Biggest ever apatosaurus discovery in Colorado


This video is called Origami Dinosaur: APATOSAURUS.

From the Grand Junction Free Press in the USA:

Record dinosaur bone found in Colorado quarry

By Brittany Markert

07/21/2014 12:01:00 AM MDT

Rabbit Valley’s Mygatt-Moore quarry is home to hundreds of fossils left behind by dinosaurs and extinct sea creatures. Its most notable recent find was a 6-foot-7-inch-long, 2,800-pound apatosaurus femur.

That is the largest apatosaurus ever found anywhere, said Dinosaur Journey curator of paleontology Julia McHugh.

It is a groundbreaking discovery because it belonged to a beast likely 80 to 90 feet long, which is 15 to 25 feet longer than average, she said.

After five summers of work excavating the dinosaur leg bone, it was lifted Thursday morning from the quarry outside Grand Junction near the Utah border. A crew of experts led by the Museum of Western Colorado’s Dinosaur Journey Museum oversaw the excavation.

“It’s funny that it was discovered from a small piece exposed about the size of a pancake,” volunteer Dorthy Stewart said.

The creature ordinarily grew up to 69 feet long and ate plants.

According to the National Park Service, “You may have heard it referred to by its scientifically incorrect name, Brontosaurus. This sauropod (long-necked dinosaur) was discovered and named Apatosaurus, or ‘false lizard,’ because of its unbelievably large size. After Apatosaurus was named, other sauropod specimens were named Brontosaurus. It was later determined that both names actually referred to the same animal, Apatosaurus.”

Four new rodent species discovered in Bolivia


This video is about tuco-tucos.

From Science, Space & Robots:

Scientists Identify Four New Species of Tuco-Tucos

Scientists have identified four new species of tuco-tuco in Bolivia. The research team was led by Scott Gardner from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Tuco-tucos are gopher-like mammals that make burrows for homes. They range in size as adults from 7 to 12 inches (.2 to .3 meters) and weigh about 1 pound (0.45 kilograms).

The researchers say the high ridges that create deep river valleys in central Bolivia have aided the development of different tuco-tuco species through geographic isolation. The four new tuco-tuco species include Ctenomys erikacuellarae (Erika’s tuco-tuco), Ctenomys andersoni (Anderson’s cujuchi), Ctenomys lessai (Lessa’s tuco-tuco) and Ctenomys yatesi (Yates’ tuco-tuco). There are about 65 tuco-tuco species in South America. Bolivia has twelve of them with the four newly identified species. …

Tuco-tucos dig complex burrows using their claws and their teeth. These burrows feature long branching tunnels and include a main tunnel that is longer than 46 feet (14 meters). They reportedly make a loud “tuc-tuc” noise which is where the tuco-tuco name comes from.

Gardner said in a statement, “The area from which these mammals were collected is still relatively unknown in a biological sense, even though this is the eastern foothills of the Andes, with among the highest level of biodiversity anywhere.”

A research paper on the new species was published here in the Special Publications from the Museum of Text Tech University.

July 21, 2014

Protecting piping plovers in the Bahamas


This video says about itself:

People and Plovers by David Yarnold

8 July 2014

On a recent visit to the Bahamas, David Yarnold and other Audubon [Society in the USA] leaders saw the true power of working along the Flyways of the Americas, the core idea of the vision of a new Audubon.

From Audubon Magazine in the USA:

The View: People and Plovers

Meet some of the folks who drive our on-the-ground conservation.

By David Yarnold

Published: May-June 2014

On a recent visit to the Bahamas, we saw the true power of working along the Flyways of the Americas, the core idea of the vision of a new Audubon. The flyways along which birds migrate connect us to one another and to the birds’ world.

We saw Kerri Dikun from Audubon New York, Lindsay Addison from Audubon North Carolina, and Marianne Korosy from Audubon Florida come together in the Bahamas as part of Audubon’s international alliances team to help protect and preserve one of the world’s largest wintering grounds for piping plovers. These birds, which breed and migrate along the Atlantic Coast, were the thread that drew us all together to collaborate on the sands of the Joulter Cays. The passion and tenacity of the scientists was clear. But as I talked with them, I came to understand that something important had happened here: Their view of coastal protection grew because they were able to connect with others along the flyway. Their worldview shifted. They were moved, and they moved us. I asked them, “What do you want people to know about these birds?” This is what they had to say.

