anonymous asked:

Does the word "shellfish" annoy you since shellfish aren't fish? Does it bother you when people call orcas "killer whales" when they're dolphins? Because it bothers me even though I only have a high school level understanding of Biology I wanted to know if it was just me...

Hmm I think I used to, but now not so much, and I’ll tell you why.

Common or colloquial names vary so much within and between localities and languages that we shouldn’t expect the same kind of stringency we hold to real scientific names and groupings. The point of a name is to convey information, and in certain contexts an informal and not necessarily biologically accurate common name is suitable to convey relevant information to a wide group of people within a certain locality. Bird common names are particularly bad, for example an american blackbird is not closely related to the eurasian blackbird at all, and in addition there are about 26 (not necessarily related) species called blackbirds found in the Americas. However, if you are sitting in your garden in the UK and you hear a blackbird, you don’t need to differentiate between that and the 26 American birds to know that what you are hearing is Turdus merula. Common names are perfectly acceptable in the right context. 

Now, shellfish is a handy and historically well established culinary term for basically any edible marine invertebrate. I don’t think it would be necessary to have to start saying bivalve chowder, linguine with marine invertebrates, or decapod tempura just for the sake of scientific accuracy. The term is specific to English too - in latin based languages such as French, Spanish, and Italian etc., the same group of animals are referred to under the umbrella term of “Fruits of the Sea”. We know they are not fruits, and I’m sure (or I at least hope) that most people know that “shellfish” are not actually fish, however, as the title of my favourite podcast goes, there’s No Such Thing As A Fish - this is because the group of animals that we would call fish, is a paraphyletic group - which in terms of biological semantics, doesn’t exist.

 Basically, a paraphyletic group is a group of organisms including the latest common ancestor, but not including all descendants. Below in yellow are the groups that we would typically refer to as “fish”, however this excludes amphibians, and other land vertebrates etc., which are nested in the fish family tree. In fact, humans are more closely related to ray finned fish (such as salmon etc.) than ray finned fish are to sharks, yet the term fish removes this information. 

The proper, monophyletic groupings (ancestor and all descendants), which retains such information are displayed below for contrast, but you don’t need to say that you are going Osteichthyes-ing when you are going on a fishing trip. 

We basically use the word fish to refer to non air-breathing marine vertebrates with that share general habitats and ecologies, which is a useful word to have. For example don’t need to have a different, scientifically accurate term for overfishing for each fishy group, that would weaken the meaning of terminology for the action of overfishing, and make conservation policy and public outreach more difficult. Overfishing as a word is easy to understand, and in this context, it gets the job done, whether you are a biologist, a policy maker, a fisherman, or an average joe. 

SO scientifically, even the word fish to begin with is problematic! But such semantics aren’t necessary for everyday life, and thus the word fish still has value. It’s widespread usage is simply historical leftover from when the word fish basically meant anything living in the sea (shellfish, starfish, jellyfish) -  even the word dolphin comes from the latin for fish with a womb, which leads me onto your next example…

And guess what, there’s no such thing as a dolphin - yes, it is yet again another paraphyletic group. The common term dolphin excludes porpoises and other small toothed whales which are nested within classical dolphin groups, i.e. the superfamily, Delphinoidea. 

But, like fish, dolphin is still a handy term to refer to a specific type of cetacean, so it’s not going to stop being used. 

The important thing to remember is that all dolphins are whales. There are two major sub orders within Cetacea, the Mysticeti, or baleen whales such as humpback, blue, grey, minke etc. - i.e what we would typically think of as whales. However, there are also the Odontoceti, the toothed whales, which includes sperm whales, beaked whales, river dolphins, oceanic dolphins, porpoises, beluga whales, and narwhals. If the term whale is understood not to include dolphins then it becomes a paraphyletic group. Even though an Orca is part of the oceanic Dolphin family Delphinidae (which also includes bottle nosed dolphins, common dolphins etc.), it is still technically a whale. ADDITIONALLY the name killer whale may be due to a mistranslation of their 18th century Spanish name, asesina-ballenas which literally translates as whale killer as indeed, Orcas will hunt baleen whales. 

