatal. Temperatures can plummet to -94 degrees Fahrenheit (-70 Celsius).

The Yakutian horse is a native to this Siberian Sakha Republic (or Yakutia) region. This rare and special horse has developed to survive in this extreme climate and has the ability to locate and graze on vegetation that is under deep snow cover. However, its special adaptations go beyond locating food and include unique hormonal responses involved in the regulation of thermogenic requirement and the production of anti-freezing compounds.

A study, conducted by an international team of researchers led by Dr. Ludovic Orlando from the Centre for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, found that these traits took only 800 years to develop. From an evolutionary standpoint, that’s overnight, and it is one of the fastest examples of adaptation within mammals. The adaptive process involved changes in the expression of a variety of genes, including some also selected in human Siberian groups and even the extinct woolly mammoth.

See more about these amazing horses:

Meanwhile, on Rabbit Island…

We all knew about Japan’s Cat Islands, right? But, did you know there is also a Rabbit Island? Ōkunoshima (大久野島), is a small island located in the Inland Sea of Japan in the city of Takehara, Hiroshima Prefecture. It is often called Usagi Jima (ウサギ島, “Rabbit Island”) because of the feral rabbits that roam the island. As you can see in the video, they are rather fearless and will approach — and mob — humans.

Animal Picture of the Day:
Squacco Heron

The squacco heron (Ardeola ralloides) is a small heron, of Old World origins, breeding in southern Europe and the Greater Middle East. The squacco heron is a migrant, wintering in Africa. This is a stocky species with a short neck, short thick bill, and buff-brown back. In summer, adults have long neck feathers. Its appearance is transformed in flight, when it looks very white due to the color of the wings.

WordPress theme: Kippis 1.15