Kerri Dikun

Long Island Bird Conservation Coordinator, Audubon New York

“For those of us who work on the breeding grounds, it’s sometimes hard to let go of the belief that piping plovers are ‘our birds.’ We pour ourselves into protecting them each summer and experience their every trial and triumph firsthand. But I want people to know that after seeing them on the wintering grounds, imagining their arduous journey to get there, and meeting the dedicated people who await their return in the winter, it’s evident they’re still ‘our birds’—the ‘our’ is just bigger now.”

Lindsay Addison

Coastal Biologist, Audubon North Carolina

“I would like people to know about and be amazed by migration. Piping plovers are extremely true to their nesting and wintering sites. They return to the same sand flat every winter and nest on the same stretch of beach every summer. We’ve seen one little piping plover at the same inlet in North Carolina every winter for six years. She flies there from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore without a map or a GPS unit. There’s a semipalmated plover that winters on a beach near where I grew up that arrives in the same week every fall from the Mackenzie River Delta, Northwest Territories, near the Alaska-Canada border. I often think shorebirds know better where they are in the world than people.“

Marianne Korosy

IBA Coordinator, Audubon Florida

“Andros Island hosts many miles of sandy mudflats where piping plovers can feed undisturbed by beach volleyball, sunbathing visitors, ATVs, low-flying hang gliders, or gulls attracted by picnic leftovers. These special places, where piping plovers and other shorebirds can feed and rest in peace, are vital to the survival of this species.”

You can see more of the work these dedicated scientists are doing online at audubon.org/bahamas2014 and learn more about Audubon’s International Alliances Program and partnership with the Bahamas National Trust.

Author Profile

David Yarnold

David Yarnold is the president and CEO of the National Audubon Society.

Minke whales in the North Sea


This video from Australia is called MEET The MINKE WHALES.

Ecomare museum on Texel island in the Netherlands reports about minke whales, photographed near the Dogger Bank in the North Sea.

Biologists estimate there are about 9,000 minke whales in the North Sea, especially its northern parts.

Seahorse sounds, new study


This video is called The World of Seahorses.

From the Journal of ZooLogy:

Sounds produced by the longsnout seahorse: a study of their structure and functions

Abstract

Seahorses are known to produce sounds in different behavioural contexts, but information on the sound production in this fish group is scarce. Here we examined the acoustic behaviour of the longsnout seahorse Hippocampus reidi by analysing sound production when fish were introduced to a new environment and during feeding, handling and courtship. We show that males and females produce two distinct sound types: ‘clicks’ (main energy between 50 and 800 Hz) during feeding and courtship, and previously undescribed ‘growls’ (main energy concentrated below 200 Hz).

The latter consists of series of sound pulses uttered in stress situations when the animals were handheld. Growls were accompanied by body vibrations, and may constitute an additional escape mechanism in seahorses, which might startle predators. During reproductive behaviour, clicks were most abundant on the third (last) day of courtship; they were particularly associated with the males’ pouch-pumping behaviour, suggesting synchronization between sound production and courtship behaviour. This is consistent with the biology of Hippocampus species, which are mostly monogamous and form pair bonds. Thus, a courtship call may be used to signal readiness to mate.

Soon, app for recognizing wild birds’ songs?


This video is called Some Brazilian birds and sounds.

From Queen Mary University in London, England:

Birdsongs automatically decoded by computer scientists

Scientists from Queen Mary University of London have found a successful way of identifying bird sounds from large audio collections, which could be useful for expert and amateur bird-watchers alike.

Thursday 17 July 2014

 

The analysis used recordings of individual birds and of dawn choruses to identify characteristics of bird sounds. It took advantage of large datasets of sound recordings provided by the British Library Sound Archive, and online sources such as the Dutch archive called Xeno Canto.

Publishing in the journal PeerJ, the authors describe an approach that combines feature-learning – an automatic analysis technique – and a classification algorithm, to create a system that can distinguish between which birds are present in a large dataset.

“Automatic classification of bird sounds is useful when trying to understand how many and what type of birds you might have in one location,” commented lead author Dr Dan Stowell from QMUL’s School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science and Centre for Digital Music.

