Bromeliad plants and hummingbirds, new research


This 1 December 2020 video says about itself:

Bromeliads: the explosive plant family

The Linnean Society of London publishes three peer-reviewed scientific journals in biology, botany and zoology. The journals cover original scientific papers and studies.

Extinct Polynesian sandpiper species discovery


This video says about itself:

Tuamotu Sandpiper | South Pacific & French Polynesia | Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic

The world’s most exciting sandpiper,” as undersea specialist Mike Greenfelder puts it, is notable for its rarity and tame behavior.

Video by Eric Wehrmeister aboard the National Geographic Orion in Tahanea, Tuamotus, French Polynesia.

From the Canterbury Museum in New Zealand:

Henderson island fossils reveal new Polynesian sandpiper species

November 16, 2020

Fossil bones collected in the early 1990s on Henderson Island, part of the Pitcairn Group, have revealed a new species of Polynesian sandpiper.

The Henderson Sandpiper, a small wading bird that has been extinct for centuries, is described in an article in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society published last week.

The newly-described bird is formally named Prosobonia sauli after Cook Islands-based ornithologist and conservationist Edward K Saul.

A team of researchers from New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Switzerland, the Netherlands and China, led by Canterbury Museum Research Curator Natural History Dr Vanesa De Pietri, described the Henderson Sandpiper from 61 fossilised bones cared for by the Natural History Museum at Tring in England.

Canterbury Museum Visiting Researcher Dr Graham Wragg collected the bones from caves and overhangs on Henderson Island in 1991 and 1992 during the Sir Peter Scott Commemorative Expedition to the Pitcairn Islands.

Prosobonia sauli is the fifth known species of Polynesian sandpiper. All but one of the species, the endangered Tuamotu Sandpiper (Prosobonia parvirostris), are extinct.

“We think Prosobonia sauli probably went extinct soon after humans arrived on Henderson Island, which archaeologists estimate happened no earlier than the eleventh century,” says Dr De Pietri.

“It’s possible these humans brought with them the Polynesian rat, which Polynesian sandpiper populations are very vulnerable to.”

DNA of the living Tuamotu Sandpiper and the extinct Tahiti Sandpiper (Prosobonia leucoptera), which is known only from a skin in the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands, was used to determine how Polynesian sandpipers are related to other wading birds.

“We found that Polynesian sandpipers are early-diverging members of a group that includes calidrine sandpipers and turnstones. They are unlike other sandpipers in that they are restricted to islands of the Pacific and do not migrate,” says Dr De Pietri.

Comparisons with the other two extinct Polynesian sandpiper species, the Kiritimati Sandpiper (Prosobonia cancellata) and the Mo’orea Sandpiper (Prosobonia ellisi), are complicated. These birds are known only from illustrations primarily by William Wade Ellis, an artist and Surgeon’s Mate on Captain James Cook’s third expedition, who probably saw the birds alive in the 1770s.

Compared to the Tuamotu Sandpiper, its geographically closest cousin, the Henderson Sandpiper had longer legs and a wider, straighter bill, indicating how it foraged for food. It probably adapted to the habitats available on Henderson Island, which are different to those on other islands where Polynesian sandpipers were found.

Henderson Island is the largest island in the Pitcairn Group, in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. It has been uninhabited since around the fifteenth century and was designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations in 1988.

Dr Paul Scofield, Canterbury Museum Senior Curator Natural History and one of the study’s co-authors, says Henderson Island is home to a number of unique species, a handful of which are landbirds like the Henderson Sandpiper.

“The island is really quite remarkable because every landbird species that lives there, or that we know used to live there, is not found anywhere else,” he says.

Dr De Pietri says the study shows the need to protect the one remaining Polynesian sandpiper species, the Tuamotu Sandpiper.

“We know that just a few centuries ago there were at least five Polynesian sandpiper species scattered around the Pacific. Now there’s only one, and its numbers are declining, so we need to ensure we look after the remaining populations.”