Anyway the point is, at the end of the day, if the right information is conveyed by a common or informal name within the context of day to day life, scientific semantics are unnecessary. Lol, following that logic to the extreme would mean that the name seahorse is wrong. Of course it would be cool if people knew more about cetacean taxonomy, or took an interest in marine invertebrates, but I don’t think that enforcing correct nomenclature is central to doing that. Most of the time these terms are simply just the name for a thing, disassociated from any greater meaning - I would still use the words shellfish in a restaurant, or the word starfish or jellyfish etc. and I am currently studying marine invertebrates!

And hey, then next time those terms come up in conversation you could always use that opportunity to crack open a few fun facts about how orcas are part of the dolphin family, and that all dolphins are whales, or that the prawn and clam on your plate are not related to each other, or to that can of tuna in your cupboard.

Actually more serious post on the subject. I don’t like the now prevailing serious view that because dolphins are recorded doing fucked up shit that means dolphins are especially ~evil animals~

Most of the awful shit Dolphins do is in no way exclusive to Dolphins, killing other species for fun, infantcide, forceful violent sex, are hardly things limited to dolphins, those are things that occur (sometimes shockingly commonly)  in most feline and canine species including domestic cats and dogs.

 Also Dolphins arnt a homogenous group of animals, there are 44 species of them with a wide range of behaviours and temperaments. Just because one thing is common amoung bottle nosed Dolphins does not mean it’s common across all species.

The takeaway of (bottlenose) Dolphins being shockingly shitty shouldn’t be  that  Dolphins arnt good and are actually bad, it’s that there is no “good” or “evil” species and that even ones with what we view as admirable traits or that we like can still be aggressive and dangerous  and unpredictable 

What Don Juan Riberto REALLY doin in town:

I step out of my studio. The girl is still there. Having been coddled all her life, she is strong. This does not make sense, but I guess whatever. “Take me on as your apprentice,” she implores.

“What are three words that describe you?” I ask, proving I am kinder than you initially thought, and/or desperate to continue working.

“Comical, romantic, and gritty,” responds the girl.  I look at her furiously.

I walk down the street into town. The silver maples sway in the breeze, and I curse them for their slow growth rate. Such plants only absorb 3% - 6% percent of the suns energy, leaving the rest to beat down on my face like a laser. I sigh. I know there will be more lasers, t(b-h).

The market is but a short train ride away. I do not emotionally connect to the announcer, however, and miss my stop. I have to switch to a bus. THIS announcer whispers to me, sultry, “Northbound.” I died of pleasure right there at the sound of the voice’s impeccable voice acting training, but I will not include this line, as it is inappropriate here, only loosely related to the rest of the paragraph. The announcer breaks into a rap.

I get off the bus in the market place. I approach a vender, and ask for my usual $115 worth of meat and vegetables.

“No,” says the vender. “For we have had our approved organic seal revoked from our dairy products.”

“No,” I retort. “That sentence should go AFTER sentence 24.”

“Okay,” he says. “No, for we have had our approved organic seal revoked from our dairy products.”

“Damn…” I murmur. “Well, do you have any Gulf Toadfish in?”

“No, sorry,” the vender shakes his head. “No fish. Their population has been going down, do to excessive cockblocking by the bottle-nosed dolphins.”

“DAMN!” I (com)pound a fist against the table at an annual rate.

“Sorry,” the vender shrugged. “May I interest you in some artisanal sea sponges? They are the alive dominators and, why, I’d go so far as to say they are the organism in charge!”

My ears perk up. “Artisinal, you say?” I lean over to examine the experimental tray. I frown. “Did you…roll and boil these yourself?”

The vender is quiet a moment. “Welllllll….no. But they are heavenly over a bed of soybeans and 151 bushels of corn!”

“DDDDDAAAAMMMNNNN!!!!!” I scream up at the heavens, where I know the Stick Man hears me.

I run off into the; near-by, road. I plunge my hands 69 feet, nay, a mile, nay TEN MILES into my pockets. Why. Why me.

I sigh. Perhaps it is my ancestor’s fault…perhaps they used too many resources for me to be economically successful.  I hear a boat whistle far in the distance. I close my eyes. In the end…I know I have no one to blame but myself.

