Sheep in Central Park, Archaeo-Bunnies, and Cockroach Pheromone Bots

There's a veritable menagerie in this week's landscape reads: domesticated sheep, archeologist rabbits, robot cockroaches, and acidified limpets.

The Sheep Days of Central Park

Today, the grassy slopes of Central Park's Sheep Meadow are populated by sunbathers and picnickers. As its name implies, however, it was once home to a flock of sheep—a park attraction that simultaneously mowed and fertilized the lawns. Then the Great Depression hit, and the sheep were whisked upstate to protect them from hungry city-dwellers. [Modern Farmer]

Bunnies Find Trove of 5,000-Year-Old Artifacts

When a family of rabbits took up residence at Land's End in England, they began digging up flint objects that resembled human-made tools. Archeologists followed the bunny trail to a "goldmine" of 5,000-year-old artifacts, as well as to structures such as a burial mounds and a hill fort. [History]

Animals Have No Choice in Welcoming Their Robot Overlords

Why would you douse a robot in cockroach pheromones? To trick other cockroaches into accepting it as one of their insect own, of course. Emily Anthes, author of Frankenstein's Cat, explores a whole world of new robots programmed to both socially and physically integrate with existing fish, chicken, and insects. [Nautilus]

Hot Tube Time Machine

The water near ocean vents are hot and acidic, and the calcium shells of creatures there, such as sea snails and limpets, are worn and pockmarked—eaten way by acid. This is what the ocean of the future may look like. Journalist Elizabeth Kolbert explains the dangers of ocean acidification—the insidious, less well-known cousin of global warming—in this excerpt from her new book, The Sixth Extinction. [OnEarth]

Top image: Sheep Meadow, Central Park via Wikimedia Commons