This bird is half male and half female

Updated: 18 October, 2020 10:56 IST | Agencies | Washington

Researchers get their hands on a rare bird that is half male and half female

This bird has black feathers and a pink armpit on one side, and brown feathers and a yellow-coloured armpit on the other
This bird has black feathers and a pink armpit on one side, and brown feathers and a yellow-coloured armpit on the other

Researchers from the Powdermill Nature Reserve chanced upon a once-in-a-lifetime discovery—a rose-breasted grosbeak that is half male and half female. Annie Lindsay and her colleagues were catching birds and banding them with identification tags when their eyes landed on a gyandromorph, meaning that the bird they saw, exhibited male and female characteristics.

It has male organs on one side of the body and female on the other side
It has male organs on one side of the body and female on the other side

Photos taken by Lindsay and some of the researchers show that the rose-breasted grosbeak has black feathers and a pink armpit, characteristic of males, on one side; it has brown feathers and a yellow-coloured armpit, characteristic of females, on the other side.

Annie Lindsay

Unlike hermaphrodites, which have both male and female reproductive organs, gynandromorphs are male on one side of the body, and female on the other side. These specimens are very rare. For instance, we don't know if and how they reproduce. In Powdermill's 64 years of bird banding, they have had 10 such sightings. "In the spring when it's in its breeding plumage, it's going to be even more starkly male, female. The bird's colours will become even more vibrant, and the line between the male and female side will be even more obvious," said Lindsay.

10
Number of gyandropmorph sightings at the nature reserve in 64 years

Cry me a river

A Japanese tear teacher preaches the benefits of crying to combat stress

Representation pic
Representation pic

Meet the teacher who will make you cry. Hidefumi Yoshida, a former high school teacher, is a self-described tear teacher. Hidefumi encourages people to shed tears every once in a while, to relieve stress and lead a happier life.

"My job is to make people feel refreshed through crying. I use films, children's books and letters to make people cry. Some people cry from just watching beautiful scenes of nature," he told BBC.

The Japanese frown upon overt display of emotions, including crying. Some would go as far as to say that there is a stigma surrounding crying in Japan. But the tear teacher (rui-katsu) wants to change this perception by educating people on the benefits of crying. He claims to have helped over 50,000 people cry over the past eight years. "If you cry once a week, you can live a stress-free life. The act of crying is more effective than laughing or sleeping in reducing stress," said the 45-year-old.

Skirts are for everyone

Pic/Mark Bryan, Pintrest
Pic/Mark Bryan, Pintrest

Photos of a man named Mark Bryan and his unique sartorial choices have been doing the rounds on social media platforms like Pinterest and Facebook. Bryan's Pinterest bio reads: "I am just an ordinary (straight) guy that loves Porsches, beautiful women, and to incorporate a skirt and high heels into my wardrobe." He regularly posts photos of himself wearing skirts and high heels.

Noah of our times

Pic/Tierra de Animales, Facebook
Pic/Tierra de Animales, Facebook

Animal rights activist Ricardo Pimentel has won thousands of hearts on the Internet by being a good, nay, the best Samaritan. When hurricane Delta made its way to the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, Pimentel sheltered over 300 dogs, as well as some cats, chickens, rabbits and a hedgehog, to make sure they were safe. He used his own house to protect them from strong winds and heavy rain.

Common cold can beat cancer

Representation pic
Representation pic

Australian researchers have come up with an unorthodox remedy to fight skin cancer: the common cold. Recent trials at the University of Queensland showed that when cancer patients were given a cold (or adenovirus), it drastically reduced the size of their tumours. "We're basically giving the cancer a big dose of the common cold," explained Greg Siller, an associate professor at the university. Siller said his team has achieved an 84 per cent cure rate.

Make money from slurping on noodles

Representation pic
Representation pic

The manufacturers of a noodle brand, Nissin, announced that they are looking for a Chief Noodle Officer (CNO). Top Ramen's CNO will get paid $10,000 (R7,30,000 approx) to help develop and test new ramen noodle soup recipes. The CNO will also get a 50-year supply of the company's various products.

Thai tattoo shop says re-write your destiny

Palmistry is popular in Thailand. Ajarn Ple, a clever entrepreneur, recognised this and founded Thailand's only tattoo parlour that specialises in tattooing people's palm lines, allegedly for a better future. Ple claims to have tried it on herself first and says it worked for her as she became a successful business owner.

World's oldest penguin in captivity is 41

Representation pic
Representation pic

A gentoo penguin, at the Odense zoo in Denmark, was declared the world's oldest living penguin in captivity. Guinness World Records confirmed that the female penguin is over 41 years old. The bird has been named Olde, Danish for great-grandmother. The usual lifespan for a member of her species is 30 years, when in captivity.

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First Published: 18 October, 2020 11:00 IST

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