palaeopedia
palaeopedia:

The Cuenca hunter, Concavenator (2010)
Phylum : ChordataClass : ReptiliaOrder : SaurischiaSuborder : TheropodaFamily : CarcharodontosauridaeGenus : ConcavenatorSpecies : C. corcovatus
Early Cretaceous (130 Ma)
6 m long and 2 500 kg (size)
Province of Cuenca, Spain (map)
Discovering a new genus of dinosaur is rare enough, but discovering a new genus of dinosaur possessing a never-before-seen anatomical feature is a once-in-a-lifetime event. So imagine the wonderment of the Spanish team of researchers that recently dug up Concavenator, a large theropod of early Cretaceous Europe that sported not one, but two, extremely odd adaptations: first, a triangular structure on its lower back, just above the hips, that may have supported a sail or fatty hump; and second, what appear to be “quill knobs” on its forearms, that is, bony structures that probably supported small arrays of feathers.
So what accounts for these strange features? Well, the 20-foot-long Concavenator was a close relative of Carcharodontosaurus, which was itself related to the huge, sail-backed Spinosaurus—so the hump/sail on this new dinosaur shouldn’t come as a surprise, even though it was situated much further down the spinal column than on other dinosaurs (another surprise: until recently, these types of theropods were thought to be restricted to South America and Africa). As for the quill knobs, those are more of a mystery: to date, only much smaller theropods than Concavenator, mostly “dino-birds” and raptors, have shown evidence of arm feathers. Clearly, the feathers on Concavenator’s forearms (and probably only on its forearms) were meant for display rather than insulation, which may provide clues about the subsequent evolution of feathered flight.

palaeopedia:

The Cuenca hunter, Concavenator (2010)

Phylum : Chordata
Class : Reptilia
Order : Saurischia
Suborder : Theropoda
Family : Carcharodontosauridae
Genus : Concavenator
Species : C. corcovatus

  • Early Cretaceous (130 Ma)
  • 6 m long and 2 500 kg (size)
  • Province of Cuenca, Spain (map)

Discovering a new genus of dinosaur is rare enough, but discovering a new genus of dinosaur possessing a never-before-seen anatomical feature is a once-in-a-lifetime event. So imagine the wonderment of the Spanish team of researchers that recently dug up Concavenator, a large theropod of early Cretaceous Europe that sported not one, but two, extremely odd adaptations: first, a triangular structure on its lower back, just above the hips, that may have supported a sail or fatty hump; and second, what appear to be “quill knobs” on its forearms, that is, bony structures that probably supported small arrays of feathers.

So what accounts for these strange features? Well, the 20-foot-long Concavenator was a close relative of Carcharodontosaurus, which was itself related to the huge, sail-backed Spinosaurus—so the hump/sail on this new dinosaur shouldn’t come as a surprise, even though it was situated much further down the spinal column than on other dinosaurs (another surprise: until recently, these types of theropods were thought to be restricted to South America and Africa). As for the quill knobs, those are more of a mystery: to date, only much smaller theropods than Concavenator, mostly “dino-birds” and raptors, have shown evidence of arm feathers. Clearly, the feathers on Concavenator’s forearms (and probably only on its forearms) were meant for display rather than insulation, which may provide clues about the subsequent evolution of feathered flight.

libutron

libutron:

Ladybird Spider - Eresus cinnaberinus ♂ 

Needless to say why these spiders are known as Ladybird Spiders. Eresus cinnaberinus (Araneae - Eresidae) is one of the most attractive species of its genus, and also one of the most rare.

They live in a vertical tube brownish silk that emerges from the ground, with a series of blue strands, anchored in the ground or nearby objects. The female, black, moves her eggs to the outside during the day and returns them to the nest at night, to maintain a constant temperature. These photos shows a wanderer male, probably looking for a female to mate.

The species occurs in Northern and Central Europe. However, it exhibits two disjunctly distributed color and phenological variants. So, Eresus cinnaberinus was split into two presumptive species: E. cinnaberinus and E. sandaliatus

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Alfonso Pereira | Locality: Soria, Spain (2011) | [Top] - [Bottom]

Eeeeeeeeee :3

cool-critters

cool-critters:

Agami heron (Agamia agami)

The agami heron is a medium-sized heron. It is a resident breeding bird from Central America south to Peru and Brazil. The agami heron’s habitat is forest swamps and similar wooded wetlands. They nest in colonies on platforms of sticks in trees over water, which may gather more than 100 nests. It is short-legged for a heron, but has a very long thin bill. Agami herons stalk their fish prey in shaded shallow water, often standing still or moving very slowly. They rarely wade in open water. They also take frogs, small reptiles, and snails.

photo credits: Leonardo C. Fleck, agamiheron, Leif G

annmarcaida

annmarcaida:

image

The last lonely passenger pigeon died in 1914. Her stuffed body is on display at the Smithsonian Institution. I’ve seen her. It’s a sad exhibit.

