Chimpanzees adapting to humans, new study


This BBC video is called How to Speak Chimpanzee.

From Wildlife Extra:

Chimps found to be adapting to human neighbours

Wild chimpanzees could be learning to coexist with their human neighbours a new study suggests. Expanding land use for agriculture and other activities are increasingly encroaching on wild chimpanzee habitat and there are signs the chimps are adjusting to these habitat changes.

Researchers from Muséum national d’histoire naturelle have used camera-traps to observe chimpanzee behaviour during incursions out of the forest into maize fields in Kibale National Park, Uganda. During the 20 days of the study, a total of 14 crop-raiding events were recorded by the activation of the video-trap.

The researchers observed large parties of eight chimpanzees which also included vulnerable individuals such as females with clinging infants. This is the first record of frequent and repeated activities at night, in the darkness. Habitat destruction may have prompted the chimpanzees to adjust their normal behaviour to include innovative behaviours exploiting open croplands at night.

The study concluded: ”Even though the chimpanzees’ home range has been seriously damaged and disturbed by both logging activities and significant human demographic pressure, chimpanzees have shown great behavioural flexibility including unexpected nocturnal behaviour, in order to take advantage of the proximity of domestic nutritive food.

“The new findings of chimpanzee nocturnal raids can aid to formulate recommendations to local farmers and Park authorities in addition to those already listed as “best practice guidelines” from IUCN in terms of human-wildlife conflicts.”

Weird dinosaur discovery in Mongolia


This video says about itself:

22 October 2014

This computer animation shows Deinocheirus mirificus walking. Deinocheirus had unusually large forearms and several features that seem cobbled together from a variety of other dinosaurs.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Fossils reveal very awkward dinosaur once roamed the Earth

Christopher Hooton

Thursday 23 October 2014

Palaeontologists in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert have discovered new fossils that allow them to create a picture of what one of the most unusually-shaped dinosaurs looked like.

Deinocheirus mirificus, which means “unusual horrible hand” in Latin, was a bipedal dinosaur with a hump-back and a big belly that stood almost as tall as the Tyrannosaurus rex.

The fossils were described in a study in the journal Nature, with vertebrate palaeontologist Thomas Holtz, Jr commenting: “This is definitely an unusual animal.

“It had more of a ‘beer belly’ than your typical ornithomimosaur.”

Palaeontologists recovered fossils from three individuals from the species in the Gobi Desert, and were able to combine them with some previously stolen by poachers to create a 95% complete skeleton of the dinosaur.

Its unusual combination of features has scientists puzzled.

“This creature wasn’t built for speed,” said Stephen Brusatte a palaeontologist at the University of Edinburgh. “That’s pretty obvious.”

Deinocheirus had wide hips and large toes, which made for an awkward gait as seen in the animation above.

Stegosaurus killed allosaurus, 147 million years ago


This video says about itself:

The Smell of Prey – Walking With Dinosaurs – BBC

An insight into the hunting habits of one of the most successful breeds of Dinosaur, the Allosaurus.

From Science News:

Stegosaurus landed a low blow in dino brawl

Fossil shows that allosaurus was maimed by tail spike attack

Thomas Sumner

3:19pm, October 22, 2014

VANCOUVER — In a story worthy of CSI: Jurassic Period, researchers have solved the mystery of what killed a predatory allosaurus dinosaur 147 million years ago.

The allosaurus fossil contains a circular hole in its pelvis flanked by a well-preserved, fist-sized abscess where the infected wound spread. The only murder weapon around that time that would create the circular hole is a tail spike on a stegosaurus.

The plant-eating dinosaur used its flexible body to whip its barbed tail into the allosaurus’s crotch during a fight, proposed paleontologist Robert Bakker of the Houston Museum of Natural Science on October 21 at the Geological Society of America‘s annual meeting. The allosaurus didn’t die right away, probably limping for weeks expelling pus, Bakker said.

The research could help scientists learn the fighting styles of the two dinos and reconstruct how the two species might have interacted.

Rare moth less rare in the Netherlands


This is a video from Japan about a Lithosia quadra caterpillar.