This research was supported by a grant from the Marsden Fund Council, managed by the Royal Society Te Apārangi, as well as the R S Allan Fund managed by Canterbury Museum.

British food factories coronavirus danger


This video from Harvard University in the USA says about itself:

Food Insecurity, Inequality and COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing crises of food insecurity and health disparities. In the United States, mass protests continue to spotlight deep-seated inequities — including access to affordable, nutritious food — faced by communities of color. Black Americans in particular have been disproportionately burdened by the pandemic. Globally, issues about potential disruptions in local food supply chains and prices have caused concern. Drawing on new U.S. Census and other data, this Forum explored public policy and actions needed to preserve access to federal nutritional assistance programs, including SNAP, WIC, and National School Lunch Programs. The panelists also discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the global food supply and nutritional quality, especially in low and middle-income countries, as well as strategies to minimize food system disruptions and ensure food access and nutrition during and after the pandemic.

Presented jointly with The World from PRX & WGBH on June 30, 2020.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

Food factories could be Christmas super-spreaders, warns TUC

FOOD factories could be “super-spreaders” of Covid-19 in the run-up to Christmas, the TUC warns today.

The trade union organisation says that workers in food plants already face a higher chance of contracting coronavirus due to the lack of airflow, poor social distancing and low temperatures.

And a huge influx of temporary staff over the festive period could see cases “rocket”, it predicts.

Food processing has the third-highest rate of outbreaks of any sector across Europe, after care homes and hospitals, according to data from the European Centre for Disease Control.

Since March, several British food factories have been forced to close during the pandemic after reporting hundreds of cases of coronavirus, among them suppliers to major supermarkets.

Last month, turkey meat manufacturer Bernard Matthews reported 147 positive cases across two sites.

But food manufacturing companies across Britain are currently advertising for temporary workers as they gear up for the busy Christmas period.

They include Dessert factory Bakkavor, which had 115 staff test positive for Covid-19 over the summer, with at least one fatality.

The company is seeking hundreds of seasonal staff to meet demand for Christmas.

Meat supplier Cranswick, hit by outbreaks that led to three workers losing their lives, is recruiting for at least 130 Christmas jobs in one factory.

The TUC warns that current workplace safety guidance for food production is “out-of-date” and called on ministers to “stop dragging their feet” and make it a legal requirement for employers to publish their risk assessments.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “There is a real danger that food factories could become ‘super spreaders’ of Covid-19 as they produce turkeys and other seasonal fare for Christmas.

“Out-of-date guidelines on food production, combined with the seasonal increase in staff, will put factory workers at an even higher risk of infection.

“Ministers urgently need to update the guidance for food production. They must require employers to publish their risk assessments.

“And they must resource the HSE properly, so it can get into food factories and crack down on unsafe working.

“That’s how to make sure everyone is safe at work this Christmas.”

The Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has been approached for comment.

Extinct walrus species discovery in California, USA


This July 2020 video says about itself:

The rise and fall of ancient walruses, and how modern ones got their tusks, is a story that spans almost 20 million years. And while there are parts of the story that we’re still trying to figure out, it looks like tusks didn’t have anything to do with how or what these animals ate.

From ScienceDaily:

Paleontologists uncover three new species of extinct walruses in Orange County, California

Study gives insight to tusk evolution of the marine mammal

November 16, 2020

Millions of years ago, in the warm Pacific Ocean off the coast of Southern California, walrus species without tusks lived abundantly.

But in a new study, Cal State Fullerton paleontologists have identified three new walrus species discovered in Orange County and one of the new species has “semi-tusks” — or longer teeth.

The other two new species don’t have tusks and all predate the evolution of the long iconic ivory tusks of the modern-day walrus, which lives in the frigid Arctic.

The researchers describe a total of 12 specimens of fossil walruses from Orange, Los Angeles and Santa Cruz counties, all estimated to be 5 to 10 million years old. The fossils represent five species, with two of the three new species represented by specimens of males, females and juveniles.