The Signs as PSAT Memes
  • Aries: cock blocking bottlenose dolphins
  • Taurus: non-FDIC approved organic food
  • Gemini: friendly but assertive voice
  • Cancer: grandma who starts off nice then turns out to be one of those bitchy old crones
  • Leo: the dominant species, organisms in charge, the living bosses, the alive domineers
  • Virgo: silver maple trees
  • Libra: bagels that are hand-rolled and boiled in kettles rather than steamed in large batches
  • Scorpio: 69 feet
  • Sagittarius: ∠DAB
  • Capricorn: stickman
  • Aquarius: stellar system
  • Pisces: gulf toadfish

“In recent years years, bottle-nose dolphins were documented riding humpback whales in Hawaiian waters. The dolphins actually slide down the backs of the whales into the water like a makeshift "slip and slide”. Scientists believe it is just a game between the two species, because neither of them displays aggressive or distressed behavior toward the other. It seems to be play-time that they both genuinely enjoy. When the dolphins are riding on the whales’ backs, the whales will sometimes go up to the surface and lift the dolphins into the air. The interactions are rare or at least, very difficult to capture on camera.“  

(Via AELLA) 


After waking up this morning to find Beck dead in the hospital tank, I wasn’t expecting very much good from today. I have no idea where the Ick infection he had came from and I’m nervous that I might have contaminated my community tank. Beck definitely spread it to Adam’s 10 gallon, which is frustrating. And my female koi Betta has ick as well, so not sure how that is going to turn out.

When I went to Adam’s house in the afternoon, he told me “you’re going to be mad at me.” After delaying the reason why by showing me the new sword plants he bought, he walked me over to his desk where a Petco King Betta was busy nosing around a Kritter Keeper.

It turned out to be the exact fish I had been fawning over the day before, when we had gone to purchase some substrate. Sparkly, spotted and absolutely ridiculous. I am a lucky woman 😊

Meet my new boy! He is spoony and hunchy and has the most absurd Mohawk. Adam says he looks like a bottle nose dolphin, and I say he is a fish with a porpoise in life. He eats like a pig and splashed all over his cup after being packed up for the drive home. He doesn’t have a name yet. But I am absolutely in love with this little beast, and the man who gave him to me 😉

anonymous asked:

Why is captivity harmful for all cetaceans, rather than just orcas? Specifically I'm curious about bottle nosed dolphins. My opinion used to be that it's unethical for orcas because 1) of how they're treated (obviously), 2) the captive average lifespan is shorter than the wild average lifespan, and 3) they're at the top of the preditorial food chain. Dolphins seem to be happier around people bc of how social they are and they're captive lifespan tends to be longer. What is your opinion?

All cetaceans suffer in captivity no matter the species. They are simply too intelligent and have such complex social and spatial needs that cannot be met in an aquarium. Orcas seem to be the focus of most anti-cap groups because of the Blackfish documentary, because they are so large, and probably because there is fewer of them in captivity so it is easier to keep track of new births and deaths.

Other cetaceans, like bottlenose dolphins, suffer similarly to orcas. They tend to be the most popular cetacean in captivity because of the easiness it takes to train them and the permanent “grin” on their face, making them appear charismatic and friendly. However, there is a multitude of things that can go wrong when you confine these animals to a tank. They chew on gates. They mourn the loss of their young. They log at the surface. They engage in self-harming behaviors (like ramming their heads into walls).

It’s also popular in aquariums to let paying visitors swim with them. People have been raked, slapped, bitten, and slammed in programs like this. They only cooperate with the trainers because of a food reward. Interacting with dolphins is never safe when it is not on their terms.

Bottlenose dolphins also have complex social structures like orcas. While they may not stay with their immediate family for life, their bonds are very important to them. In the wild, females and their calves travel together to keep each other safe. On the other hand, males leave their mothers and travel in “bachelor groups” with other males to find females to mate with. They, (especially younger teenage ones) can become extremely aggressive around other dolphins when it comes to this issue.

So you can imagine the chaos that ensues when you throw these males with other females and even nursing calves into the same tank and call it good. One of the worst examples of this that I can think of was SeaWorld’s feeding pool. When I went there in 2008, I watched young calves being chased around and around this small pool by rowdy males with nowhere to hide. All of the dolphins had rake marks along their back or face. It was appalling, to say the least.

And this doesn’t just occur in dolphins. A few years ago at Marineland Canada, a young beluga calf named Skoot died from his injuries after being separated from his mother and rammed by adult males. Infanticide is more common in captivity than aquariums would like the public to believe.