Dr Stowell was recently awarded a prestigious five-year fellowship from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) to develop computerised processes to detect multiple bird sounds in large sets of audio recordings.

Birdsong has a lot in common with human language, even though it evolved separately. For example, many songbirds go through similar stages of vocal learning as we do, as they grow up, which makes them interesting to study. From them we can understand more about how human language evolved and social organisation in animal groups,” said Dr Stowell.

He added: “The attraction of fully automatic analysis is that we can create a really large evidence base to address these big questions.”

The classification system created by the authors performed well in a public contest using a set of thousands of recordings with over 500 bird species from Brazil. The system was regarded as the best-performing audio only classifier, and placed second overall out of entries from 10 research groups in the competition.

The researchers hope to drill down into more detail for their next project.

Dr Stowell says: “I’m working on techniques that can transcribe all the bird sounds in an audio scene: not just who is talking, but when, in response to whom, and what relationships are reflected in the sound, for example who is dominating the conversation.”

Want to know more? Read the paper.

Extinct pigeon related to dodo, new research


This video is called Nicobar pigeon display.

From Wildlife Extra:

Liverpool pigeon found to be related to iconic dodo

After 200 years of being somewhat of an enigma, and having unknown provenance, the extinct spotted green pigeon has been found to be related to the iconic but extinct, flightless dodo.

Scientists in Australia analysed tiny DNA fragments extracted from feathers of the only remaining specimen (which is on show in the World Museum in Liverpool) and found it to be related to the nicobar pigeon of Indonesia and distantly related to the dodo of Mauritius.

Clem Fisher from the World Museum said: “We are very pleased that the extinct Spotted Green Pigeon has its correct place in the world of birds finally, after more than 230 years.”

The bird is often referred to as the ‘Liverpool Pigeon’ after the city in which the specimen is kept, but it would have come from either the Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia or Oceania.

Leading scientist Dr Tim Heupink, from Griffith University in Australia said: “This study improves our ability to identify novel (new) species from historic remains, and also those that are not novel after all. Ultimately this will help us to measure and understand the extinction of local populations and entire species.”

Charles Darwin’s complete Galapagos library posted online


This video says about itself:

11 November 2011

A classic example of evolution on Daphne Major Island in the Galapagos. Natural selection works on beak size variation of Darwin’s Finches.

From ars technica:

Darwin’s complete Galapagos library posted online

404 volumes kept on board the Beagle join the giant Darwin Online repository.

by Sam Machkovech – July 16 2014, 10:40pm +0200

Charles Darwin‘s massive ship library, including astounding drawings of species from far-off lands, meant he rarely had to come above-board while sailing on the Beagle in the 1830s.

Charles Darwin’s five-year journey to and from the Galapagos Islands ended in 1836. While that was over two decades before the publication of On the Origin of Species, he credited his time on board the Beagle as a formative experience for his theory of evolution. That extended trip wasn’t only spent studying local wildlife, especially during lengthy voyages at sea to and from home—Darwin also devoured a library of more than 400 volumes of text.

While many of those books were referenced in his later research, they were not preserved as a collection once the Beagle returned to England, leaving a gap in our understanding about the books and studies that kept Darwin’s mind occupied during such an historic era. Now, thanks to the painstaking efforts of a two-year Beagle project funded by the government of Singapore, that complete on-ship library has been transcribed and posted at Darwin Online, the world’s largest repository of Darwin-related texts and writings.

The library, which was stored in the same cabin as Darwin’s bed and desk during his journey, totaled out at 195,000 pages by the time researchers at the National University of Singapore assembled the full collection (and these weren’t exactly picture books, with only 5,000 corresponding illustrations). The complete list is quite astounding, made up of atlases, history books, geology studies, and even a giant supply of literature. Darwin also enjoyed a few books in French, Spanish, and German, along with a book in Latin about species and a Greek edition of the New Testament.

Historians and fans can read and perform text searches of the fully transcribed library. But if you’re pressed for time, we strongly encourage you to at least skim through the collection of gorgeous illustrations.

Rare butterfly invasion in the Netherlands


This 15 July 2014 Dutch entomology video is about the recent invasion in the Netherlands of scarce tortoiseshell butterflies; a species, new for the Netherlands.

See also here.