Rembrandt monument by Jan Wolkers unveiled


From the Google cache.

Jan Wolkers on RembrandtThis time, searching with keyword ‘Rembrandt’, I at least found something about Rembrandt, unlike last time, when I found something on marsupials and dinosaurs …

Rembrandt monument by Jan Wolkers unveiled

Date: 10/27/05 at 6:43PM

Mood: Looking Playing: Painter man, by Creation

26 October 2005 was a very special day for Dutch author and sculptor Jan Wolkers.

The Rembrandt monument, made by Jan Wolkers for the famous seventeenth century painter, was unveiled then.

This was in the city of Leiden, where Rembrandt was born in 1605 (or 1606?); and where Jan Wolkers, born in Oegstgeest close to Leiden, had lived as well.

It was also Jan Wolkers’ eightieth birthday.

Finally, Wolkers’ new book was published that day.

American-European land bridge for dinosaurs and mammals


Prosaurolophus, a duck-billed dinosaur

From the Google cache.

The ‘big’ cache looks like exhausted. However, I still can find some old logs using keywords (not that those keywords are necessarily in the lost and found logs …)

US-European land bridge for dinosaurs and mammals

Date: 12/30/05 at 7:36PM

Mood: Thinking Playing: I’m a little dinosaur, by Jonathan Richman

From the Contra Costa Times (USA):

Fri, Dec. 30, 2005

Marsupial tooth find bolsters land bridge

By Jackie Burrell

MORAGA – The recent discovery of a 66-million-year-old marsupial tooth in the Netherlands provides fresh proof that a land bridge connected the North American and European continents during the age of dinosaurs.

St. Mary’s College dean of science Judd Case and his colleague James Martin say the 2-millimeter fossil, which belongs to a newly discovered, extinct species similar to an opossum, suggests that dinosaurs and small marsupials not only lived in Europe at the same time, but also traveled the same trans-Atlantic migration route from South Dakota to the Netherlands.

“Wow,” said Case. “It changes what we know.”

Taken together with other, recent finds of North American-type duck-bill dinosaurs and certain types of snakes in Northern Europe, it appears that animals used temporary land bridges to travel across the high polar latitudes 10 million years earlier than paleontologists had thought.

The tooth may be tiny, said Case, but it will have a major impact on scientists’ views of Cretaceous climate, geography and life.

Amateur collectors Roland Meuris and Frans Smet were looking for shark tooth fossils in a quarry near Maastricht, Netherlands, in 2002 when they came across an intriguing rock sample from the Cretaceous period.

When Smet spotted what he thought were mammal teeth, he contacted the nearby Natuurhistorisch Museum Maastricht, which specializes in fossils.

His timing was perfect. James Martin was researching marine reptiles in Maastricht when the museum’s fossil experts asked his opinion of the small, odd tooth.

The South Dakota paleontologist had collaborated frequently with Case on dig projects.

The pair made headlines last year with a spectacular Antarctic dinosaur find.

And last January, Case published a paper on a startling new North American find — 75-million-year-old opossum-like marsupial fossils that were 20 million years older than expected.

Martin knew exactly what he was looking at in Maastricht.

“He said, ‘Wow!’” Case remembered.

“He told me where it’s from and when it’s from, and I said, ‘Wow!’”

Maastrichtidelphys meurismetiThe Netherlands discovery — dubbed Maastrichtidelphys meurismeti to honor collectors Meuris and Smet — fills an intriguing gap in the fossil record.

Scientists have long known that dinosaurs and small mammals co-existed during the so-called Dinosaur Age, but fossilized mammal skeletons are rare.

Most primitive mammal studies rely on teeth.

Using scanning electron microscopy to examine surface details, scientists can identify species with a single tooth.

In this case, the upper molar belonged to the new marsupial species found in Canada, Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota — and now, the Netherlands.

But how did a mouse-sized creature cross the Atlantic Ocean?

Earth’s geography was very different back then, said Case.

The Atlantic was only half as wide. Sea levels were lower — and significantly lower at two points, around 71 and 67 million years ago.

And continents were connected. Case and Martin believe animals hopped from land mass to land mass above the 70-degree latitude line.

“Eastern Canada was attached to Greenland,” said Case.

“The Faroes were stuck on top of Great Britain and Great Britain was connected to the rest of Europe.

It had been felt that North American dinosaurs had made a one-time only entry into Europe — but no.”

The discovery of a North American marsupial and duck-billed dinosaurs in Maastricht indicates that the polar crossing was no chilly experiment, but a temperate migration path in a world filled with new, flowering plants.

“While the dinosaurs were munching on leaves, these little guys were probably eating insects and these new flowers,” said Case. “It’s co-evolution.”

