Fossil seashells of The Netherlands


This video from the USA is called Introduction to Fossil Sea Shell BRACHIOPODS pt 1 of 4.

Today, the natural history museum, jointly with the Dutch Malacalogical Society, had a theme day on seashells and snails.

The lectures were in the auditorium, with many horns and antlers of deer, antelope, and cattle species hanging on the walls.

The second lecture of today was on fossil seashells of the Dutch beaches and estuaries.

It was by Frank Wesselingh, at the moment working at a dissertation on fossil seashells of the Amazon region.

But he works on their Dutch equivalents as well.

He said there were about 700 fossil mollusc species found so far in The Netherlands: over 300 gastropods, 335 bivalves, 8 chitons, 7 scaphopods.

For comparison: at present there are nearly 300 mollusc species in The Netherlands, about half of them marine.

Some fossil species are tens of millions years old; some just a few thousand.

At many places along the Dutch coast, these fossils can be found.

Traditionally, Zealand in the south west is the best known.

But now, other places are being discovered.

Though beaches between Wassenaar and Zandvoort do not have many fossil shells.

In Zealand, a well known fossil is Megacardita planicosta from the Eocene period.

Also, from the Pliocene, Spisula inaequilatera; and Chlamys princeps.

The Kaloot beach in Zealand is famous for its fossils.

Unfortunately, now it is threatened by economic interests.

Among its shells are Aequipecten angeloni from the Miocene.

More to the north, and later, from a hotter age between ice ages, is Solen marginatus.

During ice ages, more northern species, like Astarte borealis prevailed.

Research of Dutch fossil shells led to discovering species new to science; like Yoldia heeringi and Pleuromeris moerdijki.

Scaphopods: Eocene-Oligocene Paleontology of Lincoln Creek, USA: here.

Drakozoon lived in the ocean during the Silurian Period, 444 to 416 million years ago, and today’s model hints at how it lived: here.

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Indonesia: orangutans lived in Java


Young orangutanAccording to the Journal of Human Evolution, orangutans used to live in Java about 100,000 years ago.

Today, these apes live only in Borneo and Sumatra.

Probably, there used to be a Sumatra-Java land bridge then; as orangutans don’t swim.

These are results of new research in the Gunung Dawung area of Java, by palaeoanthropologist Paul Storm and others.

The team also found modern humans (Homo sapiens) lived in Java then.

This is earlier than thought so far.

Talking about evolution: US corporations do not want to sponsor scientific evolution exhibitions; see here.

Orangutans and intelligence: here.

Great White Nicole Breaks Distance, Speed Records for Sharks


Great White Breaks Distance, Speed Records for Sharks

John Roach

for National Geographic News

October 6, 2005

A female great white shark has completed the first documented round-trip ocean crossing by a shark, swimming farther than any other known shark, according to a new study.

Nicole, as the shark is being called, traveled from Africa to Australia and back—a total of 12,400 miles (more than 20,000 kilometers)—in nine months. The feat also set a second record: fastest return migration of any known marine animal.

The shark’s approximately 6,900-mile (11,100-kilometer), 99-day swim from South Africa to Australia was tracked with an electronic tag that had been attached on November 7, 2003. The device had been set to pop off on a specific date in late February 2004.

After floating to the surface, the tag told a satellite the details of its journey.

The information was then automatically relayed to scientists’ e-mail accounts.
Nicole Kidman
On the day the tag was scheduled to transmit its data to the satellite, New York-based shark researcher Ramón Bonfil eagerly booted up his computer to get the scoop.

“When I opened the Web site and saw the map with the tag transmitting from the coast of Australia, I just couldn’t believe it,” said Bonfil, who works for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). “It was exactly what I wanted one of the sharks to do.”

The news only got better: Six months later zoologist Michael Scholl called Bonfil from South Africa and said the shark had returned from Australia.

Scholl, the founder of the White Shark Trust, had identified the shark’s unique fin markings in a series of photographs of Nicole—named after Australian actress and shark lover Nicole Kidman.

London: art about De Menezes murder censored


Censorship causes blindness, cartoonBritain: “Fear on the Streets” art installation removed from Selfridges’s window

By Paul Bond

5 September 2005

Selfridges department store in London last month removed from its window an art installation dealing with the climate of fear being fostered in the aftermath of the July 7 subway bombings and the police murder of Jean Charles de Menezes.

Eleven young professional artists from the Drawing Year programme at The Prince’s Drawing School were each given a window at Selfridges for five days.

Controversy arose over Dora Wade’s installation, “ Fear on the Streets”, which was first mounted on August 21.

A developing installation, the work took as its starting point “what it was like to be in the streets after the bombings.”

The work, which predominantly used stark black-and-white elements, sought to address a number of social issues in the aftermath of the bombings, particularly the officially encouraged atmosphere of alarm.

A wooden cage represented the Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs), while meter-wide linocut £20 notes bore the serial number ASBO2005; a cordon of mannequins in police uniforms stood in front of a woman pushing a pram; closed-circuit television cameras looked on the scene, and the whole piece was illustrated with stanzas from W. S. Gilbert’s poem My Dream:

De Menezes mural in London

The other night, from cares exempt,
I slept—and what d’you think I dreamt?
I dreamt that somehow I had come
To dwell in Topsy-Turveydom!

Where vice is virtue—virtue, vice:
Where nice is nasty—nasty, nice
Where right is wrong and wrong is right—
Where white is black and black is white.

The intention, the artist has written on her website, was to highlight “the gulf that exists between bland commercial shop window displays and external fearful reality.”

As an evolving installation, other elements were added over the course of the show.

Most controversially, a Brazilian man was placed in a prone position at the centre of the installation, in an invocation of the police killing of Jean Charles de Menezes.

De Menezes, an innocent man, was shot dead by armed police under a governmental shoot-to-kill policy on July 22.

For half an hour on August 22, the body of the man in the installation was draped in a Brazilian flag.

The artist herself, dressed as a policewoman, stood behind him reading a paper with the headline “New Order: Shoot To Kill.”

It was this explicit statement that first attracted the attention of Selfridges.

The company requested that the flag and the newspaper be removed from the display.

This was done, but when Wade arrived on the following morning, she was told that the installation had been closed and she was told to remove it.

Read more here.