Their research, which gives insights on the dental and tusk evolution of the marine mammal, was published today in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

Geology graduate Jacob Biewer, and his research adviser James F. Parham, associate professor of geological sciences, are authors of the study, based on fossil skull specimens.

Parham and Biewer worked with Jorge Velez-Juarbe, an expert in marine mammals at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, who is a co-author of the paper. Velez-Juarbe is a former postdoctoral scholar in Parham’s lab and has collaborated on other CSUF fossil research projects. Parham is a research associate at the museum, which provides research opportunities for him and his students.

The researchers teamed to study and describe the anatomy of the specimens, most of which are part of the museum’s collection.

“Orange County is the most important area for fossil walruses in the world,” said Biewer, first author of the paper who conducted the research for his master’s thesis. “This research shows how the walruses evolved with tusks.”

Extinct Walrus Species Get Names

Today, there is only one walrus species and its scientific name is Odobenus.

For the new species found in Orange County, the researchers named the semi-tusked walrus, Osodobenus eodon, by combining the words Oso and Odobenus. Another is named Pontolis kohnoi in honor of Naoki Kohno, a fossil walrus researcher from Japan. Both of these fossils were discovered in the Irvine, Lake Forest and Mission Viejo areas.

Osodobenus eodon and Pontolis kohnoi are both from the same geological rock layer as the 2018 study by Parham and his students of another new genus and species of a tuskless walrus, Titanotaria orangensis, named after CSUF Titans. These fossils were found in the Oso Member of the Capistrano Formation, a geological formation near Lake Forest and Mission Viejo.

The third new walrus species, Pontolis barroni, was found in Aliso Viejo, near the 73 Toll Road. It is named after John Barron, a retired researcher from the U.S.Geological Survey and world expert on the rock layer where the specimens were found, Parham said.

Analysis of these specimens show that fossil walrus teeth are more variable and complex than previously considered. Most of the new specimens predate the evolution of tusks, Parham said.

“Osodobenus eodon is the most primitive walrus with tusk-like teeth,” Parham said. “This new species demonstrates the important role of feeding ecology on the origin and early evolution of tusks.”

Biewer explained that his work focused on getting a better understanding of the evolutionary history of the walrus in regards to its teeth.

“The importance of dental evolution is that it shows the variability within and across walrus species. Scientists assumed you could identify certain species just based on the teeth, but we show how even individuals of the same species could have variability in their dental setup,” said Biewer, who earned a master’s degree in geology in 2019.

“Additionally, everyone assumes that the tusks are the most important teeth in a walrus, but this research further emphasizes how tusks were a later addition to the history of walruses. The majority of walrus species were fish eaters and adapted to catching fish, rather than using suction feeding on mollusks like modern walruses.”

Biewer, now a paleontologist in the Modesto area, also examined whether climate changes in the Pacific Ocean had an impact on ancient walruses. His work suggests that a rise in water temperature helped to boost nutrients and planktonic life, and played a role in the proliferation of walruses about 10 million years ago, which may have contributed to their diversity.

Background

For the fossil walrus research project, geology graduate Jacob Biewer spent hours in the lab measuring and describing the walrus bones.

“I sat many hours with a handy caliper taking notes on the lengths of teeth and width of skulls, among many other measurements,” he said. “Describing bones is much more in-depth and meticulous than it sounds. There are traits that the bones of each walrus species have — the size, shape and number of teeth. I recorded how the bones are different from, or similar to, other extinct walrus species.”

Biewer, a paleontologist who lives in Modesto, noted that despite the pandemic, he and Parham worked on the scientific paper with 300 miles of social distancing.

Completing his first journal publication, based on his master’s work, and conducting the research project helped him to understand scientific methods and techniques that he now uses in his career, where he monitors construction sites for paleontological resources. He also teaches undergraduate geology courses at Cal State Stanislaus, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in geology, and is considering pursuing a doctorate.

