Foxes ate Ice Age humans´ leftovers


This video from California in the USA says about itself:

Recently, a convergence of views has led to the notion that the study of animal domestication may tell us something not only about our relationship with domesticated species since perhaps at least the Pleistocene, but also about our own evolution as a species in the more distant past. This symposium brings together scientists from a variety of research backgrounds to examine these views and to elucidate further the possible role of domestication in human evolution.

Robert Wayne (UCLA) begins with a discussion about The Transformation of Wolf to Dog: History, Traits, and Genetics, followed by Anna Kukekova (Univ of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) on Fox Domestication and Genetics of Complex Behaviors, and Robert Franciscus (Univ of Iowa) on Craniofacial Feminization in Canine and Human Evolution. Recorded on 10/10/2014.

From PLOS:

Foxes have been eating humans’ leftovers for 42,000 years

Ancient fox diets might be good indicators of human impact on past ecosystems

July 22, 2020

The diets of ancient foxes were influenced by humans, and these small carnivores might be tracers of human activity over time, according to a study published July 22, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Chris Baumann of the University of Tübingen, Germany and colleagues.

Foxes love leftovers. In the wild, foxes regularly feed on scraps left behind by larger predators like bears and wolves, but the closer foxes live to human civilization, the more of their diet is made up of foods that humans leave behind. In this study, Baumann and colleagues hypothesized that if this commensal relationship goes back to ancient times, then foxes might be useful indicators of human impact in the past.

The authors compared ratios of Carbon and Nitrogen isotopes between the remains of various herbivores, large carnivores, and red and Arctic foxes from several archaeological sites in southwest Germany dating to the Middle and Upper Palaeolithic. At sites older than 42,000 years, when Neanderthals sparsely occupied the region, fox diets were similar to their local large carnivores. But in the younger sites, as Homo sapiens became common in the area, foxes developed a more unique diet consisting largely of reindeer, which are too big for foxes to hunt but which are known to have been important game for ancient humans of the time.

These results suggest that during the Upper Palaeolithic, these foxes made a shift from feeding on scraps left by local large predators to eating food left behind by humans. This indicates that foxes’ reliance on human food goes back a good 42,000 years. The authors propose that, with further studies investigating this fox-human relationship, ancient fox diets may be useful indicators of human impact on ecosystems over time.

The authors add: “Dietary reconstructions of ice-age foxes have shown that early modern humans had an influence on the local ecosystem as early as 40,000 years ago. The more humans populated a particular region, the more the foxes adapted to them.”

Portland, USA demonstrations against police brutality


This 26 July 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Protests against racism and police brutality in the US city of Portland have entered their ninth week.

The demonstrations started in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

But anger has also been growing over President Donald Trump’s decision to send federal agents to the city as local politicians and Democrats in Congress accuse the officers of using excessive force.

Al Jazeera’s Leah Harding reports.

Denver meteorologist fired after comparing federal troops to Nazis.

Beelzebufo, big dinosaur age Madagascar frog


This 22 July 2020 video says about itself:

Untangling the origins of Beelzebufo — the giant frog that lived alongside the dinosaurs — turns out to be one of the most bedeviling problems in the history of amphibians.

Coronavirus news from Trump’s USA and worldwide


This 26 July 2020 video says about itself:

American Tour Boat at Niagara Falls Packed Despite COVID-19 | NowThis

Looking at these tour boats side by side highlights just how differently Americans and Canadians are handling COVID-19.

150,000 dead in the US and no end in sight. 25 July 2020. The resurgence of COVID-19 is a result of the campaign by the Trump administration—with the assistance of the Democrats and the media—to force workers back on the job as the pandemic continues to rage: here.

As the spread of COVID accelerates, Ford workers in Michigan and Kentucky denounce flouting of safety measures. By Tim Rivers, 25 July 2020. Ford workers in Michigan and Louisville, Kentucky describe the disregard of basic COVID-19 safety protections by management.

Iowa Department of Health underreported confirmed cases at meatpacking plant by more than half. By Cordell Gascoigne, 25 July 2020. The Iowa Department of Health cover-up occurred at the height of the “back to work campaign” and ongoing meat industry production.

From the World Socialist Web Site, 25 July 2020:

India: Karnataka contract health workers protest

Nearly 600 contract health workers from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS) in Bangalore demonstrated on Monday against workplace bias and poor facilities. The health workers allege that they are denied treatment at the hospital if any of them contract COVID-19 whilst working the facility. Permanent workers, however, are treated at the hospital if infected with the virus.

The contract health workers also complained that some of those unable to get transport to the campus hospital during the coronavirus lockdown are banned from joining the 500,000-rupee Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan health insurance scheme. Around 40 health workers at the Victoria Hospital also protested on Monday demanding to be included in the health insurance scheme.

Doctors at Karnataka government hospitals resign

About 2,000 AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) contract doctors at Karnataka state-run hospitals resigned on July 16 over long-standing demands for permanent jobs, salary increases, social security and the provision of personal protection equipment which had not been fulfilled.

