From National Geographic daily news:
Critically endangered African antelope is last species of its kind.
Photo credit: John Warburton-Lee, Alamy
For the first time in 75 years, an entire genus of mammal may go the way of the dodo—unless a new conservation effort shepherded by Somalian herders succeeds.
The hirola, a large African antelope known for its striking, goggle-like eye markings, is the only remaining species in the genus Beatragus—and its numbers are dwindling fast, conservationists say. [full story]
A spectrum from the Infrared Space Observatory superimposed on an image of the Orion Nebula where these complex organics are found. (Credit: Image courtesy of The University of Hong Kong / Background: Hubble image courtesy of NASA, C.R. O’Dell and S.K. Wong (Rice University))
ScienceDaily, Oct. 26 2011 -
Astronomers report in the journal Nature that organic compounds of unexpected complexity exist throughout the Universe. The results suggest that complex organic compounds are not the sole domain of life but can be made naturally by stars. [full story]
ScienceDaily (Oct. 4, 2011) — A study into the muscle development of several different fish has given insights into the genetic leap that set the scene for the evolution of hind legs in terrestrial animals. This innovation gave rise to the tetrapods — four-legged creatures, and our distant ancestors — that made the first small steps on land some 400 million years ago. [full story]
(Credit: Cole et al., PLoS Biology, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001168)
Image credit: Ned M. Seidler, National Geographic
Ker Than for National Geographic News; August 8, 2011 -
Predatory dragonflies the size of modern seagulls ruled the air 300 million years ago, and it’s long been a mystery how these and other bugs grew so huge.
The leading theory is that ancient bugs got big because they benefited from a surplus of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere. But a new study suggests it’s possible to get too much of a good thing: Young insects had to grow larger to avoid oxygen poisoning.
Discovery News, Tim Wall, August 8, 2011 -
A North Sea wind farm may be beneficial to wildlife while producing clean energy for humans. The wind farm created new marine habitat as well as a sanctuary from shipping traffic, said researchers studying the offshore wind farm near Egmond aan Zee off the coast of the Netherlands. [full story]
Mark Brown, Wired UK, July 14, 2011 -
“Herpetologists at Conservation International have rediscovered the exotic Sambas stream toad (aka Borneo rainbow toad, aka Ansonia latidisca) after 87 years of evasion, and released the first ever photographs of the brightly colored amphibian.
The spindly-legged species was last seen in 1924 and European explorers in Borneo only made monochrome illustrations of it. A decade or so later, the CI and the SSC Amphibian Specialist Group added the species to its World’s Top 10 Most Wanted Lost Frogs campaign.”
Thanks for the heads-up, Mom!
ScienceDaily (July 13, 2011) - This is a snow leopard captured by remote camera in Afghanistan. A team of researchers from the Wildlife Conservation Society have discovered a surprisingly healthy population of these elusive big cats. (Credit: Wildlife Conservation Society)
Credit: Photo courtesy of Taylor Edwards, 2010, via ScienceDaily
June 29, 2011 - A team of researchers investigated a desert tortoise from the United States Southwest and northwestern Mexico. What was thought to be a simple problem in species identification turned out to be a very complex matter. Their investigations required forensic genetics and several other methods. In the end, they found it necessary to describe a new species. More than that, the discovery has very important implications for conservation and the development of the deserts of southern California. [full story]
Image credit: www.thesun.co.uk
- Jennifer Vieges, Discovery News; Friday, June 24
“According to multiple media reports, a 55-foot-long marine animal recently washed up dead on a beach at Guangdong, China. You can see its decaying body in the above image. Now the question is: What’s this species that beach goers are calling a ‘sea monster?’
Live Science showed the photo to three marine biology experts: Scott Baker of Oregon State University Marine Mammal Institute, Bill Perrin, senior scientist for marine mammals at the National Marine Fisheries Service, and Bob Brownell, senior scientist for international protected resources with NOAA’s Fisheries Service.
All three said they think it’s a whale. As to the exact species, they’re not certain, but Live Science quoted Baker as saying, ‘it’s a balaenopterid.’”