Mien Minis-van de Geijn, ex director of the Maastricht museum, studied fossil sharks’ teeth.

THE ORIGIN OF AFRO-ARABIAN ‘DIDELPHIMORPHMARSUPIALS: here.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Kestrel and great egrets


Peneireiro – Falco tinnunculus – Kestrel from Jose Viana on Vimeo.

Kestrel and great egrets

Date: 9/21/05 at 6:17PM

Today in the Westeinde nature reserve near Zoeterwoude.

A kestrel.

The kestrel hovers over the meadows, looking if it can find mice.

Two mute swans fly past.

Seven grey herons.

But … wait … they have three smaller, whiter relatives with them.

They are great egrets.

Here they stand between the cows and their bigger grey relatives. A rare sight in this country.

A bit further, in Stompwijk village, is an ostrich farm.

They have 11 ostriches there since 1998.

The eggs not sold for eating are sold to breeding businesses, who sell the chicks to other ostrich farms.

Later, in Weipoort: a great cormorant flies past.

In Cronesteyn park in Leiden, a pheasant.

Great_egret

Bush on Iraq war echoes LBJ on Vietnam, 1967


Bush, Iraq war, and Vietnam, cartoon

From the Google cache.

From a time when George W Bush himself did not yet compare the Iraq war to the Vietnam war, as he does now.

Bush on Iraq war echoes LBJ on Vietnam, 1967

Linking: 12

Date: 9/21/05 at 7:18PM

Mood: Thinking Playing: War, by Edwin Starr

From Associated Press:

WASHINGTON Sep 21, 2005 — Bush officials bristle at the suggestion the war in Iraq might look anything like Vietnam.

Yet just as today’s anti-war protests recall memories of yesteryear, President Bush’s own words echo those of President Johnson in 1967, a pivotal year for the U.S. in Vietnam.

“America is committed to the defense of South Vietnam until an honorable peace can be negotiated,” Johnson told the Tennessee Legislature on March 15, 1967.

Despite the obstacles to victory, the president said, “We shall stay the course.”

After 14 Marines died in a roadside bombing on Aug. 3, Bush declared: “We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq.

And the job is this: We’ll help the Iraqis develop a democracy.”

According to the BBC:

Former foreign secretary [Conservative] Sir Malcolm Rifkind has meanwhile called Iraq a bigger “disaster” than Vietnam.

Sir Malcolm said Tony Blair should resign as prime minister over the issue of Iraq as it was “widely recognised” he went to war “on a false prospectus“.

Fascist war propaganda in Italy in 1943, similar to in The NetherlandsThere is a parallel with not just 40 years, but also with 64 years ago.

The “doth protest too much”, as Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, style denials of any parallel between the Iraq and Vietnam wars remind me somewhat of November 1943 in the nazi occupied Netherlands.

Then, nazis put up posters everywhere with the slogan “1943 is not 1918″.

Indeed, in 1943 the German army did not yet suffer a final defeat like in 1918.

However, in 1945 the defeat would be much more devastating than in 1918.

Iraqi refugees today, January 2007: here.

Ex Bush supporter now against Iraq war: here.

Song ‘Superbird’ against Johnson’s Vietnam war: here.

Suriname: six new bird species found


Rufous winged antwren

From the Google cache.

Suriname: six new bird species found

Date: 9/3/05 at 10:13AM

At the Tafelberg in the Roraima mountains, an expedition by the National Herbarium of Suriname, and the National Zoological Collection of Suriname (NZCS), found six species of birds new to Suriname.

Two of them are antbirds: rufous winged antwren; see also here; and Venezuelan antvireo.

Two are swifts: white-chinned swift and white-tipped swift.

The velvet browed brilliant is a hummingbird.

The tepui greenlet is a songbird.

Also, a snake species new for Suriname was found.

The expedition research is not finished yet.

Source: here.

Antbird songs: here.

High-Pitched Notes during Vocal Contests Signal Genetic Diversity in Ocellated Antbirds: here.

Caribbean: new lizard species found


Gonatodes daudini

Union island in the GrenadinesFrom the Google cache.

Meanwhile, we know that the name of the new lizard is Gonatodes daudini.

And there are pictures, like this one here.

Caribbean: new lizard species found

Date: 10/11/05 at 7:09AM

Playing: I’m a little dinosaur, by Jonathan Richman

KANSAS CITY, Mo. Oct 10, 2005 [ABC site] — What’s black, white, red and green all over? It’s something Avila University professor Robert Powell will announce sometime in December.