Their resignations followed a threat a week earlier to take stronger action if the government continued to ignore their demands. The doctors returned to work after the government committed to increase their salaries.

Bihar health workers strike over COVID-19 discrimination and unpaid wages

Nurses and sanitation workers from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Patna walked out on July 18 over two months of outstanding pay and against health treatment discrimination. AIIMS Patna is one of four specialised COVID-19 treating hospitals in Bihar state.

Striking workers and other staff allege that they and their family members have been banned from receiving treatment at AIIMS Patna, despite having worked day and night since the outbreak of COVID-19.

According to the media, the hospital has become a hub for economically better off COVID-19 patients in the past week, with “common” people have been refused admission if infected. The press claims that the majority of the isolation and ICU beds with ventilator facilities have been occupied by governing National Democratic Alliance (NDA) leaders, ministers and legislators, as well as judges and businessmen.

Sri Lanka: Public health inspectors strike over COVID-19 infection procedures

Around 2,000 Public Health Inspectors (PHI) began a national strike on July 17 in protest against the government’s failure to implement adequate legal procedures to contain the coronavirus pandemic. Their walkout erupted after the Sri Lankan minister for health described the health inspector’s work as “harassment of people.”

The inspectors also denounced the government for not gazetting health care guidelines or giving the PHIs sufficient legal authority to conduct COVID-19 pandemic procedures.

The Association of Public Health Inspectors has claimed that the work of its members is severely limited by a lack of proper legal authority. The union said PHIs are carrying out all basic activities related to the control of the pandemic but that the government was openly breaking health rules in public campaigns leading up to the general election scheduled on August 5.

Australia’s COVID-19 death toll rising rapidly. By Oscar Grenfell, 25 July 2020. Through the “national cabinet”, Labor and Liberal-National governments yesterday “recommitted” to the pro-business policies that have resulted in record deaths and infections.

Whitespotted eagle rays’ behavior, new research


This 26 October 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Off the coast of Sarasota, Florida, lives the spotted eagle ray—a beautiful, yet mysterious, sea creature. Very little is known about the eagle ray, so research teams from Florida Atlantic University and Mote Marine Lab are pioneering new techniques to better understand them. Along with tagging the rays to track their movements, the team records and analyzes the sounds the rays make when they eat. These new research methods could shed light on the rays’ eating habits and give researchers a deeper understanding of the animal, and, by extension, the ocean as a whole.

Join wildlife biologist Wes Larson on a mission across the United States to find the next generation of conservationists.

From Florida Atlantic University in the USA:

Biotelemetry provides unique glimpse into whitespotted eagle rays’ behavior

Ecology of this ‘near threatened’ species in Florida

July 22, 2020

Summary: Researchers are the first to characterize the ecology and fine-scale habitat use of ‘near threatened’ white-spotted eagle rays in Florida while also identifying areas of potential interactions between this species and multiple environmental threats. Biotelemetry provided unique insights into this species’ occupancy, which is not apparent at the landscape-scale. Prolonged observations showed affinities for habitats of considerable recreational and commercial importance, like inlets, channels, and clam aquaculture lease sites close to shore.

The whitespotted eagle ray (Aetobatus narinari), found in estuaries and lagoons throughout Florida, is listed as “near threatened” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s “Red List of Threatened Species.” Keeping tabs on this highly mobile species for conservation efforts can be extremely challenging, especially for extended periods of time.

Researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute used uniquely coded transmitters and acoustic telemetry to give them a leading edge to unravel fine-scale movement, behavior, and habitat use of whitespotted eagle rays in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon. Biotelemetry provided the researchers with unique insights into this species’ occupancy, which is not apparent at the landscape-scale.

Despite being a state-protected species in Florida for more than two decades, this study is the first to characterize the ecology and fine-scale habitat use of whitespotted rays in Florida while also identifying areas of potential interactions between this species and multiple environmental threats. For the study, researchers followed seven mature individuals (six males and one female) and individually tracked them for a total of 119.6 hours. They used a tracking vessel to continuously and manually track the rays between June 2017 and August 2018.

Results of the study, published in the journal Endangered Species Research, show that rays use the deeper portions of the Indian River Lagoon, along Florida’s southeast coast, during the day and shallower portions during the night. In addition, they move faster while in the ocean and lagoonal habitats and slower in channels and inlets. This information suggests that whitespotted eagle rays may spend more time foraging at night in the shallow water of the lagoon than during the daytime. These prolonged observations revealed affinities for habitats of considerable recreational and commercial importance, such as inlets, channels, and clam aquaculture lease sites close to shore.

“Understanding channel use is crucial to evaluating risks and potentially developing strategies to mitigate negative impacts to the whitespotted eagle ray, as both channel and inlet habitats have high levels of human activity such as boating and fishing and are prone to coastal development impacts from dredging,” said Breanna DeGroot, M.S., lead author, research technician and former graduate student working with Matt Ajemian, Ph.D., co-author and an assistant research professor at FAU’s Harbor Branch. “In addition, these high traffic areas experience increased noise and chemical pollution.”

