Australian night parrot killed by feral cat


This video from Australia says about itself:

3 July 2013

Thought to be extinct: Queensland bird enthusiast presents first photos of the elusive night parrot.

From the Birds Alive Newsletter, March 2015:

Feral cats versus Night Parrots

The latest twist in the rather secret story of the Night Parrot (Pezoporus occidentalis) is that a cat-killed individual has been found in an area of arid spinifex country SW of Winton, in W Queensland, close to where John Young photographed the species for the first time in May 2013.

Apparently, according to Queensland government sources, professional marksmen have been employed by a private conservation company to patrol the area at night with spotlights, shooting feral cats (Felis catus) on sight. The programme is funded by mining company Fortescue Metals, whose involvement dates back to the reported discovery of Night Parrots in a mineral exploration area in Western Australia in 2005. However, government agencies have been kept in the dark concerning the whereabouts of Night Parrots in Queensland, and the sites where the species occur are on a privately leased grazing property.

Feral cats have long been implicated in the decline of this once widespread species: in 1892, it was reported that ‘numerous’ parrots were killed by cats near Alice Springs. Some observers have noted increases in feral cat populations in recent years in parts of inland Australia. The region around Winton where the parrots occur has been drought-afflicted for several years.

Badger on a swing, drives away fox


This is a video made during a night in the Netherlands, about a badger using a branch as a swing. A red fox watches it, but the badger drives it away.

H. Kooijman made this video on 1 March 2015.

Human ancestor discovery in Ethiopia


This video says about itself:

Becoming Human Documentary

16 December 2013

Humans (variously Homo sapiens and Homo sapiens sapiens) are primates of the family Hominidae, and the only extant species of the genus Homo. Humans are distinguished from other primates by their bipedal locomotion, and especially by their relatively larger brain with its particularly well developed neocortex, prefrontal cortex and temporal lobes, which enable high levels of abstract reasoning, language, problem solving, and culture through social learning. Humans use tools to a much higher degree than any other animal, and are the only extant species known to build fires and cook their food, as well as the only known species to clothe themselves and create and use numerous other technologies and arts. The scientific study of humans is the discipline of anthropology.

Humans are uniquely adept at utilizing systems of symbolic communication such as language and art for self-expression, the exchange of ideas, and organization. Humans create complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups, from families and kinship networks to states. Social interactions between humans have established an extremely wide variety of values, social norms, and rituals, which together form the basis of human society. The human desire to understand and influence their environment, and explain and manipulate phenomena, has been the foundation for the development of science, philosophy, mythology, and religion.

The human lineage diverged from the last common ancestor with its closest living relative, the chimpanzee, some five million years ago, evolving into the australopithecines and eventually the genus Homo. The first Homo species to move out of Africa was Homo erectus, the African variety of which, together with Homo heidelbergensis, is considered to be the immediate ancestor of modern humans. Homo sapiens originated in Africa, where it reached anatomical modernity about 200,000 years ago and began to exhibit full behavioral modernity around 50,000 years ago.

From Science:

Published Online March 4 2015

Early Homo at 2.8 Ma from Ledi-Geraru, Afar, Ethiopia

Abstract

Our understanding of the origin of the genus Homo has been hampered by a limited fossil record in eastern Africa between 2.0 and 3.0 million years ago (Ma). Here we report the discovery of a partial hominin mandible with teeth from the Ledi-Geraru research area, Afar Regional State, Ethiopia, that establishes the presence of Homo at 2.80-2.75 Ma. This specimen combines primitive traits seen in early Australopithecus with derived morphology observed in later Homo, confirming that dentognathic departures from the australopith pattern occurred early in the Homo lineage. The Ledi-Geraru discovery has implications for hypotheses about the timing and place of the origin of the genus Homo.

New monkey species discovery in Brazilian Amazon


This video is called Callicebus modestus — An intimate portrait of an endemic Bolivian primate.

Recently, a relative of Callicebus modestus was discovered.

From BirdLife:

New monkey species discovered in the Amazon Rainforest

By Martin Fowlie, Wed, 04/03/2015 – 10:12

Flaming orange tail and ochre sideburns set new Brazilian monkey apart from its closest relatives.

Scientists have discovered a new species of titi monkey in Brazil, according to a recent paper published in scientific journal Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia.

Titis (genus: Callicebus) are new world monkeys found across South America. These tree-dwelling primates have long, soft fur and live in small family groups consisting of a monogamous pair and their offspring. Rather touchingly, they are often observed sitting or sleeping with their tails entwined.

