Researchers in Spain to attempt to clone extinct mountain goat
(Phys.org) — A team of researchers in Spain, with the Centre for Research and Food Technology of Aragon, has signed an agreement with the Aragon Hunting Federation (which they announced to the press) to begin testing the possibility of cloning a mountain goat that went extinct back in 2000.
The bucardo (Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica) was a sub-species of mountain ibex that lived in the Pyrenees—its numbers had been dwindling for years due to a number of factors, including a changing environment and hunting by humans. The last known survivor was a goat named Celia—she was killed by a tree falling on her—but not before researchers took tissue samples and froze them in liquid nitrogen. The hope was that as technology improved, eventually, cells from the samples could be used to clone new goats and thus resurrect the species…
Predators have tough lives. It is hard work catching other animals, particularly if they can fight back, so one can’t help but feel that plant-eaters have an easier time of it.
It’s particularly difficult for a predator to move between different habitats, because hunting styles that work in one may not work in another. Emperor penguins are amazing swimmers, adept at catching fish, but they’re rubbish on land and have to do without food while they’re there. And while great white sharks are fearsome in the ocean, put one in the Serengeti and it would simply become an all-you-can-eat buffet.
That’s an extreme example. Some predators do swap between land and water, but it’s rare to be equally adept in both. It’s time to meet one of the most adaptable predators alive…
If you happened upon a specimen of Iberomesornis while strolling through an early Cretaceous forest, you might be forgiven for mistaking this prehistoric bird for a finch or sparrow, which it superficially resembled.
However, the ancient, tiny Iberomesornis retained some distinctly reptilian characteristics from its small theropod forebears, including single claws on each of its wings and jagged teeth. Most paleontologists consider Iberomesornis to have been a true bird, albeit one that seems to have left no living descendants (modern birds probably derived from an entirely different branch of Mesozoic predecessors).
Mating Ulysses butterflies (Papilio ulysses), photographed in Vienna, Austria. Females, such as the top specimen here, can be distinguished from males by crescents of blue in the back, upside sections of their hind wings.
P. l. spelaea lived from 370,000 to 10,000 years ago in Eurasia, during the Pleistoceneepoch. This subspecies was one of the largest lions. The skeleton of an adult male, which was found in 1985 near Siegsdorf (Germany), had a shoulder height of around 1.2 m (4 ft) and a head-body length of 2.1 m (7 ft) without the tail. The cave lion is known from Paleolithiccave paintings, ivory carvings, and clayfigurines. These representations indicate cave lions had rounded, protruding ears, tufted tails, possibly faint tiger-like stripes, and at least some had a “ruff” or primitive mane around their necks, possibly indicating males…
… is a large kelp (brown alga) also known by the common names sea belt and sugar kelp, in reference to the whitish, sweet-tasting powder which forms on the dried frond and can be used as a natural sugar substitute.
Sugar kelp is found in the north east Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea south to Galicia in Spain. As a primary producer it is an important component of coastal food webs. Its large, leathery fronds also create three-dimensional forests that serve as a habitat for fish, shellfish and other animals that find food and hiding places among the giant kelp blades.
Climate Change Shifts Bird Migration—One Generation at a Time
Biologists unravel how warming weather causes some birds to migrate earlier.
By Daisy Yuhas
(11/12/2013) - In the last few decades birders and biologists alike have noticed that spring migration is changing. Species are arriving on their breeding grounds earlier each year. It’s clear there’s a link between climate change and shifting travel dates, but a new study reveals that individual black-tailed godwits are very consistent in their migratory timing, challenging assumptions about how warmer weather shifts behavior.
These leggy, reddish shorebirds winter in Spain and Portugal. They return to their Icelandic breeding grounds each spring, between mid-May and mid-April, often nesting a month after arrival. A team of biologists who closely track their movements have noted that the birds arrive two weeks earlier today than they did twenty years ago.
To figure out why, they first tackled the long-held assumption that balmier weather might trigger individual birds to take flight sooner each season. Poring over 14 years of records for 54 individual godwits, they discovered something curious: Each bird returned year after year on roughly the same day…
A portrait of a European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris), a subspecies of the wildcat which inhabits the forests and grasslands of Europe, as well as Turkey and the Caucasus Mountains; this specimen was photographed in Wisentgehege Springe game park, near Springe, Hanover, Germany. The species can be differentiated from the domestic cat by its bulkier body, thick fur, and non-tapered tail.
Hey Paxon! It’s Pixie again. Could you identify this for me? I found it close to Ulricehamn in Sweden.
Well, this is clearly a froghopper in the family Aphrophoridae, but I’m not exactly clear which species. It strongly resembles the EuropeanAlder Froghopper (Aphrophora alni), aka European Alder Spittlebug (the nymphs of froghoppers are spittlebugs). This species occurs in Sweden, and is common.
With needle-sharp quills, some longer than the average human forearm, porcupines sport one of nature’s most frightening defenses against predators. But a new study shows they can be fearsome killers as well. Researchers in Italy have found that the rodents can slay dogs, foxes, and even badgers. Scientists monitored crested porcupine (Hystrix cristata) in Tuscany for about 18 months…