This video shows how that happened.
See also here.
This video shows how that happened.
See also here.
This video is called Flying Snakes – The Physics Of Snakes That Fly.
From Wildlife Extra:
Flying snakes intrigue scientists
They glide through the air with the greatest of ease…
March 2014: Forget Snakes on a Plane, there are some species of snakes in the world that are at home in the air. Three species of snake in the genus Chrysopelea are known to glide, and one, Chrysopelea paradisi, has even been seen turning in mid-air. They can travel as far as 100ft through the air, jumping off tree branches and rotating their ribs to flatten their bodies and move from side to side.
Animal flight behaviour is an exciting frontier for engineers to both apply knowledge of aerodynamics and to learn from nature’s solutions to operating in the air. Flying snakes are particularly intriguing to researchers because they lack wings or any other features that remotely resemble flight apparatus.
Before you envision flying snakes raining down from the sky, the ones involved in this study are small — about 1m in length and the width of your thumb — and live in the lowland tropical forests of Asia and Southeast Asia.
Virginia Tech Assistant Professor Jake Socha, renowned for his work with flying snakes, recently teamed with Boston University and George Washington University researchers to explore the snakes’ lift and wakes using computer simulations.
Previously, experiments in a wind tunnel had returned an unexpected finding: the snake’s shape is not only good at generating a force of lift, but it also gets an extra boost of lift when facing the air flow at a certain angle.
“After experiments uncovered this, we decided to use computer simulations to try to explain it,” says Lorena Barba, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the George Washington University.
So much of the aerodynamics of animal flight — especially that of flying snakes — remain a mystery. Scale is important, but also the manner in which flight is achieved.
“Rather than fixed wings, animal fliers have flapping wings,” explains Barba. “In the case of gliders, their small scale means they’re always in a flurry of whirling winds. By understanding how they can be graceful and efficient under these conditions, we can in turn use that knowledge to create small flying machines that are equally graceful.”
Whirls of wind can be particularly useful: these little vortices “can give flying snakes an extra lift,” notes Barba. “The shape of the snakes in flight — which is a flattened version of its shape at rest — gets help from little vortices around it.”
Next, the researchers would like to include more elements of the snake’s real gliding conditions into their computer simulations, such as its full body forming an S-shape, rather than working with just a section.
“This will be more difficult to do in a computer model, but it will probably reveal more about the complicated flow patterns snakes take advantage of to be such gifted gliders,” Barba says.
From PLOS ONE:
Torvosaurus gurneyi n. sp., the Largest Terrestrial Predator from Europe, and a Proposed Terminology of the Maxilla Anatomy in Nonavian Theropods
Christophe Hendrickx, Octávio Mateus
Published: March 05, 2014
The Lourinhã Formation (Kimmeridgian-Tithonian) of Central West Portugal is well known for its diversified dinosaur fauna similar to that of the Morrison Formation of North America; both areas share dinosaur taxa including the top predator Torvosaurus, reported in Portugal.
The material assigned to the Portuguese T. tanneri, consisting of a right maxilla and an incomplete caudal centrum, was briefly described in the literature and a thorough description of these bones is here given for the first time. A comparison with material referred to Torvosaurus tanneri allows us to highlight some important differences justifying the creation of a distinct Eastern species.
Torvosaurus gurneyi n. sp. displays two autapomorphies among Megalosauroidea, a maxilla possessing fewer than eleven teeth and an interdental wall nearly coincidental with the lateral wall of the maxillary body. In addition, it differs from T. tanneri by a reduced number of maxillary teeth, the absence of interdental plates terminating ventrally by broad V-shaped points and falling short relative to the lateral maxillary wall, and the absence of a protuberant ridge on the anterior part of the medial shelf, posterior to the anteromedial process.