Powell, a biologist who has been at the Kansas City-based university for 30 years, and Robert Henderson, a curator at the Milwaukee Public Museum, have discovered a new species of lizard in the south Caribbean that Powell will get to name in the December issue of the Caribbean Journal of Science.

Powell, who recruits students from around the country each summer to take a research excursion with him to the Caribbean, found the new lizard in June after being tipped off about its existence.

The Rev. Bob de Silva, an amateur naturalist from St. Vincent who had visited Union Island, had been the only person to ever report seeing the geckolike lizard, and told Powell about it.

“It is indeed spectacular in its appearance,” Powell told The Kansas City Star by telephone from Guana Island in the British Virgin Islands, where he is studying other reptiles.

“The lizard is greenish with bright red, black and white spots that seem to jump out at you when he is placed against a plain background. But in its natural habitat, it is hard to see.”

Powell said the tiny lizard, which is about the size of a large caterpillar or half a cigarette, probably has been seen before and mistaken for a bug.

He said he was excited about his discovery, but his reaction was muted somewhat because he knew the lizard existed, and where to look for it.

“I scooped up a handful of leaves and debris, then carefully sifted through looking for the lizard,” Powell said.

“The hardest thing was holding it so as not to tear its soft skin.”

He said he isn’t sure, but thinks the lizard fits the criteria for an endangered species.

One of the still-nameless vertebrates has been preserved at the University of Kansas Natural History Museum.

More fungi. And starlings


From the Google cache.

Lactarius quietus

More fungi. And starlings

Date: 10/11/05 at 8:45PM

Today, I went to the natural history museum to talk with fungi expert Hans Adema.

The subject was fungi which I found in a garden close to the nature reserve (also sandy soil: former dunes when the seashore was more to the east thousands of years ago).

The garden was mostly lawn, with some birch and evergreen trees.

According to Mr Adema, one of the fungi species occurring in it was an Inocybe.

Another one was Lactarius quietus, Oakbug milkcap.

Paxillus involutus

Rather frequent was the Paxillus involutus.

This species used to be rather popular for eating in Eastern Europe.

However, later it was found that if you eat Paxillus involutus more than once, a poisonous reaction years later may kill you.

Also Boletus parasiticus; a parasitic species as its name implies: parasitic on the Scleroderma citrinum earthball.

Suillus luteus

Non parasitic relatives were also present: Suillus luteus, Slippery Jack. Mr Adema had not seen it for a long time.

And Xerocomus porosporus, Sepia bolete.

Xerocomus porosporus

A few days later at the same garden, mushrooms being mushrooms and different ones showing themselves at different and unexpected times: fly agaric.

I did not see the starlings on the windmill again.

They had moved to a tree in the anthropological museum gardens.

Maybe they did not like it when the windmill was turning in the weekend.

Also singing starlings under the roofs of railway stations.

Inocybe fungi: here.

George W. Bush Attacked by Penguins


From the Google cache.

Bush Attacked by Penguins, cartoonGeorge W. Bush Attacked by Penguins

Date: 7/5/05 at 11:09AM

Mood: Looking Playing: Beautiful Bird, by Travis

Bush Attacked by Penguins

MORGANTOWN, WV (IWR News Satire) – President George W. Bush was attacked by [a] flock of angry [king] penguins following his Independence Day message on climate change while visiting West Virginia University in Morgantown, West Virginia, July 4, 2005.

The penguins, which were part of a promotion for the March of the Penguins movie, attacked Bush after he said that he would not support a Kyoto style agreement on global warming.

Although Mr. [Bush] acknowledged that some of global warming was caused by human activity, he blamed the majority of the problem on “smelly, dirty animals like penguins, sea otters and capybaras“.

Mr. Bush, who is known to have a severe bird phobia since childhood, fainted and then regained consciousness later after being treated with smelling salts.

Bush was then carried off on stretcher while sobbing and asking for his teddy bear until he was sped off in an ambulance.

Van Gogh museum on animals and art


From the Google cache.

Van Gogh museum on animals and art

Date: 10/12/05 at 9:28PM

Mood: Looking Playing: The birds and the bees, by Jewel Akens

Today, I went to the Vincent van Gogh museum, to see the exhibition Fierce Friends there.

Its subject is the relationship between art and animals from about 1750 to about 1900.

On my way to the railway station, I noted about 25 starlings on the reconstructed windmill of Rembrandt’s father.

Maybe the memory of the sails turning in the weekend was distant enough by now for some, though not yet all, starlings to return.

In the Haarlemmermeer region, a great cormorant flew along the train.
Emperor penguins
Penguins’ toilets and Indian antelopes

In the Vincent van Gogh museum, just past the exhibition‘s entrance, was a special toilets’ logo.

It had three icons: for a man; a woman; and an emperor penguin.