But what if passenger pigeons could be reincarnated?

That’s the idea behind de-extinction. Take DNA harvested from museum specimens and…

libutron
libutron:

Red-throated Bee-eater - Merops bullocki
As its common name suggestsMerops bullocki (Coraciiformes - Meropidae) has a distinctive scarlet throat, green upperparts with buffy hindneck, buff breast and belly, blue thighs and under tail-coverts.
The Red-throated Bee-eater is a colonial and noisy bird native to Eastern Africa.
Reference: [1]
Photo credit: ©Adam Riley | Locality: Upper West Region, Ghana (2014)

libutron:

Red-throated Bee-eater - Merops bullocki

As its common name suggestsMerops bullocki (Coraciiformes - Meropidae) has a distinctive scarlet throat, green upperparts with buffy hindneck, buff breast and belly, blue thighs and under tail-coverts.

The Red-throated Bee-eater is a colonial and noisy bird native to Eastern Africa.

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Adam Riley | Locality: Upper West Region, Ghana (2014)

gennaiv

gennaiv:

Look Over By That Red Rock: With 415 million red rocks (by my actual count!) in Red Rock Canyon it could take awhile to find something if that were your only clue. The colorful rock formations are a mile up the Blue Creek Trail from the Homer Wilson Ranch in Big Bend NP. At top is a view toward the canyon through a window of the covered back porch to the ranch house (gear is not mine); beneath that is a cedar corral with the canyon in the background and at bottom is looking back toward the canyon and the Chisos Mts.

Heading to the beach this holiday weekend? 
Watch out for nesting birds and chicks!  Share the beach with birds by observing posted signs and steering clear of areas where birds are gathered. Enjoy watching the birds from a safe distance. Please do not approach or linger near with rare shorebirds like the piping plover or their nests.  Check out this video from The National Audubon Society and learn how you can share the shore with these adorable birds and other wildlife! Photo: Piping plovers on Drakes Island at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Maine. (Kaiti Titherington/USFWS)
(via: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)

Heading to the beach this holiday weekend?

Watch out for nesting birds and chicks!

Share the beach with birds by observing posted signs and steering clear of areas where birds are gathered. Enjoy watching the birds from a safe distance. Please do not approach or linger near with rare shorebirds like the piping plover or their nests.

Check out this video from The National Audubon Society and learn how you can share the shore with these adorable birds and other wildlife!

Photo: Piping plovers on Drakes Island at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Maine. (Kaiti Titherington/USFWS)

(via: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)

Zoo releases captive-bred endangered frogs back to wild
by Aldergrove Star staff
In continuing their scientific work and conservation efforts for the endangered Oregon spotted frogs (Rana pretiosa), last week the Greater Vancouver Zoo, BC, Canada, released more frogs back into the wild.
This is the second release of the year. The 127 frogs were bred in a captive environment while studying and marking them before finally releasing them back into their natural wetland environment.
For over a decade, animal care staff from the Greater Vancouver Zoo have worked on this important conservation project. Working alongside the wildlife biologists from the Oregon Spotted Frog Recovery Team, staff have helped with monitoring, research, habitat management and restoration of this endangered species.
The frogs were released into their natural wetland environment near Aldergrove, in an area specifically modified and enhanced to meet the Oregon spotted frogs’ habitat needs…
(read more: Aldergrove Star)

Zoo releases captive-bred endangered frogs back to wild

by Aldergrove Star staff

In continuing their scientific work and conservation efforts for the endangered Oregon spotted frogs (Rana pretiosa), last week the Greater Vancouver Zoo, BC, Canada, released more frogs back into the wild.

This is the second release of the year. The 127 frogs were bred in a captive environment while studying and marking them before finally releasing them back into their natural wetland environment.

For over a decade, animal care staff from the Greater Vancouver Zoo have worked on this important conservation project. Working alongside the wildlife biologists from the Oregon Spotted Frog Recovery Team, staff have helped with monitoring, research, habitat management and restoration of this endangered species.

The frogs were released into their natural wetland environment near Aldergrove, in an area specifically modified and enhanced to meet the Oregon spotted frogs’ habitat needs…

(read more: Aldergrove Star)

Orienne Society (Herpetological Conservation):

"Coinciding with, finally, some milder south Georgia temperatures, this small Common Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina) emerged from its mucky cocoon in a dry swamp and moved in search of water. (I do wish my colleagues cleaned up so well.) The kitten basket of small Spiny Softshells (Apalone spinifera), featuring both hatchlings and yearlings, were discovered buried in a sandbar of the Oconee River.”

- text and photos by Dirk Stevenson