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Rocky Mountain Wolf Project

In movies, wolves are often depicted as terrifying, snarling creatures that threaten our heroes.

What kid can forget the pack of growling wolves that chase Belle's father right up to the Beast's castle?

Authors such as Aesop, the Brothers Grimm, and Charles Perrault all wrote children's stories where the "big bad wolf" was the ravening villain, willing to do anything to fill his belly — even impersonate grandma for a chance to eat Little Red Riding Hood!


‌Image via iStock.‌

Over and over throughout history, literature, and movies, the wolf was used as a metaphor for trickery, evil, and cruelty. As a result, it's easy to assume that these animals are actually something to fear.

But wolves don't deserve this bad rap.

They are actually pretty amazing animals, and they play an important role in nature. For example, did you know that wolves can smell their prey from almost two miles away — which is about 100 times better than humans?

Here are 23 other interesting — and important — things you might not know about the gray wolf:

1. Gray wolves are the largest member of the wild dog, or Canid, family.

Also known as the timber wolf, common wolf, or, in scientific circles, Canis lupus, the gray wolf is an ancestor to domesticated dogs. As adults, they can be four to six feet long and weigh up to 175 pounds.

2. Despite their name, they do not always have gray fur.

They can also have white, brownish-gray, or black coats.

‌Members of the Canyon wolf pack in Yellowstone National Park. Image by Jim Peaco/YellowstoneNPS‌.

3. They were once the world’s most widely distributed large mammal.

Gray wolves were found all across the Northern Hemisphere, including in North America, Europe, Asia, and North Africa.

4. But they lost much of their former range because of conflict with humans.

These animals were perceived as dangerous to humans and a nuisance to farmers, so they were often hunted, trapped, or poisoned. In the United States, a government-sponsored extermination plan at the beginning of the 20th century largely wiped them out from the Lower 48 states — only about 10% of their former range remains in the continental U.S. today.

5. They are usually not dangerous to people.

Wolves are actually fairly timid creatures that would prefer to avoid people. Attacks on humans are very rare. In fact, there have been very few recorded wild wolf attacks on humans in North America. In the past 100 years, no lethal attack by a wild, healthy wolf has ever been confirmed in the Lower 48 states.

6. While we often picture gray wolves in colder places, they can actually live in a variety of habitats, from Arctic tundras to forests and mountains to prairies and grasslands.

But whatever habitat they are in, they still need access to a large area of contiguous land to roam with lots of prey. Wolves don't like to stay in one place for very long.

7. Gray wolves are very social. They live, travel, and hunt in packs of seven to eight.

Image via iStock.

Each pack is usually led by an alpha female and male and is made up of their extended family, including pups and older offspring.

8. The alphas often lead the hunt for prey, choose den sites, and establish the pack’s territory.

How big one pack's territory is, though, depends on how plentiful their prey is. Some packs occupy just 20 square miles, while others are known to roam over hundreds of square miles in search of food.

9. The alphas can mate for life.

The alpha female of the Canyon pack in Yellowstone National Park. Image by Neal Herbert/YellowstoneNPS.

Usually, only the alphas breed, in order to keep pack numbers down. They mate once a year, from late January through March, and the mother usually gives birth to four to six pups in a den about 63 days later.

10. When they’re born, wolf pups are blind and deaf.

And they only weigh about a pound. But they grow up quickly — after about 10-14 days, they can open their eyes and ears, and by the time they are two weeks old, they are learning to walk (shakily). Then it only takes about another week for them to start venturing outside the den for the first time.

‌A gray wolf pup in its den. Image by Hilary Cooley/USFWS.

11. The whole pack helps care for the new pups.

The pups start off reliant on their mother’s milk, but after about three weeks, they are ready to eat meat. Because they are too young to hunt themselves, all of the older pack members take turns hunting and regurgitating meat to feed the pups.

12. Pups only start learning to hunt with the pack when they are six months old.

They practice their hunting skills first by playing with both their siblings and with "toys" (bones and feathers). Then they start using the skills they learned from playing to hunt small animals before joining the pack on larger hunts.

Wolf pups outside their den. Image by Dan Stahler/YellowstoneNPS.

13. When pups are fully mature, they often disperse from the pack.

Dispersing wolves have been known to travel 50 to 500 miles looking for a mate, open territory, or both. While dispersing, they usually travel quickly, as it is dangerous to be a lone wolf. One radio-collared Wisconsin wolf traveled 23 miles in one day.

14. Gray wolves have a complex communication system.

They communicate with each other through a range of sounds, including barks, whines, growls, and howls, as well as through body language, “dancing,” and scent marking.

A gray wolf howling in Yellowstone National Park. Image by Jim Peaco/YellowstoneNPS.

15. Each gray wolf has a unique howl, which allows other pack members (and scientists) to recognize them.

This enables pack members to communicate with each other over long distances. Howls can be heard up to six miles away.

16. But they don’t actually howl at the moon.

They aremore active at dawn and dusk, though.

17. Wolves usually eat large hoofed mammals such as deer, elk, and moose.

A deer in Yellowstone National Park. Image by Neal Herbert/YellowstoneNPS.

But since taking down big animals can be dangerous, they usually hunt the old, young, sick, or injured ones so they don't get hurt themselves. In some cases, they have been known to hunt livestock or pets — which is part of how they originally got their reputation — but onlywhen their natural prey is unavailable, making such attacks relatively rare. One wolf is capable of eating 20 pounds of meat in one meal.

18. But they aren’t picky eaters.

They'll also eat smaller prey such as beavers or rabbits, and they are known to scavenge. They even eat some insects, nuts, and berries.

19. They can survive more than a week without eating anything at all.

20. They can reach speeds of up to 40 mph when chasing prey.

But only for a short time. When the pack is on the move (not actively chasing food), they usually travel at 5 mph.  

21. They are good swimmers, allowing them to chase prey in water, too.

‌A gray wolf crossing Alum Creek in Yellowstone National Park. Image by Jim Peaco/YellowstoneNPS‌.

22. Gray wolves play a key role in helping keep their ecosystems balanced and healthy.

Because wolves are apex predators — meaning they are at the top of the food web — they help keep elk and deer populations in check. This can help other plant and animal species thrive by preventing overgrazing or defoliation. Their hunts also provide "leftovers" for other scavenging wildlife.

23. Gray wolves need our help.

In 1978, the Fish and Wildlife Service listed the gray wolf as endangered in the contiguous United States, which makes it illegal to hurt or kill them. However, in recent years there have been a number of campaigns to de-list the wolf from these protections.

Gray wolves are still misunderstood and feared by people all over the country and the world. That's why it's important to keep dispelling myths about wolves — because these animals are pretty amazing.

Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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