However, behind the toilets’ door, it proved impossible to find an emperor penguins’ toilet.

The scientific name for emperor penguin is Aptenodytes forsteri.

Forsteri is from the father and son naturalists Forster, who traveled with British explorer Captain Cook in the eighteenth century.

A painting at the exhibition depicts them with New Zealand birds.

The poster of the exhibition depicts two animals: a giraffe and a blackbuck antelope.

The blackbuck antelope is from a picture, also at the exhibition, by Jean-Bapiste Oudry from 1739.

Though the antelope itself is depicted well (maybe Oudry saw it in the French royal menagerie of King Louis XV), the rest of the painting, being an Alps like mountainscape, supposedly the antelope’s natural habitat, is completely wrong.

The blackbuck antelope lives in India on steppe like plains.

However, in the early eighteenth century, European artists did not know how most non European animals looked; what their natural environment was; what their habits were; etc.

There were no works by non European (and non United States) artists at the exhibition.

There were china ceramics of ptarmigans in both summer and winter plumage. However, they were made in Chelsea, England; not China; about 1750.

Changes in society and in perceptions on animals

The European lack of knowledge about non-European animals began to change in the course of the eighteenth century: the age of enlightenment philosophies, industrial revolution in Britain, political revolutions in the USA and France.

Exploration including scientists, like Captain Cook’s, brought more non European animals and knowledge about them to Europe.

Linnaeus started systematic classification of animals.

Also, at first dim notions about evolution of animal life, later, in the nineteenth century, put forward more strongly by Charles Darwin, began to raise their heads.

Usually, the Van Gogh museum limits itself to the nineteenth century (as Edwin Becker of the museum said in a lecture).

In the case of this exhibition they had to include the eighteenth century, crucial in these issues, as well.

The industrial revolution included extension of mining.

This meant that chances of finding fossils of dinosaurs, mammoths, or other mainly extinct animals, increased greatly.
Turner, The evening of the deluge
Previously, these had been seen as remains of mythical giants or dragons; or of the Biblical deluge.

Now, dinosaurs and other extinct animals proved difficult to integrate into that picture.

As seen in William Turner’s The Evening of the Deluge.

On its right, the painting depicts a big reptile, described at the exhibition as an ichthyosaur, which did not fit into Noah’s ark of Biblical tradition.

Congo and Picasso and Van Gogh

In the 1950s, biologist Desmond Morris induced chimpanzee Congo to do paintings, some of which are at the exhibition.

Pablo Picasso bought one of Congo’s paintings.

The exhibition also included ladies’ hats of about 1900.

In one case, a complete pheasant’s body on top of the hat.

In another case, a bird of paradise’s body.

In those days, also bird species like common tern and grey heron were almost hunted to extinction for their feathers.

Protective measures just in time allowed these birds to survive in The Netherlands and other countries.

Another part of the exhibition were Vincent van Gogh’s works on animals.

Van Gogh, Kingfisher

They included a painting of a kingfisher; with the stuffed kingfisher he used for painting, as fast moving kingfishers are not easy to paint.

Another work depicts a flying fox.

Flying fox, by Vincent van Gogh

Two 1889 works depict a crab and a great peacock moth.

Van Gogh, Great peacock mothOne of Van Gogh’s last paintings, maybe his last, is from 1890, just before he died.

It depicts a flock of crows, flying over a field.

I think these crows may be more precisely rooks, which often fly in flocks.

Van Gogh himself, when in England, referred to rooks, so he knew they were a separate species.

Van Gogh made more works related to animals, not shown at this exhibition.

They include a painting of the nests of birds; including wrens.

And a still life with shrimps and mussels.

These two are in the permanent exhibition of the Van Gogh museum.

In 1886, Van Gogh also painted herring and mackerel.

The last part of the exhibition, at the upper story, is about underwater life and art.

Until about 1850 it was not possible to make an aquarium which did not leak.

When that became possible, it greatly influenced also artists’ views on fish.

Part of the exhibition is an expensive goldfish bowl of that time.

Goldfish in 1885, according to an advertisement then by Leiden aquarium business Vlieland which still exists in 2007, cost 15 Dutch cents.

Expensive then, as they were still not as usual as today.

Picture gallery of the exhibition here.

Edward Hicks’ painting(s) The Peacable Kingdom: here.

As I walked back to the railway station, I saw many football fans: mostly Dutch in orange shirts, and less Macedonian in red shirts, for tonight’s The Netherlands-Macedonia match.

The Netherlands had already qualified for the final rounds in Germany in 2006.

Even if they would lose 100 to 0 against Macedonia, that would not change.

The result was zero vs. zero. So no change either.