T. gurneyi is the largest theropod from the Lourinhã Formation of Portugal and the largest land predator discovered in Europe hitherto. This taxon supports the mechanism of vicariance that occurred in the Iberian Meseta during the Late Jurassic when the proto-Atlantic was already well formed. A fragment of maxilla from the Lourinhã Formation referred to Torvosaurus sp. is ascribed to this new species, and several other bones, including a femur, a tibia and embryonic material all from the Kimmeridgian-Tithonian of Portugal, are tentatively assigned to T. gurneyi. A standard terminology and notation of the theropod maxilla is also proposed and a record of the Torvosaurus material from Portugal is given.
From Wildlife Extra:
Young turtles seek warmer climes
March 2014: New study shows where young loggerhead sea turtles disappear to during their ‘lost years’.
Once baby turtles have successfully hatched and made the risky journey to the sea they are rarely seen until they have grown till 40cm, between seven and 12 years later. Yet what happens to them during this period scientists call the ‘lost years’ has remained a mystery until now.
To solve the mystery a team of scientists, led by Katherine Mansfield of the University of Central Florida, attached solar-powered transmitters to 17 turtles collected from nests along the south-east coast of Florida. The team reared the turtles in the laboratory until they were 11-18cm long before releasing them in the Gulf Stream off the Floridian coast.
They were then tracked for between 27 and 220 days as they travelled distances from 200 to more than 4300km. The scientists found that they all headed north and remained within or close to the Gulf Stream and tended to travel in clockwise direction around the circular North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre currents.
Some turtles however did move out of these Gyre currents into the centre; an area called the Sargrasso sea. The team suggest that this could be linked to the seasonal drift of Sargassum, a type of macro-algae that floats in large mats and to take advantage of the habitat they offer, in particular the warmth the mats trap at the water surface close to them.
For young turtles, staying warm is of upmost importance. Warmer temperatures help their skeletons grow quicker, making them increasingly less vulnerable.
Therefore the team suggest that where these young turtles headed could have been closely linked to where they could find warmer habitats to boost their growth so that once they are large enough they can return to the coast much less vulnerable than when they left as hatchlings.
This is a video about a red-eared slider turtle.
Diver Jos van Zijl made this video in the Netherlands.
This video says about itself:
6 April 2012
Academy researchers explain why Sao Tome and Principe are so special and extreme. Featuring Robert C. Drewes -curator in the department of Herpetology, and Roberta Ayers -Senior Educator at the California Academy of Sciences.
Check out the blog here.
Government of São Tomé e Príncipe unveils conservation plans for saving some of the most threatened birds in Africa
By Nairobi volunteer, Tue, 25/02/2014 – 06:56
The Director of Environment, Mr. Arlindo E Carvalho, on Monday 17 February 2014 launched the São Tomé e Príncipe International Species Action Plans for Critically Endangered bird species in the country. The plans will guide the government and other stakeholders in the conservation of threatened birds of the São Tomé islands. The Plans were developed as part of a BirdLife initiative to ensure protection and conservation of priority forest habitats on São Tomé to reduce the extinction risk of Critically Endangered birds and benefit other globally threatened endemic biodiversity. The Plans focus on three Critically Endangered birds, namely Dwarf Olive Ibis (Bostrychia bocagei), São Tomé Fiscal (Lanius newtoni) and the São Tomé Grosbeak (Neospiza concolor). A separate plan has been developed for the Príncipe Thrush (Turdus xanthorhynchus), another critically endangered bird found in Príncipe, and will be launched in the near future.
The islands of São Tomé e Principe are extraordinary in terms of the richness and uniqueness of the species found there. They are one of Africa’s major centres of wildlife endemism (including 28 endemic bird species and many mammals, reptiles and plants). The forests on the islands have been classified as the second most important for biodiversity conservation in Africa. Sadly, this exceptional biodiversity is under serious threats, mainly in the form of habitat loss and habitat degradation powered by agricultural expansion and intensification (mainly palm oil plantations). Another key threat is increased mortality from hunting for food by humans and predation by introduced species.