“The experiences I had in conducting this research, especially the presentations at national paleontological conferences, led to a big increase in my confidence in my scientific abilities,” Biewer said. “I credit my time working with Dr. Parham directly to the achievements in my current employment — from the skills he imparted to the doors he helped open.”

Glow-in-the-dark marsupials in Australia


This video says about itself:

In the deep, dark ocean, many sea creatures make their own light for hunting, mating and self-defense. Bioluminescence expert Edith Widder was one of the first to film this glimmering world. At TED2011, she brings some of her glowing friends onstage, and shows more astonishing footage of glowing undersea life.

From ABC Radio Hobart in Australia:

Biofluorescent Australian mammals and marsupials take scientists by surprise in accidental discovery

By Rachel Edwards

Following the accidental discovery by scientists in the United States that platypuses glow under UV light, further tests by Australian scientists show other mammals and marsupials also glow.

Marsupials are mammals as well, though different from most mammals.

Biofluorescence has long been known to occur in some insects and sea creatures, but it was unknown that it occurred in other Australian mammals until earlier this month, when scientists at the Western Australian Museum rushed to check their specimen drawers to factcheck the US report.

The findings have Australian scientists working together to confirm the findings of biofluorescence in these animals, and to start looking for a reason that it may occur.

Paula Anich is a North America squirrel researcher from the Center for Science and the Environment, Northland College in the USA, and co-author of the paper about biofluorescent platypuses that was published in the journal Mammalia.

“It’s hard to resist a platypus,” Dr Anich said.

She was alerted to a pink glow that squirrels exude under UV light by a colleague.

Dr Anich then decided to check some of the other specimens she had to hand.

“We pulled the monotreme [egg-laying mammals like platypuses] drawer and the platypuses fluoresced, and it was amazing,” she told ABC Radio Hobart.

It was also reported by Linda Reinhold, a zoologist and amateur mycologist, in the Autumn/Winter 2020 edition of the Queensland Mycologist that a roadkill specimen of platypus in Queensland was seen to glow under UV light.

Palaeontologist and curator of Mammalogy at the Western Australian Museum, Kenny Travouillon, heard about the article and borrowed a UV light from that the arachnology department of the museum.

“We borrowed it and turned off the lights in the collection and looked around for what was glowing and not glowing,” Dr Travouillon said.

“The first one we checked was the platypus obviously.

“We tried on marsupial moles and wombats,” Dr Travouillon said.

“We did on the carnivorous marsupials and they did not glow at all.

“It probably makes sense, because if their prey can see UV light, they would not be able to hide from them.”
Why do they glow?

Sarah Munks is an adjunct senior researcher with the School of Natural Sciences at the University of Tasmania and an expert in platypuses.

Given that the sample size of three platypus that had been preserved in a drawer in the Northern Hemisphere for decades is not enough for scientists to confirm that glowing fur is endemic to platypuses, she was initially sceptical.

“When I first read it, I thought ‘mmm, they were just sad-looking museum specimens’.

“A colleague suggested that they could be covered in urine.”

Benefits to glowing in the dark

Dr Anich hoped the release of the paper would get on the radar of Australian platypus experts.

“I think they are the scientists and wildlife biologists best placed to figure it out,” she said.

“It is possible that it is actually taking the ultraviolet light that is more prevalent at dusk and dawn, making it kind of disappear so that any predators that are keying in on ultraviolet light can’t see the platypus because it is kind of cloaking itself.”

Dr Munks was cautious.

“Their sample size was tiny — and I always like to put in a plug for more research,” she said.

“Is this just a way they can find each other? I don’t think so, platypuses have so many other ways of finding their way around.

“All the work done on other species suggests that it is an ancient form of camouflage.

Dr Travouillon suggests that “the benefit is probably so they can see their species from a distance, and they can approach them because they know that it is safe to go towards that animal.”

New collaborations and concern for funding

“It’s incredible seeing it zipping around the researchers,” said Dr Munks, referring to the journal article.

