Off the coast of South Carolina is an island, the Morgan island, which is home to about 4000 monkeys. Locals call it the monkey island. Approximately 750 new baby monkeys join the monkey army on Morgan island every year. However, all the monkeys living in that island are there for a reason. These monkeys are medical test subjects – used by researchers for medical testing – for vaccine testing (Polio, AIDS etc..). That is the reason about 500 monkeys are taken away from the island every year.
No humans live on this 4000 acre remote island. Also the Monkey island is a protected area and no unauthorised people are allowed to enter it. Only authorised monkey caretakers can go in. Others who try to enter will be greeted with a monkey-shit storm – Yes, monkeys of the Monkey island pelt feces at strangers.
Thankfully, the research isn’t done at the island itself. The island is like a store for all the monkeys. So you can rest assured that you won’t run across any mutant monkeys on this island, if you some how end up there.
Where did they come from?
They were all put there by us humans. Back in the 70s the monkey colony was at La Parguera in Puerto Rico. When there were reports of infected monkeys escaping and reaching human settlements, the locals were stirred. As a result, the monkeys were all collected and had to be shifted to a remote island where no one lived – Morgan Island.
The Emerald Cockroach Wasp A.K.A Jewel wasp – a metallic blue/green colored, 2 cm long wasp – is something that will blow your mind by the way it reproduces. More specifically, the Emerald Cockroach Wasp uses venom to hack into cockroach brains, turns them into zombies and lays eggs inside them. With time, this live yet immobile cockroach body is hollowed out by the larvae of the wasp and the young ones come out eventually.
How does it reproduce? (details)
At a time when the female Emerald Cockroach Wasp is ready to lay eggs, it competes with the other females to find a host to lay their eggs. When a wasp finds a good host – only this one kind of cockroach – the weird reproductive activity begins.
- The wasp attacks the cockroach and injects the first dose of venom into its central nervous system that is aimed at making the front legs of the cockroach paralyzed. Killing the cockroach with its venom is simple for the wasp, but keeping it alive is what matters here. So, the right amount of venom at the perfect place is injected.
- Now, when the cockroach can’t move its front legs, the wasp attacks again at a perfectly still moment to inject the second dose of venom. It carefully sticks the stingers into the brain of the victim in a way that the perfect amount of venom reaches the exact place in the brain of the cockroach which controls escape reflex. In short, it performs a micro neurosurgery and turns the cockroach into a zombie – Now it gets completely under control.
- Next, the wasp chews off half the antennae from the cockroach’s head and drinks its blood to gain energy.
- Then it grabs the cockroach by its antennae and hauls it into a burrow, lays the eggs on the abdomen of the cockroach, goes out and obstructs the entryway of the burrow using small pebbles to ensure that the host doesn’t escape. The calm zombie-cockroach is left in there to take care of the larvae for several days.
- The larvae hatches, drills a hole into the body of the cockroach, eats it from the inside, hollows is and comes out after a few weeks as a grown up wasp. The cockroach is dead.
Did you know? There is funny sticker selling on the internet – Jewel wasp vs. Zombie cockroach sticker. (Just FYI. I have no affiliation with it)
Red colored water, which gives it name blood falls, emerges continually from the edge of a glacier in east Antarctica. The source of this red-colored-water is said to be a lake that is buried 400 meters under a glacier. The water of this lake is extremely salty and is about 3 times saltier than sea water. It is so salty that even at temperatures that Antarctica experiences, it doesn’t freeze. The lake is estimated to be around 5 million years old!
5 million years ago, this part of Antarctica was under sea water. Gradually glaciers started collecting around and over the lake. This made the water body isolated from the main sea and it became a lake eventually. Over time, as it got separated – like the Taal lake – it grew saltier (Taal lake got isolated too, but it turned less saltier). With this lake, the organisms living in it got trapped in this natural time capsule too.
What gives it the color red?
The falls are not red due to some mysterious spores that were found in the red rains of Kerala. What gives it that color, is a popular chemical phenomenon – iron rust.
The lake gets its supply of iron from the bedrock below it. As the water leaks out from the edge, the iron present in water gets oxidized. This oxidized or rusted iron gives the water its red color.
And since the lake has almost no supply of oxygen from around it, the water underneath is probably still like…water – not red (I’m not sure about it).
But that isn’t even anything interesting I’ve talked about the blood falls yet. The most incredible thing is the creatures that have been found living in those waters.
For millions of years, in the extremely salty waters of the lake with almost no oxygen or sun light, scientists have found a kind of micro-organism that has survived there. The kind of process they use to live has dazed scientists.
The microbes living there have been surviving on iron and sulfur! By breaking sulfates to get oxygen. And iron has been restoring the sulfates. It is a beautiful cycle that has never been seen anywhere else. This strange cycle has widened our view on how life could exist on other planets without oxygen in native state.
Source – SciShow by Hank Green.