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Animal kingdom

Published July 14, 2006

For young meerkats, class is in session

What's the best way to crack into a tough insect you want to have for dinner? How do you go about ripping the stinger off a scorpion without getting stung? These are some of the things that meerkats, little 2-pound mammals that live in complex societies, actively teach their young, according to a report in the journal Science. While the young of many species learn by observing older members of their group, it's less common for adults to take direct actions with the only goal being teaching. "Although there are anecdotal reports of teaching in species from chimpanzees to killer whales, until this year solid evidence was really lacking," said Alex Thornton, co-author of the report.

Dog drives truck, hits woman in road

Dog bites man: not a story. Man bites dog: story! Woman in truck runs over dog: not a story. Dog in truck runs over woman: story! A police dog was left in an officer's running truck while the officer responded to a call in Ogden, Utah. Now, whether he saw some crime to go fight, no one knows, but somehow, the dog, a German shepherd named Ranger, got the truck into gear and started down the road. He ran over Mary Stone as she was on her way to her mailbox. Her pelvis and tailbone were fractured. The truck stopped when it hit another vehicle in Stone's driveway. Ranger was not ticketed in the accident.

This bird preferred snake well done

What happens when a bird drops a snake on a power line? In Las Cruces, N.M., about 2,000 customers lose their electricity. When the snake hit the line, it appears it shorted it out, according to El Paso Electric Co. spokeswoman Teresa Souza. "I know that's weird. I've never heard anything like that and I've been working here for 10 years," she said. No word on what kind of bird might have dropped the snake, and the power company refused to divulge the size of the snake. Power was restored in less than an hour.


First came triplets; and now, quads

You might be a little overwhelmed if you gave birth to quadruplets three years after having triplets. When Angela Magdaleno of Los Angeles gave birth to two boys and two girls on July 6, she didn't know what to think. "I don't know if I'm sad or happy," she said. "I'm happy but, I don't know. I don't know how to explain it." Her total count on kids is now up to nine, if only because they're running out of names.


My kingdom for a complete First Folio

A rare complete copy of the First Folio of Shakespeare's plays, widely regarded as one of the most important books in the English language, sold for $5.2-million at auction Thursday. London dealer Simon Finch Rare Books purchased the book - still in its original 17th century calfskin binding - during a sale at Sotheby's. The book is one of about 40 complete copies known to exist and one of the few in private hands.

[Last modified July 14, 2006, 02:45:43]

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