In 2011, researcher Julio César Dalponte spotted an unusual looking titi monkey on the east bank of the Roosevelt River, whose colouration did not match any known species. Intrigued, a team of scientists supported by the Conservation Leadership Programme headed back into the field to collect the information needed to formally describe what they believed to be a new species.

Over the course of a number of expeditions, the team recorded several groups of these unusual monkeys, whose ochre sideburns, bright orange tail and light grey forehead stripe set them apart from other known species in the genus.

Based on these morphological differences, scientists were able to formally describe the monkey as a new species, which they have named Callicebus miltoni (or Milton’s titi monkey) in honour of Dr Milton Thiago de Mello, a noted Brazilian primatologist who is credited with training many of the country’s top primate experts.

“More than luck”

C. miltoni is found in a small area of lowland rainforest south of the Amazon River in Brazil, and spends most of its time in the upper reaches of the forest, where it feeds on fruits.

Like its close relatives, C. miltoni lives in small groups consisting of a mated pair and their offspring. These groups are territorial and use warning calls to keep others at bay – they are particularly vociferous early in the morning and during the rainy season.

This species is not able to swim or cross mountainous terrain, which means that it is restricted to a small area, effectively hemmed in by a number of rivers and hills. This small range could put the species at risk from human activities, particularly because only around a quarter of this area is protected.

Deforestation rates are high in this region, with forest fires also posing a significant threat. Added to this, the Brazilian Government’s ongoing development programme includes several new hydroelectricity dams and an extension of the road system planned within the Amazon.

“It goes without saying that we are really excited about this new discovery”, said researcher Felipe Ennes Silva, who collected the data for the new species description. “It is always thrilling to find something new in the Amazon, as it reminds us just how special this rainforest is and how lucky we are to have it on our doorstep.

“But it will take more than luck if we are to keep making scientific finds like this. The rainforest is under threat like never before, and it will take dedicated, hard work – not just by conservationists but by the government and every other sector of society too – to make sure that this forest ecosystem can continue to support a wide diversity of life and help regulate our planet’s climate.”

The Conservation Leadership Programme (CLP) is a partnership between BirdLife InternationalFauna & Flora International and the Wildlife Conservation Society that promotes the professional development of conservation leaders. Through training and mentoring, funding, and the provision of networking opportunities, the CLP ensures that these emerging leaders have the skills and knowledge required to address today’s most pressing conservation issues.

Cauliflower mushrooms, not anti-dog poison


This video says about itself:

We find a Cauliflower mushroom ! (Sparassis crispa)

18 September 2014

My son was raised in the forests helping wild-craft edible mushrooms. Every year we find at least one Cauliflower – the first ending up in a bread casserole with chanterelles.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands (they put the wrong photo with their new item; not of a cauliflower fungus, but of a coral fungus):

Baked sponges in Huizen turn out to be cauliflower mushrooms

Today, 11:33

The suspect sponges that were recently found among bushes in Huizen turn out to be actually fungi. That is the conclusion of investigations by the police and the Forestry Commission.

The finder guessed that they were baked sponges and that they were intended to kill dogs.

According to the Forestry Commission in Huizen, these are innocent fungi which normally grow deep in the forest. They are harmless to dogs because the animals do not like eating the fungi. …

The past few days came from different towns alerts about baked sponges supposedly deposited by people who hate dogs.

The sponges are baked in fat and smell good for dogs and cats. But once inside the stomachs of the animals they will expand and they can be lethal.

Except in Huizen sponges were also found in Almere, Hengelo, The Hague, Leiden and Saendelft. It is still unclear whether the sponges in these other places will also prove to be cauliflower mushrooms.

Saving otters from cars


Crossing otters sign

This traffic sign, in nature reserve De Weerribben in the Netherlands, warns motorists: ‘Otter crossing‘.

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands:

Otters will get safer crossings

Today, 20:17

The government will improve the protection of otters soon. These rare animals are often killed. The government promises to address immediately the seven crossings where this happens most often, along with the provincial authorities of Friesland and Overijssel. At fourteen other places the animals should be able to cross a lot safer in mid-2017.

Mice in the Netherlands, new research


This video is about yellow-necked mice.

Translated from the Dutch Mammal Society:

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

For years the yellow-necked mouse in the Netherlands was only known from the extreme southeast of Limburg province. Since 2005 from the German border they are expanding to the west. Meanwhile, the species is known from all our provinces bordering on Germany. The question now is: are yellow-necked mice taking over, or may they occur in the same habitats together with common wood mice?

In Northwest Europe two species of wood mice live, common wood mice and yellow-necked mice. The yellow-necked mouse is clearly larger, but in terms of food spectrum it is virtually identical to the ordinary wood mouse.

So far, research has not yet established clearly whether yellow-necked mice supplant wood mice.