Konik foal born, video


This video is about a konik horse foal being born, on 14 April 2015, in nature reserve Grensmaas in Limburg province in the Netherlands.

Laurent Beckers made this video.

Ants have their own Highway Code, new research


This video is about Formica pratensis ants.

From Wildlife Extra:

Researchers find ants have their own Highway Code in high traffic areas

Researchers in Germany have discovered that ants have a sophisticated code of conduct in high traffic areas and their own rules of the road, according to new research published in Springer’s journal The Science of Nature – Naturwissenschaften.

One of the scientists’ observations is that ants speed up in response to a higher density of traffic on their trails, rather than slowing down as might be expected.

Not surprisingly, when the researchers increased the supply of food by leaving it next to the trail, ants accelerated their speed by 50 per cent. What was unexpected was that this was despite more than double the density of traffic.

When food increases in supply, more forager ants are sent out to carry it back to the nest. With this increase in ant density, the number of encounters between outbound and incoming individuals increases.

Researchers at the University of Halle-Wittenberg in Germany suggest that the encounters provide an opportunity for ants to swap information and to change their behaviour according to conditions.

Rules of ant etiquette were also observed. For example, workers returning to the colony more often moved to the left than to the right to avoid colliding with an oncoming ant.

Rather than segregating strictly into lanes like human traffic, the ants used only a degree of segregation, with inbound ants more frequently using the left side of the trail.

The observations were made of the black-meadow ant, Formica pratensis, a species that lives mainly in open grassland and forages on aphid honeydew as its carbohydrate source.

The colonies studied were situated near favoured foraging sites where the ants protect and cultivate aphid populations. Repeated journeys in these colonies are made more efficient by the use of well-worn trails that can persist for over a decade.

A total of 1,865 individual ants were filmed on a 15cm (6in) section of trail. The video was stopped every 50 frames and the number of ants on each lane was counted. At low and medium densities, ants preferred the central lanes.

Of the total number, 496 ants were also studied for their speed. Encounters between ants included touching antennae or exchanging fluids. The number of encounters increased with density but this did not reduce the traffic flow.

“Even under the highest densities we could achieve, we did not observe any traffic jams,” says Christiane Hönicke, co-author of the study. “The ants increased their pace and were driven off the central lanes of the trail, resulting in a self-organised optimisation of the traffic.”

Save jaguars in Mexico


This 2014 video is called The jaguar [full documentary].

From Wildlife Extra:

Mexico signs historic agreement to protect jaguars

The Mexican government has signed an historic agreemant with global wild cat conservation organisation, Panthera, to work towards the protection of jaguars.

Senator Gabriela Cuevas, President of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Mexican Senate, led a group of senators in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Panthera’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Alan Rabinowitz.

Panthera will work with the Senate, academia, and non-governmental organisations in Mexico to raise awareness of the importance of conserving jaguars in the country and assist in the implementation of science-based conservation actions.

The jaguar is an historic icon in Mexico, but their range throughout the country has been reduced in recent years by over 50% leaving them in danger of extinction through habitat destruction, which has led to a decline in their prey. They have also been victims of poaching.

The Mexican government will formulate an official recovery plan for jaguars and Panthera will develop a plan to work alongside existing jaguar conservation activities in the country, and to implement similar measures as those that are currently employed in 13 other Latin American countries which are part of Panthera’s Jaguar Corridor Initiative (JCI).

At the signing, Senator Cuevas said: “The jaguar is a symbol of the culture and history of Mexico. It is the most representative American feline and is emblematic of biodiversity and conservation of species.

“Rarely are such diverse causes intertwined with so many issues, ranging from foreign affairs and protection of the environment, to climate change, education and agriculture.”

Alan Rabinowitz said: “We are thrilled to join forces with the Senate and to contribute to the protection and conservation of the jaguar and the corridors between their populations in Mexico.

“Mexico is the northern border for the distribution of jaguars and maintaining connectivity between populations of jaguars is vital for the survival of the jaguar and the biodiversity that lives within these areas.

“We hope to collaborate with Mexican biologists, legislators, academics, government agencies, and non-governmental organisations dedicated to conservation, and to complement and enhance their efforts to promote the protection of this majestic feline.”

