Extinct human Homo naledi’s hands and feet, new study

This video says about itself:

10 September 2015

Paleoanthropologist and explorer Lee Berger has made an important new discovery in the human family tree: a new species called Homo naledi. In this interview with journalist Bill Blakemore, Berger gives the details of the find, how it came about, the difficulty in recovering the fossils, and why it’s such an important find.

From Nature Communications:

The foot of Homo naledi

6 October 2015


Modern humans are characterized by a highly specialized foot that reflects our obligate bipedalism. Our understanding of hominin foot evolution is, although, hindered by a paucity of well-associated remains.

Here we describe the foot of Homo naledi from Dinaledi Chamber, South Africa, using 107 pedal elements, including one nearly-complete adult foot. The H. naledi foot is predominantly modern human-like in morphology and inferred function, with an adducted hallux, an elongated tarsus, and derived ankle and calcaneocuboid joints. In combination, these features indicate a foot well adapted for striding bipedalism.

However, the H. naledi foot differs from modern humans in having more curved proximal pedal phalanges, and features suggestive of a reduced medial longitudinal arch. Within the context of primitive features found elsewhere in the skeleton, these findings suggest a unique locomotor repertoire for H. naledi, thus providing further evidence of locomotor diversity within both the hominin clade and the genus Homo.

Also from Nature Communications:

The hand of Homo naledi

6 October 2015


A nearly complete right hand of an adult hominin was recovered from the Rising Star cave system, South Africa. Based on associated hominin material, the bones of this hand are attributed to Homo naledi.

This hand reveals a long, robust thumb and derived wrist morphology that is shared with Neandertals and modern humans, and considered adaptive for intensified manual manipulation.

However, the finger bones are longer and more curved than in most australopiths, indicating frequent use of the hand during life for strong grasping during locomotor climbing and suspension. These markedly curved digits in combination with an otherwise human-like wrist and palm indicate a significant degree of climbing, despite the derived nature of many aspects of the hand and other regions of the postcranial skeleton in H. naledi.

Injured bats recovered and freed

This video says about itself:

1 December 2012

The Natterer’s bat in the BBC’s Life of Mammals series. In this clip, Natterer’s bats remove spiders from their webs to eat.

From the Hertfordshire & Middlesex Bat Group in England, on Twitter, 4 October 2015:

Great evening in the flight cage, all 6 flew well enough for release. Lady (Natterer’s) went straight off home.

Badgers, other animals in the Netherlands, video

From 1 April to 1 October 2015, there was a live webcam at a badger sett in Drenthe province in the Netherlands.

This video shows highlights of this. Not only badgers, also other animals, like red fox, rabbit, polecat, etc.

Woolly mammoth discovery in Michigan, USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

Woolly mammoth skeleton unearthed by Michigan farmers

3 October 2015

Two farmers in Michigan made an astonishing discovery when they unearthed the remains of a woolly mammoth while digging in a soybean field.

Experts say it is one of the most complete sets ever found in the state.

University of Michigan researchers say there is evidence the mammoth lived 11,700-15,000 years ago.

Thirsty Indian leopard gets head stuck in pot

This video says about itself:

30 September 2015

A thirsty leopard found itself in a tight spot after he went foraging for water in an Indian mining dump.

The wild animal was found with its head stuck in a metal pot in the Indian village of Sardul Kheda in Rajasthan in the country’s north-west.

The agitated leopard wandered around as it struggled to get rid of the vessel, with onlookers recording and photographing the scene.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Forest officials eventually tranquilised the animal and sawed the pot off.

It was then taken to an enclosure a safe distance from the village.

District forest officer Kapil Chandrawal said: “It has been brought to a safe place.

“We have also called veterinarians to assess its health, which is in good condition. We have also tranquilised the animal.”

Mr Chandrawal said the leopard was around three and a half years old.

Disruption to wild habitats have led to increasing numbers of wild animals straying into inhabited areas in search of food.

According to the BBC, a recent wildlife estimate puts the leopard population of India at between 12,000 and 14,000.

Mammals and songbird swimming, video

Many animals are better swimmers than people believe.

In this video from the Netherlands we see, eg, a hare, a stoat, a red fox and a roe deer in the water.

And a jay, who had much more trouble.

Coots, swan and horses, video

This video shows a mute swan, bringing water plants to the surface.

Coots feed on them.

Konik horses in the background.

Marijke de Boer made this video in Lauwersmeer national park in the Netherlands.