Monthly Archives: November 2014

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to clone a woolly mammoth

On November 29th, the Smithsonian Channel will air a special entitled “How to Clone a Woolly Mammoth”. This episode is based on the remarkable 2013 discovery in Siberia of an almost complete woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius); they named her Buttercup.  Buttercup was a member of an amazing species that roamed northern North America and Eurasia throughout

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Interstellar and Philae are awesome, but let’s not give up on Earth

Its been a big week for Space.  I am hugely supportive of NASA, ESA and anything to do with space exploration. I also adore science fiction. I was thus thrilled that in the past week I was able to see Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar AND watch with wonder as the European Space Agency’s comet-hopper Philae landed on comet 67P

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in wildness is the preservation of the world

“…in wildness is the preservation of the world .  Life consists of wildness. The most alive is the wildest. Not yet subdued by man, its presence refreshes him. . . . When I would re-create myself, I seek the darkest wood, the thickest and most interminable and to the citizen, most dismal, swamp. I enter

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Chimpanzee eating Ficus

Humans need forests and forests need primates

Let’s explore what primates do in forests… For over 25 years, I have been documenting the incredibly important roles that monkeys and apes play in tropical forests through the simple act of feeding themselves. While most primates will consume insects and a bit of meat for fats and proteins, the vast majority of their foods

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Mountain gorillas, oil, civil war, and human compassion

Please WATCH THIS incredibly moving 8-minute documentary: Gorillas in the Crossfire by Orlando von Einsiedel, with funding from the Britdoc Foundation. It documents the remarkable dedication of park guards at the Virunga National Park, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. This region is home to mountain gorillas – a taxon nearing extinction. In spite of a

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Carnivores, Carnivora, and Frugivorous Carnivorans

I thought I might take a bit of time clarifying the differences among the terms carnivore, carnivora, and carnivoran as they are often confused… The term “carnivore” is one that is best defined by a simple food web: at the base (first trophic level) of the food web are the producers: plants. The second trophic

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Color vision, feathers, and dinosaurs

It is now known that feathers first evolved in dinosaurs. So-called protofeathers serve an insulation function, which would have been important to poikiotherms/ectotherms such as dinosaurs whose internal sources of heat would have been negligible. This is not such a problem if you are a very large dinosaur, but it can limit body mass decrease

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