Read previous stories about São Tomé and palm oil plantations:
This video says about itself:
Scientists step back 145 million years to tell the story of ‘Big Al’, a complete skeleton of an adolescent Allosaurus found in Wyoming in 1991. The story starts in the Atlantic coast of Portugal where the discovery of remarkable fossils of dinousaur egg shells shed light on how Big Al was born.
From the Post-Bulletin in Minnesota in the USA:
Family Time: Exhibit explores dinosaur family life
Thursday, February 27, 2014 9:32 am
Lindy Lange, firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s all about family at Quarry Hill Nature Center‘s “Hatching the Past: Dinosaur Eggs & Babies.” With a focus on dinosaur family life, the month-long special exhibit features replicas of baby dinosaurs and dinosaur eggs as well as three life-size pteranodon models.
“Everyone loves dinosaurs and everyone loves babies,” said Pam Meyer, Quarry Hill Nature Center executive director. “This exhibit looks at dinosaur family life, how they cared for their young, and what we can tell about it from fossils and eggs.”
“Hatching the Past” is Quarry Hill’s fifth large-scale fossil exhibit. The first was Stan, the Tyrannosaurus rex, in 2006. Other exhibits included a giant sea turtle, a wooly mammoth and a giant ground sloth. Altogether, nearly 75,000 visitors have enjoyed the exhibits.
“That’s why people enjoy these exhibits so much — they make people think and ask questions. It puts them in the mindset of scientific observation,” Meyer said. “At ‘Hatching the Past,’ there’s a lot for families to explore and learn about.”
The exhibit also features family-friendly dig pits, where kids can practice their junior paleontologist skills, and a giant dinosaur nest, where kids can dress up like a dinosaur and play dinosaur mom and dad.
“We’ve kept admission the same as it’s been for a number of years so it’s affordable and accessible to families,” Meyer said. “And it’s right here in your own backyard at your neighborhood nature center. All proceeds go right back into the nature center. Not only are you going to have a great time, but you’re supporting a great organization.”
The exhibit is open daily. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for children.
This video is called First Malaysian dinosaur fossil found in Pahang: Researchers.
Tuesday February 18, 2014 MYT 11:00:34 AM
Fish-eating dinosaur fossil discovered in Pahang
By Isabelle Lai
Discovered in the rural interiors of Pahang, the fossil remains of the spinosauridae dinosaur are believed to be from the late Mesozoic era, most likely from the Cretaceous period between 65 million and 145.5 million years ago.
This is believed to be the first time that fossil remains of a dinosaur have been found in Malaysia.
The dinosaur remains had been identified by a team led by Associate Professor Dr Masatoshi Sone of the university’s geology department in collaboration with reptile paleontology specialist Professor Ren Hirayama from Tokyo’s Waseda University.
Spinosauridae is a particular family of carnivorous dinosaurs characterised by its elongated, crocodile-like skulls with conical teeth that had either very tiny or with no serrations.
Another spinosauridae fossil had also been discovered in Australia in 2011, before which the species was believed to have existed only in the northern hemisphere.
Scientists had discovered a 125-million-year-old neck vertebrae identical to that of a Baryonx
Dr Masatoshi will be attending today’s press conference, along with Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, UM vice-chancellor Professor Datuk Dr Mohd Amin Jalaludin and the Science Faculty dean Professor Datuk Dr Mohd Sofian Azirun.
From Wildlife Extra:
Survey reveals some children struggle to identify turtles, rays and even penguins
British children are struggling to identify some of the most common sea life, according to research commissioned by the National SEA LIFE Centre Birmingham, with some as old as 12 unable to correctly name a turtle.
The research was carried out to establish the extent of children’s knowledge of marine life. More than 500 youngsters between the ages of five and 12 were shown images of various species of sea life including a ray, turtle, otter, seahorse, octopus, jellyfish, penguin, clown fish, crab and starfish.
Overall, boys performed slightly better than girls of the same age, and children in the Midlands, East Anglia, Scotland and Wales were the best performers by region. Those in Northern Ireland, the North East and London had the highest number of incorrect answers.