Jaguars currently inhabit 18 countries in Latin America, from Mexico through Central and South America to Argentina, and occasionally in the United States.

Panthera’s Jaguar Corridor Initiative (JCI) comprises nearly six million square kilometers through a mosaic of environments within these countries.

The JCI seeks to connect and protect jaguar populations, especially those that live and move through landscapes dominated by humans, helping to maintain genetic diversity and thus increase the long-term survival of this species.

Panthera researchers are exploring possibilities to establish a long-term study in the states of Guerrero, Michoacan and Colima, in order to have a more precise understanding of the distribution of jaguars and their prey. Mexico’s signing represents Panthera’s eighth jaguar conservation agreement with Latin American countries.

Dinosaurs, humans, sun and earth, medieval religious dogmas in Spain


This video says about itself:

Dinosaurs, and Creationism Debunked

1 March 2015

To believe that non-avian dinosaurs exist today or have ever existed with mankind is to show the highest level of ignorance in history, archaeology, and paleontology. This is my debunking of a creationist video that says dinosaurs once existed with man and that there is evidence for this in history.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

One in three Spaniards thinks humans lived at the same time as dinosaurs

Today in worrying news, 30 per cent of people in Spain think humans lived at the same time as dinosaurs.

A government-backed study also showed 25 per cent of respondents think the Sun orbits the Earth.

One positive to take from the Social Perception of Science study, from Spain’s Foundation for Science and Technology, is that at least scientific knowledge is improving in the country – in 2006 the proportion of people believing the previous two incorrect assertions was 50 per cent for dinosaurs and 40 per cent for the Sun.

Overall, nine years ago people answered 58 per cent of questions correctly, while now the ratio is 70 per cent.

This video says about itself:

Testing Geocentrism

15 November 2012

… a series on geocentrism, these videos take a wry look at the subject and how it stacks up against basic observations. This part [1] looks at whether the geocentrist explanation of the seasons holds any merit, why Polaris doesn’t move and how basic observations of the inner and outer planets hold up to the ideas of the geocentrist. A simple introduction is given to relevant concepts, providing topic pointers for the viewer who wants to find out more for themselves.

Subtitles: English
Guidance: Contains some mild language within a comedy context.

* I noticed after completing this video that the introduction should have said “Over two thousand years after Aristarchus” not “Nearly one thousand”.

Hundreds of dinosaur footprints discovered in Canada


This video says about itself:

Dinosaur Discovery GalleryTumbler Ridge, British Columbia

21 April 2015

The gallery contains displays primarily focused on interpreting regional vertebrate palaeontology including material from B.C.’s two dinosaur excavations. There are also displays on dinosaur and other vertebrate tracks and traces which make up the vast majority of the terrestrial vertebrate record of western Canada. One of British Columbia’s best-kept secrets is the massive fossil record of Triassic marine fish and reptiles from this region. Our volunteers and scientists have collaborated to bring together an impressive and rapidly growing collection of specimens for ongoing scientific research and public interpretation here in the gallery.

Our recently expanded Dinosaur Discovery Gallery contains several new and enhanced palaeontology exhibits including a full-scale re-creation of a 100 million-year-old dinosaur track environment. An interactive theatre provides several presentation options for visitors to view and learn about the pre-history of the Peace Region of British Columbia.

From the Canadian Press:

B.C. dinosaur path tracks heyday of prehistoric beasts

Discovered dinosaur path 115 million years old

Sunday, April 26, 2015 1:00 am

Dirk Meissner

VICTORIA – A type of dinosaur Autobahn, with a riot of ancient footprints that are likely more than 100 million years old, has been discovered in northeastern British Columbia.

Hundreds of prints from extinct carnivores and herbivores are pressed into the flat, rocky surface spanning an area the size of three Canadian football fields, indicating the site was a major dinosaur thoroughfare.

Many of the three-toed prints at the site — located near Williston Lake about 1,500 kilometres northeast of Vancouver — closely resemble the Toronto Raptors logo.

“From what I saw there is at least a score or more of trackways, so 20-plus trackways of different animals,” said paleontologist Rich McCrea.

“We’re looking at a few hundred foot prints that were exposed when I visited the site. If it keeps up that density and we are able to peel back a bit of the surface and expand it by another 1,000 square metres we’re likely to find there are thousands of foot prints.”

