The impact of the border wall on wildlife

Sadly, the people who want the border wall, likely will not care that it will drastically impact wildlife along the border.

But over at Vox, an excellent piece by Eliza Barclay and Sarah Frostenson lays out an amazing argument (and demonstrates visually) how this will impact biodiversity along the border.

Sadly, as this wall becomes a reality (if it becomes a reality) this is not the first or the last time we’ll be having this discussion.

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The most important (transitional) fossil you’ve never heard of

I LOVE ME SOME TRANSITIONAL FOSSILS!

But this one is particularly interesting, as it fills a crucial hole in the fossil record and demonstrates how four-limbed creatures became established on land. Found on the Scottish border, it’s called (wait for it…) Tiny.

Read about it here! _95576018_fa89156d-5853-4015-88e4-1e18fea86279.jpg

 

The Genetic Oddity that gives Cephalopods their Smarts (All Hail Cthulhu!)

It’s no secret on this blog that I’m fascinated by the intelligence, and recent increase in population size of cephalopods (and by extension their potential to take over our world…).

Octopuses can open jars, squid communicate with their own Morse code and cuttlefish start learning to identify prey when they’re just embryos.

And it turns out that their intellect might be related to the way that they edit their genes. Read about it here.

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Caves made from Giant Sloths

Local geologists in South America were investigating a series of caves that didn’t look anything like caves they had seen before. They didn’t look natural.
Well it turns out that they may be made by the long extinct giant sloths that used to roam the landscape. Or other megafauna that have long since gone extinct. Captivated? Read about it here. 
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The Woolly Mammoth’s Last Stand

Woolly mammoths once flourished from northern Europe to Siberia. As the last ice age drew to a close some 10,000 years ago, the mainland population perished, victims of climate change and human hunters.

However, a remote island population survived for 6000 years after the mainland had died off. And from a tooth of a male mammoth, geneticists have now deciphered the reason the population ultimately went extinct.

Read about it in the New York Times.

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Do you like Grizzly Bears in the Cascades?

One of my favorite online comics: The Oatmeal, put up a post to try to reestablish grizzly bears back into the Northern Cascades.

It only takes two things: 1) 25,000 dollars (already paid by the author of the Oatmeal and 2) 50,000 comments on the department on the interior website.

Interested? He even gives you specific examples if you’re not feeling particularly articulate this morning (like me). Check it out here.

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Also, check out the amazing story of the mantis shrimp, the awesome angler fish and my personal favorite, the flatworm parasite Captain Higgins.

Science photos as art

The finalists of the Wellcome Image Awards showcase the best science-related imagery from the past year.

The winners will be announced on March 15 in London, but here are some good ones.

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A bioluminescent Hawaiian bobtail squid. (Credit: Mark R Smith, Macroscopic Solutions)

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Vessels of a pig eye. Peter M Maloca, OCTlab at the University of Basel and Moorfields Eye Hospital, London; Christian Schwaller; Ruslan Hlushchuk, University of Bern; Sébastien Barré

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Surface of a Mouse Retina: Gabriel Luna, Neuroscience Research Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara

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Unravelled DNA in a Human Lung Cell: Ezequiel Miron, University of Oxford

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#breastcancer Twitter Connections: Eric Clarke, Richard Arnett and Jane Burns, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland