Beginning on a sad note, Giant George, once the world's tallest dog in the Guinness Book of World Records, died just one month shy of his 8th birthday. The big Great Dane weighed 245 pounds and stood on its hind legs to a height of 7 feet 3 inches. Paw to shoulder, it was 43 inches. He died at his home in Tuscon, Ariz. on Oct. 17, 2013, with his owners Dave and Christie Nasser at his side. Here Giant George, in better days, poses with Christine Nasser.
Rest in peace, George.
The Wildlife Conservation Society sent out a video showing Andean bears to be every bit as camera-shy -- or camera-angry -- as human celebrities. Turns out that when they encountered camera traps the bears did the only sensible thing: They attacked. Presumably, they jumped in their SUVs afterward and fled the scene.
Dinosaurs' graves just ended up being wherever they were when they died -- no pet cemeteries back then, sadly. And so their remains end up being found and gawked at by humans, millions of years later. Case in point: This skeleton of "Joe," the smallest, most complete and youngest Parasaurolophus ever found. Parasaurolophus, to most of us, is better understood to be a duck-billed dinosaur. This one made its living on Earth about 75 million years ago and was found by a high-school student during a fossil-hunting expedition at his school.
Researchers recently noticed a singular creature doing something highly unusual. South African dung beetles were eschewing the normal "tripod" way insects move (three legs form a triangle shape to stand on while other legs propel them forward) in favor of galloping like horses, swinging their legs in parallel. This left the scientists puzzled, but perhaps it makes a certain amount of sense: Why wouldn't a dung beetle want to amuse itself pretending to be a stately horse at full gallop?
Here's a mouse with a mighty trick. The southern grasshopper mouse can eat Arizona bark scorpions and feel absolutely nothing from the sting of the normally venomous creature. Bizarrely, instead of causing pain, the scorpion venom blocks it. The hope is this discovery will bring about new pain medications for humans. As for the Arizona bark scorpion, it may some day have to rethink its place in the fable of the "scorpion and the turtle."
Look closely at the chimpanzee on the left and you'll soon see that the stork has recently visited Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia. (Storks handle delivery of human babies as well as those of chimpanzees, apparently.) The baby male chimp, born on Oct. 25, 2013, is being nursed by his mother "Kuma."
Will Kuma's baby one day stage a getaway attempt, as this one did? This chimpanzee escaped from Kayseri Municipality's zoo in Kayseri, Turkey, on Oct. 24, 2013. Zoo employees and security guards try to coax the chimp from its perch on a transformer on zoo grounds. After a treat of chocolate and juice failed to help catch it, the chimp was tranquilized and brought back to the zoo.
This flock of white egrets and black storks (no babies in tow) is lingering above a fish pool at the Israeli kibbutz of Neve Eitan, in the Jordan Valley, on Oct. 24, 2013. Hundreds of thousands of birds will pass over the Jordan valley during the annual migration from Europe to Africa.
A genetically-gone-awry skunk? Nope -- a black-and-white ruffed lemur, taking in the sights on a branch in his enclosure at the zoo in Wroclaw, Poland on Oct. 24, 2013.
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest ... squirrel monkey of all? This curious critter gets a taste of the folly of vanity when he looks in a mirror at the London Zoo on Oct. 24, 2013. Either that or he's wondering why no one told him he had a twin brother. In fact, the keepers have installed the mirror in the enclosure to prepare its occupants for the arrival of a male monkey named "Eubie," who will be getting introduced to family. The London Zoo is home to more than 20 black-capped or Bolivian squirrel monkeys. The species typically eats insects, fruit and seeds.