McCrea is the curator of the Peace Region Paleontology Research Centre in Tumbler Ridge, B.C. He believes the dinosaur path has major potential as a world-class scientific and tourism site, but said he’s concerned the B.C. government’s approach to protecting and promoting dinosaur zones is somewhat prehistoric.

“It would be one of the top sites, unquestionably,” said McCrea, who’s part of a local crowdfunding campaign to raise $190,000 to research and promote the dinosaur track site. “It already looks like it’s going to be one of the biggest sites in Canada. That also means one of the biggest sites in the world.”

He said his visits to the secret site indicate the area was a major travel zone for the Allosaurus, a Jurassic Park look-alike, 8.5-metre-long, two-legged predator with a huge head and rows of teeth.

McCrea said the area is also ripe with tracks made by the Anklosaurus [sic; Ankylosaurus], a four-legged, nine-metre-long herbivore, that weighed almost 6,000 kilograms and was known for its distinctive armour-plated head and long, club-like tail.

He estimated those tracks are between 115 million and 117 million years old.

“This was still in the dinosaurs’ heyday,” said McCrea. “It’s kind of like the middle age of dinosaurs.”

He said he wants the area protected by the B.C. government, and he’s part of a pitch to create a Peace Country dinosaur tourist zone that rivals Alberta’s Royal Tyrrell Museum at Drumheller. McCrea envisions dinosaur tours to Tumbler Ridge, Williston Lake and the Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum in nearby Wembley, Alta.

Last fall, Tumbler Ridge was designated as a UNESCO global geopark that recognizes geological heritage. The community converted a school into a dinosaur museum and repository for the dinosaurs fossils discovered in the area.

McCrea said he wants to see a tourist building overlooking the dinosaur trackway area at Williston Lake. A similar concept at China’s Zigong Dinosaur Museum attracts seven million people a year, he said.

Tumbler Ridge Liberal MLA Mike Bernier said he’s been trying to convince cabinet ministers that the area is an important asset and needs heritage and fossil protection policies.

“People go crazy when they see dinosaur bones and fossils. There’s something about it: the old Jurassic Park movie coming to life in your riding,” he said.

Bernier said he’s reviewing heritage protection laws from across North America and plans to submit a proposal to government this year.

B.C. Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson, whose ministry covers fossil protection, said he’s seen the Tumbler Ridge dinosaur site and has met with Bernier on strengthening the province’s fossil management.

Five years ago the government protected the world-renowned McAbee fossil beds near Cache Creek in B.C.’s Interior from professional fossil hunters and others who were mining the area for cat litter.

“We are looking at what legislative adjustments might be needed to be put in place,” said Thomson.

McCrea said Alberta and others have protected and profit from their fossil heritage, while B.C. remains behind the times.

“We’re missing out on all the opportunities, not just tourism and education, but also, how about just pride that the province itself is the custodian of all its natural resources,” he said.

Canada goose inspires music


Geese and musicians

This photo shows, from left to right: a Canada goose, with a ring around its neck for identification in research; a domestic goose; composer Henk Odinga; and saxophone player Femke IJlstra.

Translated from Vroege Vogels radio (where there is an audio file of this as well) in the Netherlands:

April 26, 2015

Already several times the Frisian musician and composer Henk Doeke Odinga made tracks for Vroege Vogels, inspired by birdsong. After the wren, the willow warbler and the lapwing, he chose a striking ‘singer': the Canada goose. Saxophonist Femke IJlstra played the ‘imitations’ of the goose, Odinga himself plays piano in the composition.

Mosasaur fossil discovery by teenage boy


THis Dutch video was recorded in the natural history museum in Maastricht, the Netherlands. There, teenager Lars Barten tells about his discovery of a fossil mosasaur.

On Saturday 18 April, 14-year-old Lars Barten (14) from Rijkevoort village in Noord-Brabant province in the Netherlands, together with his father Jos, discovered a mosasaur fossil near Maastricht city in Limburg province.

That mosasaur is about 66 million years old. It was called Lars, as Lars Barten discovered it.

The discovery includes tail, flipper, backbone and finger bones.

At the natural history museum in Maastricht, there will be more research on the fossils.