Rays also spent a larger proportion of time in the channels and inlet during the lighter and warmer portions of the day and used shallower depths during the cooler and darker portions of the day. Rate of movement significantly increased with temperature, suggesting that rays are more active during warmer periods. While previous studies have found that whitespotted eagle rays are influenced by tidal cycles, this study did not find any tidal patterns in ray habitat use or distribution.

Because more clammers work on lease sites during the day, interactions between the rays and growout sites may therefore be underestimated. Findings from this study will help to inform statewide conservation plans for the species and provide critical information to hard clam aquaculture farmers and restoration managers for the successful production of bivalves in the area.

“As coastal populations and development increase, there is more potential for whitespotted eagle rays to interact with human activities,” said Ajemian. “In addition, intense coastal development such as dredging, construction, and pollution have been linked to habitat alteration, which may change the abundance and distribution of this species as has been documented with shark species in degraded habitats.”

As whitespotted eagle rays already display an affinity for these modified habitats, increased interactions with humans and added pollution and/or disturbances could result in changes to the species’ movement patterns and health. Ultimately, such human-induced habitat alterations could reduce the overall productivity of estuarine areas and, with time, exacerbate pressures already facing populations of aetobatid rays.

Donald Trump’s USA, racism and police state


This 25 July 2020 video says about itself:

US federal agents sent to Portland by President Donald Trump have again fired tear gas at protesters and made arrests.

Demonstrators have rallied every night for eight weeks demanding racial equality and police reforms.

Leaders in Oregon state say the agents are only making things worse.

Al Jazeera’s Leah Harding reports.

TRUMP AND BARR EXPAND SURGE IN FEDERAL OFFICERS President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr said federal agents will surge into Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico, expanding the administration’s intervention in local enforcement as Trump tries to disguise himself as a reelection “law-and-order” warrior. Hundreds of federal agents already have been sent to Kansas City, Missouri. The mayor of Portland, Oregon, was tear-gassed by federal agents late Wednesday. [AP]

Illinois Democratic lawmakers have made public statements aimed at assuaging public fears that the federal forces will crack down on anti-police violence protesters in Chicago, just as they have in Portland: here.

BIDEN CLAIMS TRUMP IS THE FIRST RACIST PRESIDENT Joe Biden made the claim that Trump is the first racist president at a virtual town hall on Wednesday. Biden was asked about Trump’s decision to call the coronavirus the “China virus” or “Wuhan virus” whenever he speaks publicly about the pandemic, which places a stigma on Asian people. “The way he deals with people based on the color of their skin, their national origin, where they’re from, is absolutely sickening,” Biden said. “No Republican president has done this. No Democratic president. We’ve had racists, and they’ve existed, they’ve tried to get elected president. He’s the first one that has.” [HuffPost]

Dear Joe Biden: unfortunately, Trump is not the first racist United States president. I know at least three Democratic presidents and one Republican president who at least arguably were racist. First, the three Democrats. Andrew Jackson (1829-1837) was a slave owner and committed genocide against Native Americans of the southeastern USA; the infamous Trail of Tears. James Buchanan (1857-1861) threw the United States into civil war by siding with slave owners in the southern states. Woodrow Wilson (1913-1921) praised the Ku Klux Klan propaganda movie Birth of a Nation. Republican Theodore Roosevelt (1901-1909), one of four presidents depicted in Mount Rushmore gigantic sculpture, whitewashed British German anti-Semitic author Houston Stewart Chamberlain, the founder of the ideology of Hitler’s nazi party.

TRUMP DISTRACTS FROM REAL GUN VIOLENCE CRISIS Trump’s orders to send hundreds of federal law enforcement officers to Chicago and Albuquerque is overtly political. He noted that the cities are run by Democratic lawmakers, accused police brutality protesters of promoting violence and has repeatedly ― and dishonestly ― said that presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has called to defund the police. The narrative that cities are out of control helps him argue that Democrats cannot be trusted with the presidency. But it’s hard to see how his show of force will help the millions of people in cities where gun crime is reaching record highs, particularly in largely nonwhite neighborhoods badly hurt by the coronavirus pandemic. [HuffPost]

GENERATIONS OF BLACK AMERICANS HAVE FOUGHT FOR JUSTICE Just like in the past, photos and video footage have shown what the Black Lives Matter movement is saying ― from the May 5 cellphone video of armed white men in a suburban neighborhood in Georgia chasing and gunning down Ahmaud Arbery to the footage of the last breathless minutes of Floyd’s life. Though Americans have long known about systemic racism and have seen instances of police brutality before, these latest images have forced a mainstream conversation. “We are still in the middle of this moment,” said Charles McKinney, a professor of African American history at Rhodes College. [HuffPost]