Translated from the Dutch Butterfly Foundation:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The four-spotted footman is a moth with no permanent populations in the Netherlands. It is a rare migratory moth, entering the Netherlands from the south and possibly temporarily propagates. This year the moth is reported strikingly more than usually.

The four-spotted footman (Lithosia quadra) was from 2004 to 2013 reported only thirty times and thus a rare moth. In normal years, zero to four individuals were reported. In good years there were seven (2006) to nine (2012) four-spotted footmen. Only in 2014, over a hundred reports came in on Waarneming.nl and Telmee, from more than fifty different locations. The past week still saw a lot.

Lithosia quadra female

Will marine area in Myanmar be protected?


This video says about itself:

Reef Life of the Andaman (full marine biology documentary)

“Reef Life of the Andaman” is a documentary of the marine life of Thailand and Burma (Myanmar).

Scuba diving more than 1000 times from the coral reefs and underwater pinnacles of Thailand‘s Similan Islands, Phuket, Phi Phi Island and Hin Daeng, to Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago and Burma Banks, I encountered everything from manta rays to seahorses, whale sharks to shipwrecks. The 116-minute film features descriptions of 213 different marine species including more than 100 tropical fish, along with sharks, rays, moray eels, crabs, lobsters, shrimps, sea slugs, cuttlefish, squid, octopus, turtles, sea snakes, starfish, sea cucumbers, corals, worms etc..

From Wildlife Extra:

New Marine Protected Area for Myanmar

A new, possible Marine Protected Area in Myanmar’s Myeik archipelago is under consideration by the country’s government, Flora and Fauna International have reported.

Situated in the north-eastern Andaman Sea the archipelago comprises over 800 islands of white sandy beaches and coral reefs teeming with a diverse array of marine life.

Scientific surveys of the area have revealed around 287 species of coral and 365 reef fish species, as well as reefs rich in echinoderms, crustaceans, molluscs and sponges.

The MPA has been proposed in a bid to conserve this unique biodiversity from the serious threats it faces, such as overfishing, destructive fishing methods, and to support sustainable fisheries.

Frank Momberg, FFI Myanmar Programme Director said, “Myanmar’s fisheries resources have declined dramatically over the last decade. However, by establishing a marine protected area network Myanmar will protect important nursery grounds for fish, coral reef and mangrove areas critical to maintaining the livelihood of coastal fishing communities and the fishing industry.”

Italian Alpine chamois and climate change


This is a chamois video from France.

From Wildlife Extra:

Alpine goats shrinking due to global warming

Climate change is causing Alpine goats in the Italian Alps to shrink, say scientists from Durham University.

The researchers, who have been studying the Alpine Chamois for the last 30 years, have found young Chamois now weigh about 25 percent less than animals of the same age in the 1980s. These declines they believe is strongly linked to the region warming by 3-4ºC during the 30 years of the study.

Although this shrinking in itself is not unusual as a lot of studies have found that animals are getting smaller because of the changing climate, this is usually due to the decling availability and nutritional content of their food, which is not true in this case.

The study found no evidence that Alpine meadows grazed by Chamois had been affected by the warming climate. Instead, the team believes that higher temperatures are affecting how chamois behave.

Co-author Dr Stephen Willis said: “We know that Chamois cope with hot periods by resting more and spending less time searching for food, and this may be restricting their size more than the quality of the vegetation they eat.”

“Body size declines attributed to climate change are widespread in the animal kingdom, with many fish, bird and mammal species getting smaller, said lead author Dr Tom Mason. “However the decreases we observe here are astonishing. The impacts on Chamois weight could pose real problems for the survival of these populations.

“This study shows the striking, unforeseen impacts that climate change can have on animal populations. It is vital that we continue to study how climate change affects species such as Chamois. Changes in body size could act as early-warning systems for worse impacts to come, such as the collapses of populations.”

See also here.

Mushroom, new for the Netherlands, discovered


Lepista martiorum

Translated from the Dutch Mycological Society:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Along a bike path through the woods near Wageningen last week a Tricholomataceae fungus species new for the Netherlands was discovered: Lepista martiorum. The discovery of this mushroom was based on pure chance. The Lepista martiorum fungi were found during a stop for other mushrooms under some brambles.