FromDavid Sischo on facebook (with accompanying photo):
“Have you ever held an entire species in your hand? Its hard to describe how this makes one feel. Exhilarated, filled with deep sadness at the state of the world, terrified that these beings are in our care, but also relieved that we intervened before this species met oblivion. Around a year ago the last six Achatinella fulgens, an endangered tree snail species once common in the gulches and ridges surrounding Honolulu, were brought to our DLNR captive rearing facility. This is after the habitat this last population occupied slumped down the mountain leaving all of the trees knocked down. From six we now have 22! It feels as though we are trying to start a fire that was left unattended and only a tiny ember remains. I guess we’ll just keep fanning the flame.” #racingextinction #extinction #hawaii #oahu #honolulu #conservation#kahuli #nature #wildlife #inourhands #fantheflame
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.
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!
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.
Not figurative dust. Literal dust. Cambodia’s limestone karsts exist nowhere else and are home to a host of endemic species. These environments are being pulverized for cement and scientists are racing to document all the rare plants before they are gone.
Read about it over at the NYTimes!
Given that I studied an abundant snail during my PhD (actually, Potamopyrgus antipodarum is invasive throughout most of the world), this headline was alarming to me.
But like many uncharismatic microfauna, snails are declining in record number across a number of different habitats.
Read about it over at Scientific America, and save the snails!
The endangered Powelliphanta augusta snail of New Zealand Credit: Alan Liefting
It’s often hard to determine the sex of fossils (most of our parts that determine such things are not… fossilizable).
But researchers from North Carolina State University and North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences found a medullary bone, a kind of tissue found only in female birds that are carrying eggs, or have just finished laying them, in a T-rex fossil from the Cretaceous.
While this is exciting (and you should read about it over at the Washington Post), it may be more exciting as researchers now have a means of identifying sex of dinosaurs. Which allows us to find out more about sex-linked traits in extinct dinosaurs.