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Harm’s Way

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On Laelaps, Brian Switek tells the story of a man who cooled off in an Ethiopian river against all advice, only to meet his death. Brian writes that “like our hominin forebears we can still be prey, and crocodiles are among the animals that have long considered us to be on the menu.” Crocs were munching on our ancestors long before the pyramids rose along the Nile, and scientists have even named one ancient monstrosity Anthropophagus, the man-eater. Still, evidence for predation is slim, possibly because hominins who “fell prey to fully-grown crocodiles” were metabolized without a trace. On Not Exactly Rocket Science, Ed Yong explores safer havens, writing “species that can escape external threats, whether by flying off or by hiding in the branches of trees, can evolve to age more slowly and live longer.” But as Jessica Palmer relates on Bioephemera, you can’t let your guard down for a second. Climbing down a tree to relieve itself, an unwitting sloth was ambushed and eviscerated by a tiny spectacled owl.

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