Almost all of those surveyed correctly identified the starfish and the seahorse, but there was some confusion when it came to deciding on the octopus and jellyfish, with almost a third of eight year olds wrongly naming the octopus, and more than a quarter of nine year olds believing a jellyfish was called a glow fish.
In many languages other than English, like German, Dutch, Spanish and French, the children would not have gotten bad notes for this; as in those languages, the word for “turtle” is the same as the word for “tortoise”.
Most unexpectedly, though, many children struggled to recognise a penguin, with a fifth of seven year olds opting to call it a puffin or even a Pingu – the friendly television character penguin. Understandably, a fictional character also influenced five year olds to identify the instantly recognisable orange, white and black striped clown fish as Nemo.
James Robson, curator at The National SEA LIFE Centre in Birmingham, said: “The results of the survey are really interesting – and very surprising! We chose to use some of the most well-known animals at the centre in the survey and, whilst some aren’t straightforward to identify, we didn’t think others like the turtle or ray would cause so much confusion. It shows just how important the educational aspects of The National SEA LIFE Centre and other animal-focused attractions really are.
Scientists discover new gecko hanging-on in single forest fragment
February 17, 2014
Scientists have identified a new species of day gecko that is the largest in its genus (Cnemaspis) to be found in Sri Lanka. To date, it has been observed only within the Rammalakanda Reserve in southern Sri Lanka, an area spanning just 1,700 hectares, raising questions about the viability of this population and hence the species’ long-term prospects.
The gecko belongs to the enigmatic genus of Cnemaspis, which in 2003 contained only four representative species within Sri Lanka. Since then, scientists have discovered 18 further species in the island country, but none as large in size as this most recent discovery. Known locally as the ‘Rammale day gecko’ (Rammale pahalpalli in Tamil, and Rammale diva huna in Sinhalese), the new gecko measures around 53 millimeters from snout to vent—a small reptile to us, but a giant in comparison to other gecko species in the area.
Its most distinctive features are its large size and numerous scales on the ventral side or belly. In fact, the Rammale day gecko possesses nearly 22 percent more scales than the next closest species, Cnemaspis alwesi, while approaching the size of Cnemaspis sisparensis, the largest gecko recorded to date on the entire Indian peninsula.
Scientist Dulan Ranga Vidanapathirana, and his colleagues from the Herpetological Foundation of Sri Lanka and the Center for applied Biodiversity Research and Education in Kandy, reported this discovery in the journal Zootaxa.
“The occurrence of such a large species in a small forest patch at the edge of the wet zone is unexpected,” they write.
Rammalakanda Forest Reserve spans the border between Hambanthota and Matara districts in southern Sri Lanka, and supports a rich diversity of flora and fauna, including 99 species that can be found only within the reserve and nowhere else. The National Conservation Review recognizes it as one of the top 70 forests requiring conservation action within Sri Lanka.
Despite the Reserve receiving some protection from the government, concerns are high for the future of this rare and cryptic species that has eluded discovery until today.
“Illegal tree felling to cultivate tea has become a major threat in the area, ” write the authors. “Tea plantations and human settlements in the surrounding areas are slowly expanding, and are encroaching towards the forest, slowly destroying the habitat of this species.”
It is unfortunate that the celebration of a newly discovered species must immediately be tempered by anxiety for its future, but this is the increasing reality for scientists and conservationists working in the world’s tropical forests. As for this gecko, in honor of the place in which it was discovered, it has been named Cnemaspis rammalensis.
D. L. Vidanapathirana, M. D. G. Rajeev, N. Wickramasinghe, S. S. Fernando and L. J. M. Wickramasinghe. (2014) Cnemaspis rammalensis sp. nov., Sri Lanka’s largest day-gecko (Sauria: Gekkonidae: Cnemaspis) from Rammalakanda Man and Biosphere Reserve in southern Sri Lanka. Zootaxa 3755 (3): 273-286.