Tall Tales

Mother seals can recognise their baby’s voice

And other stories from the stranger side of life

A grey seal

A mother elephant seal can pick out her baby’s voice just two days after a pup is born, according to research led by the California-based scientist. However, the discovery has only served to create a new mystery: why do female seals often feed each other’s pups? “Females fast for the entire month they are nursing,” said a researcher. “So it makes no [evolutionary] sense for them to use their resources on another mother’s pup.”

Minister swims all day after crash

A Madagascan government minister swam for about 12 hours to shore after his helicopter crashed off the island’s north-east coast, authorities said. Serge Gelle, the country’s secretary of state for police, and another man reached land in the seaside town of Mahambo separately on Tuesday morning, apparently after ejecting themselves from the aircraft. “My time to die hasn’t come yet,” said Gelle, describing himself as cold but not injured. A search is continuing for two other passengers.

Dinosaur embryo discovered in China

Scientists have discovered a perfectly preserved dinosaur embryo that was preparing to hatch from its egg. The embryo, discovered in Ganzhou in southern China, is estimated to be at least 66m years old. It is believed to be a toothless theropod dinosaur, or oviraptorosaur. Researcher Dr Fion Waisum Ma said it is “the best dinosaur embryo ever found in history”. It is hoped the find will lead to a greater understanding of the link between dinosaurs and modern birds.

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