Other problems with cetacean in captivity include:

• Belugas kept in too-warm of water and mixed with other species (i.e. belugas and Pacific white-sided dolphins in SeaWorld Texas’ Azul show)
• False killer whales stuck in tanks when they are able to dive to depths of 2000 meters in the wild
• Shy species like Commerson’s dolphins or harbor porpoises being exposed to loud music and crowds of people (I.e. SeaWorld’s atrocious slip-n-slide ride that goes straight through a Commerson’s tank)

Feel free to add any more examples that you can think of!

Long post ahead.

Seeing the blatant misinformation in the No posters gone up today has my blood boiling as it’s an attempt to hoodwink the population. The point about surrogacy on one of them is downright idiotic as surrogacy already exists and there won’t be battery farms for the production of gaybies.

Annoyed me so much I’ve decided to counter every argument I’ve heard. If your views can’t stand up to scrutiny then the problem isn’t with the scrutiny.

1-The referendum has nothing to do with adoption. This was already passed under the Children and Family Relationships Act 2015. The No Campaign’s posters, and many arguments for a No vote, are a deliberate misrepresentation of what the referendum is about.

2-The point raised about the “ideal” of a traditional family is moot. We live in a world where there are single parents, divorced parents, stay-at-home fathers, inter-racial marriages, adoption and surrogacy. The referendum is about recognising a union which has significant implications on, among other things, tax benefits, hospital visitation rights, and inheritance. This doesn’t affect you; it only affects the parties concerned.

3-In relation to point two, legal rights and benefits of heterosexual couples are not affected by gay marriage. Nor has there been any demonstrable impact upon “traditional marriages” in countries where gay marriage has been legalised. The function of a “traditional marriage” operates on its own, individual basis.

4-Two people having their union recognised will not negatively affect you in any way, shape, or form. However, the failure to pass this referendum WOULD negatively affect people, and not just the people seeking to have their union recognised. It negatively affects their families and friends as well.

5-Legalising gay marriage will not have an affect on the Church as the referendum relates to the State’s idea of marriage. No church can, or will, be forced to perform a ceremony which is contradictory to its beliefs. However, the next point addresses the Church’s changeable stance.

6- In addition to heterosexual marriage ceremonies in ancient Christian church liturgical documents, there were also ceremonies called the “Office of Same-Sex Union” (10th and 11th century), and the “Order for Uniting Two Men” (11th and 12th century). These, and similar unions i.e. between two women, are recognised in Church archives up until the 18th century.

7-The argument that marriage is for the purpose of pro-creation ignores numerous factors. Infertile couples are able to get married. Couples who never intend on having children are allowed to get married. Women past child-bearing age are allowed to get married.

8-Marriage equality cannot be seen as a precedent for other ridiculous ideas which have been put forward to argue against it e.g. the foolish argument about allowing a man to marry an animal. The referendum is specific in its wording: “Marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two persons without distinction as to their sex.” This does not change the legal age of marriage, nor the laws regarding what types of marriage are illegal e.g. incestuous.

9-The argument that it is “unnatural” has no basis. In nature, homosexual behaviour has been observed in everything from bugs to bottle-nosed dolphins. It has been directly observed in hundreds of species. 10% of rams refuse to mate with ewes but will do so with other rams.

10-“Marriage has always been between a man and a woman” falls down on its premise that the status quo should always be maintained. If this were the case then women wouldn’t have the vote, slavery would still be in widespread existence in the Western World, medical treatments would still be treated with “magic” and prayer, inter-racial relationships would be forbidden, the modern technological era and the industrial revolution would never have come about, and the development of humanity would stagnate.

11-This is just a bonus point on the adoption point which, as noted, is not relevant to the referendum. 30 years of research from the American Academy of Pediatrics has failed to find any significant evidence that children raised by heterosexual couples are any better off than children raised by homosexual couples.

12-If you’ve read this far, fair play. As a final point, it boils down to whether or not you want to deny two consenting adults the right to have their union recognised in the eyes of the State. Not having that right is something which causes significant hurt. I’ll repeat that: Not having that right causes significant hurt. Forbidding that right, and causing that hurt, is an example of humans failing to display humanity.

Feel free to share. This is the only public post I’ve ever put up.

—  Tony McCarthy on Facebook

The world’s only pink Bottlenose dolphin which was discovered in an inland lake in Louisiana, USA, in 2009 has become such an attraction that conservationists have warned tourists to leave it alone. “Surprisingly, it does not appear to be drastically affected by the environment or sunlight as might be expected considering its condition, although it tends to remain below the surface a little more than the others in the pod.” Says a tourist who spotted it.