Why are the gorillas in this super-cute viral selfie posing like humans?

A photo of two gorillas at a sanctuary in the Democratic Republic of Congo has gone viral because they posed just like humans.

In the selfie taken by a park ranger, female gorillas Ndakazi and Ndeze have a laid-back stance with their arms at their sides and look like they're posing for the cover of an indie rock album.

ANOTHER DAY AT THE OFFICE...Photo: Ranger Mathieu Shamavu (c)NOTE: UNAUTHORIZED USE OF THIS PHOTO WILL BE REPORTED TO FACEBOOK



Posted by The Elite AntiPoaching Units And Combat Trackers. on Thursday, April 18, 2019

“Those gorilla gals are always acting cheeky so this was the perfect shot of their true personalities!" Virunga National Park said in a Facebook post. “Also, it's no surprise to see these girls on their two feet either — most primates are comfortable walking upright (bipedalism) for short bursts of time."

The two female gorillas have lived at the Senkwekwe Center for orphaned mountain gorillas at the park since 2007. They were rescued as newborns after their mothers were killed by poachers.

The park's director, Innocent Mburanumwe, told the BBC that the pair are, indeed, imitating the humans, but it "doesn't happen normally."

“I was very surprised to see it ... so it's very funny," he continued. "It's very curious to see how a gorilla can imitate a human and stand up."

A baby gorilla at Virunga National Park via Joseph King / Flickr

Anthropologist Frans de Waal told The Washington Post that the apes will mimic humans as a way of identifying “with those who take care of them" and that the behavior is a sign of attachment by the orphans.

“Apes are naturally imitative (hence the verb aping) and a parent is imitated more than others," de Waal added.

The viral selfie has also brought attention to the bravery of the park rangers at Virunga National Park. Over 130 have been killed protecting animals at the park since 1996. The government of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been in conflict with armed rebels that live in the park and poach animals.

The 3,120 square mile park was established in 1925 and is one of the first protected areas in Africa.

floschen / Flickr

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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