Dr Travouillon posted photos on Twitter of the other animals they tested under UV light, including an echidna, wombats, and bilbies.

“As soon as we posted the pictures, I got contacted from a researcher at Curtin University who works on forensic light and they are interested to do more research,” he said.

“He came with some of his equipment last week and we tested it on some of the specimens and it shows that it is not just UV light but some other lights too.

“We will look at various marsupials to see if there is a pattern with nocturnal mammals, a lot more research coming in the future,” Dr Travouillon said.

“If it’s quirky and interesting like that it will always get people’s attention.”

Punk Rock Women´s Day today


This 2015 video from England says about itself:

Maid Of Ace performing “Disaster Of Noise” live on BBC Introducing The South 11/4/15.

Video by Mark Richards

Maid of Ace are from the seaside town Hastings. And they are not the only seaside punk girls. Yesterday I heard about three young girls from Dutch North Sea coastal town Noordwijk who had formed a punk band.

Only today I found out on Punkrock History that 28 November seems to be Punk Rock Women´s Day.

A great idea. Ever since the start of punk in 1975-1976, women played important roles.

This video is called Raincoats in Warsaw, Poland, April 1978. A concert which helped to start punk bands in Poland.

Important roles, not just as singers like in most earlier music genres …

Hear singer Siouxsie Sioux with the Banshees in Helter Skelter.

As drummers …

This video from England is called SEX PISSED DOLLS (drummer ANNA KEY) with Ramones song BLITZKRIEG BOP WELLOFEST 16 JULY 2016.

This video from the Netherlands is called Persona Non Data ::: Lola Groningen 2018. With Eva Oling on drums.

As bass players …

This video from London is called THE ADVERTS-LIVE AT THE VORTEX 1977. With bass player Gaye Advert.

… as guitarists …

This video is called L7 – Fast and Frightening (Live at Hellfest 2015). An all-women band from the USA with two guitar players.

… keyboard players, saxophone players …

This video from London in 1977 says about itself:

X-Ray Spex – Oh! Bondage Up Yours! (Live At The Roxy) [Stereo Sync]

Footage of X-Ray Spex live at the Roxy, footage taken from the Don Letts film ‘The Punk Rock Movie’ which I’ve synced to a nice stereo source 😉

With Lora Logic on saxophone.

And violinists ..yes!!

This video is called The Raincoats – Fairytale In the Supermarket (June 19, 2015, @ Unit Tokyo). (They used to play it faster in the 1970s).

Vicky in the Raincoats!!!

Female punks played both in all-women bands, like the Miami Beach Girls in the Netherlands …

And in mixed-gender bands like Dutch band Cheap ´n´ Nasty.

All four songs on their 1981 Covergirl EP were written by bass player-female lead vocalist Terry.

In the various line-ups of Cheap ´n´ Nasty, there were four more women. Raphaelle Devins, formerly in French pioneer all-women punk band the Lou´s, on saxophone. Unfortunately, deceased. Rest in power, Raphaelle! So is Andrea, who played bass in the Miami Beach Girls as well. Rest in power, Andrea! You can see the only moving images of her in this Miami Beach Girls video, of the songs Screwdriver and Angels in hell. With in between an interview with keyboardist Jeanette.

The singer, Ria aka Maria, in the Miami Beach Girls videos also played drums in Cheap ´n´ Nasty if drummer boy Maarten could not play because of secondary school. Fortunately, she is alive. So is Heleen, bass player in the 1981-1982 line-up.

And let us not forget female roadies of punk bands. Like the two 15-year-old schoolgirls who became the road crew of Cheap ´n´ Nasty after being at their first concert, with English bands Crass and Poison Girls. And Annemarie was the driver, driving Cheap ‘n’ Nasty to gigs.

This video from Britain says about itself:

The Culture Show “Girls Will Be Girls” BBC 2 Women in Punk

Documentary about women in Punk Rock with awesome unseen footage. Directed by Martina Hall, presented by Miranda Sawyer (2014)

I do not own any copyrights on this film.

