Orchids in Keukenhof flower park, video


This 30 April 2020 video from the Netherlands says about itself:

Because you cannot visit Keukenhof right now, we decided to bring Keukenhof to you!

In this video, Cor Middelkoop tells you everything there is to know about the orchids in the Beatrix pavilion. Did you know there are 3800 different orchids in this show?

Lisowicia, big extinct Polish mammal-like reptile


This 8 May 2020 video says about itself:

Lisowicia – The Polish Turtle Dragon

The single largest species of Dicynodonts was described last year. It wasn’t altogether extraordinary for weird crests, lumps, spines, or claws, but what it means by its sheer size is quite important for the evolution of mammals and dinosaurs.

Rock and roll singer Little Richard, RIP


This music video from the USA is called Little Richard – “Long Tall Sally” – from “Don’t Knock The Rock” – HQ 1956.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Rock and roll legend Little Richard (87) passed away

US American singer Little Richard passed away at the age of 87. His son has confirmed this to the American music magazine Rolling Stone. The cause of death is unknown.

Little Richard is considered one of the most important founders of rock ‘n’ roll. He is often mentioned in the same breath with greats like Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly.

In the mid-fifties, he had great success with songs like Tutti Frutti, Long Tall Sally, Lucille and Good Golly Miss Molly. …

With his exciting way of singing and performances with many show elements, he left his own mark on rock and roll. He influenced many other musicians, including Prince, Michael Jackson and The Beatles. …

Religion

Richard Penniman grew up in a very religious family. His father was a clergyman, and his mother was also very active in the church. At home he was called Little Richard because he was small and thin. Later he chose this nickname as the stage name.

At a young age he sang in the church choir and learned to play the piano. He was influenced musically by gospel singers like Joe May, Rosetta Tharpe and Marion Williams. When Tharpe heard him sing two of her songs before a concert, she was so impressed that she invited him to the stage. Since then, Little Richard wanted nothing more than to be on stage. …

In 1955 he released Tutti Frutti, which was an immediate success in both the United States and Great Britain. The successor Long Tall Sally (1956) did even better. With that he reached the first place in the US R&B list. Millions of copies of both singles were sold.

In three years he scored 18 hits …

Obscene lyrics

The surprise was great when he announced at a concert in Sydney in 1957 that he was quitting to become a preacher. He made that decision based on some ‘omens’, such as a red fireball that he had seen flying through the sky during the Sydney concert. He saw that as a warning from God to do penance for making music with obscene lyrics and his rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. Later, the red fireball turned out to come from the launch of the Sputnik 1 satellite.

Back in the US, he went on to study theology and then travelled the country as a preacher. He also recorded gospel songs again. …

In 1962 he was persuaded by his tour manager to perform again in Europe. The newly started band The Beatles played as a support act several times and he gave Paul McCartney vocal advice. …

Homosexuality

In 1995 he told in an interview that he was gay. A sensitive subject for the deeply religious singer. He was married once, but that marriage didn’t last long. He had no children of his own. However, he did adopt a baby through his church, Danny Jones, who often acted as his bodyguard when he got older.

He continued to perform in the new millennium, although it became physically more difficult because he had problems with his leg and hip.

In 2012, Rolling Stone magazine wrote of his concert in Washington, D.C. “still full of fire, still a master showman, his voice still loaded with deep gospel and raunchy power.”

South African honey bees’ virgin birth


This April 2017 video from South Africa says about itself:

Bee warned, beekeeper Fanie Rautenbach says

The Western Cape is experiencing a drastic decline in the bee population which sends out a serious warning to agriculture that soon there will be no bees for pollination.

From the University of Sydney in Australia:

Virgin birth has scientists buzzing

Researchers discover a gene in honey bees that causes virgin birth

May 7, 2020

In a study published today in Current Biology, researchers from the University of Sydney have identified the single gene that determines how Cape honey bees reproduce without ever having sex. One gene, GB45239 on chromosome 11, is responsible for virgin births.

“It is extremely exciting,” said Professor Benjamin Oldroyd in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences. “Scientists have been looking for this gene for the last 30 years. Now that we know it’s on chromosome 11, we have solved a mystery.”

Behavioural geneticist Professor Oldroyd said: “Sex is a weird way to reproduce and yet it is the most common form of reproduction for animals and plants on the planet. It’s a major biological mystery why there is so much sex going on and it doesn’t make evolutionary sense. Asexuality is a much more efficient way to reproduce, and every now and then we see a species revert to it.”

In the Cape honey bee, found in South Africa, the gene has allowed worker bees to lay eggs that only produce females instead of the normal males that other honey bees do. “Males are mostly useless,” Professor Oldroyd said. “But Cape workers can become genetically reincarnated as a female queen and that prospect changes everything.”

But it also causes problems. “Instead of being a cooperative society, Cape honey bee colonies are riven with conflict because any worker can be genetically reincarnated as the next queen. When a colony loses its queen the workers fight and compete to be the mother of the next queen,” Professor Oldroyd said.

The ability to produce daughters asexually, known as “thelytokous parthenogenesis,” is restricted to a single subspecies inhabiting the Cape region of South Africa, the Cape honey bee or Apis mellifera capensis.

Several other traits distinguish the Cape honey bee from other honey bee subspecies. In particular, the ovaries of worker bees are larger and more readily activated and they are able to produce queen pheromones, allowing them to assert reproductive dominance in a colony.

These traits also lead to a propensity for social parasitism, a behaviour where Cape bee workers invade foreign colonies, reproduce and persuade the host colony workers to feed their larvae. Every year in South Africa, 10,000 colonies of commercial beehives die because of the social parasite behaviour in Cape honey bees.

“This is a bee we must keep out of Australia,” Professor Oldroyd said.

The existence of Cape bees with these characters has been known for over a hundred years, but it is only recently, using modern genomic tools, that we have been able to understand the actual gene that gives rise to virgin birth.

“Further study of Cape bees could give us insight into two major evolutionary transitions: the origin of sex and the origin of animal societies,” Professor Oldroyd said.

Perhaps the most exciting prospect arising from this study is the possibility to understand how the gene actually works functionally. “If we could control a switch that allows animals to reproduce asexually, that would have important applications in agriculture, biotechnology and many other fields,” Professor Oldroyd said. For instance, many pest ant species like fire ants are thelytokous, though unfortunately it seems to be a different gene to the one found in Capensis.”