At the height of the punk explosion almost 40 years ago, a handful of women completely redefined what a woman in music could do. Through sheer talent and fearlessness, they pushed themselves on to a male-dominated music scene and became part of a movement that radically changed the cultural landscape.

Along with Siouxsie Sioux, Poly Styrene and Chrissie Hynde, the Slits were among punk’s most important figures and Viv Albertine, their guitarist, has just brought out her memoir ‘Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys’ which chronicles her life as part of this revolutionary vanguard.

Miranda Sawyer meets up with Viv Albertine and some of the other key female figures of the era including Chrissie Hynde, The Raincoats, and punk anti-heroine Jordan to look at how they inspired a generation of young women with the notion that anyone could do anything if they wanted to. Plus she explores whether the punk spirit still survives today.

Punk rock women played and play in many countries. Like Japan.

This video is about Japanese all-girl punk band, the Shemones.

This video says about itself:

Women’s Hardcore Punk Festival Shutdown in Indonesia

Lady Fast 2016, a festival of punk music, art and discussions for women in Indonesia, was shut down by the police and members of “Islamic” Hardliner groups on claims that they lacked a permit. Many have speculated that the envelopment of groups such as the Islamic People’s Forum (FUI) and the Islamic Jihad Front (FJI) used intimidation tactics, such as threatening to burn down the venue to force the closure of the event. Nik Zecevic and Jo Ankier further examine the closure of the festival on the Lip News.

And from Italy:

PSYCHORDS – I WANNA LIVE LIKE JOEY RAMONE

HEY YOU! Welcome to the first video release by the punk-rock-girl-power trio Psychords. Directed by MrTeko O’Liax.
LET’S GOOOOO!!!!

‼️NB.

About the confederate flag: we recorded this video in a Southern Rock Venue with all USA flags everywhere. We deviate completely from its meaning because it was just a circumstance. As our fans know we’re totally No racist, No fascist, No nazi, No political. We just want to play the music that we love.

Tks and enjoy our music🤘🏻

Pioneer punk drums woman gets badge back


Lou's badge

In November 2020, Dutch visual artist Marion van Egmond has reconstructed the original 1977 badges of pioneer all-women punk band the Lou’s. She made 5 big and 5 small glow-in-the-dark badges.

Today, Ms Bauke van der Lee came to fetch two badges, one for Lou’s drummer Syama (aka Saskia, Sascha) de Jong, and one for herself. Ms de Jong is in isolation because of the coronavirus danger. Only outside contact is Bauke who brings her groceries.

Bauke van der Lee in 1980 became roadie of Cheap ‘n’ Nasty. She got a copy today of the Cheap ‘n’ Nasty Cover girl EP. She used to play her original copy lots of times. But she lived in squats and had to move house again and again as police evicted squatters. Then, she lost her EP,

The other half of the Cheap ‘n’ Nasty road crew, Ms Dorith Ligtvoet, was present as well to get her Covergirl EP. In 1980, these two were 15-year-old secondary school girls, If, after the coronavirus danger, Cheap ‘n’ Nasty would reunite after almost 40 years (a world record), they said, then they would happily move instruments and amps again.

In 1980, Ms van Egmond was one of four 12-13-year-old girls, the youngest punk band in the world. Younger than Eater. Dutch national radio interviewed them. But the drummer’s father did not want his daughter to play. And so, Marion’s and her bandmates’ plan to play a support set to British band Crass and Poison Girls and Dutch Cheap ‘n’ Nasty did not happen.

Autumn birds of Voorne island


This 26 November 2020 video shows autumn birds of Voorne island in the Netherlands, including 0:13 Great cormorant 0:21 Goldfinch 0:28 Great egret 0:36 Buzzard 0:56 Robin 0:59 Blue tit 1:20 Goldfinch 1:27 Northern lapwings 1:35 Teal and Pintail 1:39 Magpie 1:44 Starlings.