Big aquarium, terrarium exhibition in Dutch botanical garden


This 24 August 2015 video is about preparations for the AquaHortus exhibition, in the botanical garden in Leiden, the Netherlands.

From 5-27 September 2015, there will be that big aquarium and terrarium exhibition, called AquaHortus.

The displays will be in several botanical garden hothouses and other buildings and in the open air.

The plans say there will be 68 terrariums. And 95 big aquariums. And about 200 small aquariums, mainly for killifish and shrimps.

Among the fish will be tropical sea fish, tropical fresh water fish, North Sea fish and fish of the species in the canals of Leiden city.

In the terrariums will be snakes, chameleons and other lizards, turtles and tortoises, salamanders, poison dart frogs and scorpions.

There have been earlier AquaHortus exhibitions here.

In the 1950s, this was one of the first places anywhere were one could see luminescent neon tetras in an aquarium.

This is a neon tetra video.

Loggerhead turtle beached in the Netherlands


This video says about itself:

Loggerhead Sea Turtle Hatchling Rescue

23 July 2014

Words cannot describe…

I came across some baby sea turtle tracks one morning at the refuge and noticed many of the tracks went up into the dune instead of directly to the water. A quick search revealed several hatchlings floundering in the dune vegetation.

As the acting refuge biologist, I am permitted to handle these protected turtles for purpose of rescue. This was an amazing opportunity for me to examine these amazing creatures up close and personal, a rare and priceless occurrence.

These animals are protected, please do not approach them in the wild.

Music by Dan-O at DanoSongs.com

Translated from the Dutch RAVON herpetologists:

Thursday, August 27th, 2015

Recently a loggerhead turtle washed ashore at the Hondsbossche seawall near Camperduin. This year already two loggerheads washed up on our beaches. Up to now, this is the tenth individual ever found in the Netherlands. …

On July 27 Ber van Perlo while watching birds found a dead turtle on the beach at the Hondsbossche seawall near Camperduin and De Putten. It was a not yet adult loggerhead (Caretta caretta) with an estimated carapace length of 55 to 60 centimeters. Adult specimens have a carapace length of 83 to 124 centimeters. …

That a loggerhead turtle washed ashore in the Netherlands is very special! The first documentation of a loggerhead in the Netherlands was in 1707. This is the 10th individual:

1707 Wijkmeer, Beverwijk (IJmuiden)
1894 Ouddorp, Goeree-Overflakkee
1927 Scheveningen
1954 Noordwijk
1959 Noordwijk
1998 Flushing
2007 Vlieland
2008 Groote Keeten
2015 Katwijk
2015 Hondsbossche Zeewering, Petten

Pterosaur fossil with poop discovery


The full Rhamphorhynchus specimen (Hone et al., PeerJ DOI: 10.7717/peerj.1191/fig-1 (CC-BY 4.0))

From Smithsonian.com in the USA:

Fossilized Poop is Rare, Fossilized Poop Inside a Fossilized Dinosaur is Even Rarer

This title is a bit misleading; as the article is about a pterosaur, a flying reptile which is not a dinosaur.

Fossilized feces are always interesting, and researchers may have just found an extra special example

By Marissa Fessenden

24 August 2015

Paleontologists get really excited when they find poop — or at least, fossilized feces, called coprolites. They are not alone in the research world in this regard. Finding coprolites still within the animal that created it is rare indeed, but that may be exactly what a newly discovered specimen of Rhamphorhynchus, a winged reptile, contains.

Soft things like tissue and stomach contents don’t preserve in the fossil record well, explains Shaena Montanari for Forbes. As a result, it is “often difficult for paleontologists to fully understand the diet and ecology of extinct creatures. While there are ways of analyzing tooth shape and also chemical signatures in fossils to determine diet, an easier way to see direct feeding behavior is fossilized gut contents,” she writes.

The pterosaur specimen dates back to the Late Jurassic, about 161 to 146 million years ago. Paleontologists originally found this Rhamphorhynchus  the Schernfeld quarry from Bavaria, Southern Germany in 1965. Now, the fossil is held by the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palenotology in Alberta, Canada. There, a research team recently got the chance to analyze the fossil in depth. 

The team notes in their paper, published in PeerJ, that the specimen is in good condition — some soft tissues such as wing membranes and the skin that stretch from the hindlimbs to the tail are visible. In addition, lying amongst the specimen’s guts are the bones of what may be fish. There’s also a mass of something below the creature’s sacrum, a triangular bone at the base of the spine, close to where the cloaca would be.

The possible coprolite has structures in it that look like hooks. These structures, the team hypothesizes, may be the remains of spines from some kind of marine invertebrate (perhaps a sponge or relative of a starfish). If the suspiciously-located mass really is a coprolite then it will be the first found for any kind of pterosaur.

Mignon Talbot and the forgotten women of paleontology


petrel41:

On female paleontologist Mary Anning, see here.

Originally posted on Letters from Gondwana.:

Sin título Mignon Talbot  (From Turner et al, 2010)

The nineteenth century was the “golden age” of Geology, and women began to play an important role in the advance of this field of science. They collected fossils and mineral specimens, and were allowed to attend scientific lectures, but they were barred from membership in scientific societies. It was common for male scientists to have women assistants, often their own wives and daughters. A good example of that was Mary Lyell (1808–1873), daughter of the geologist Leonard Horner and the wife of eminent geologist Charles Lyell. But for most of men, the participation of women in geology and paleontology was perceived as a hobby.

Mary Anning (1799-1847), was a special case. She was the most famous woman paleontologist of her time, and found the first specimens of what would later be recognized as Ichthyosaurus, the first complete Plesiosaurus, the first pterosaur skeleton outside Germany…

View original 659 more words

Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia wildlife, new study


This 3 August 2015 video is about a recent study of Mount Kinabalu, Malaysia wildlife.

About this, from Naturalis Biodiversity Center, in Leiden, the Netherlands:

Evolution peaks on tropical mountain

Posted on 12-08-2015 by Rebecca Reurslag

Tropical mountains have an exceptionally high number of animal and plant species. What caused this high diversity?

Mount Kinabalu is such a mountain. The 4,095 meter high mountain is on the world Heritage list of UNESCO and is home to hundreds of unique species. These species, otherwise known as endemic species, do not occur anywhere else in the world. The question how these species evolved triggered an expedition to the mountain in 2012. Are the species on top of the mountain relicts of animals and plants that used to live in the lowlands and valleys? Or are they young, recent evolutionary offshoots from lowland species adapting to the colder climate at the top? The results of the research are published in the high impact journal Nature.

The researchers collected a great variety of organisms: from snails, fungi and carnivorous plants to jumping spiders, stalk-eyed flies and reptiles, both from the summit and the foot of the mountain. All species were taken back home to Leiden to be analyzed in the DNA lab to unravel their evolution.

The researchers showed that most of the species that occur on the mountain are younger than the mountain itself. They also demonstrated that the endemic biodiversity consists of two groups. Some of the unique species drifted in from other areas such as the Himalayas or China, which were already adapted to a cool environment. The other endemic species evolved from local species that occurred at the foot of the mountain and gradually crept up the mountain where they adapted to the cooler conditions.

This is important for the protection of the endemic species on this and other mountains.. The unique species that evolved on the summit are often related to species that were already adapted to a cooler climate. Therefore it is likely that they are not very well able to adapt to climate change.

At the conclusion of a large scale expedition on the island of Borneo, researchers of the Malaysian nature conservation organization Sabah Parks and Naturalis Biodiversity Center in The Netherlands collected some 3500 DNA samples of more than 1400 species. Among these are approximately 160 species new to science: here.

Dinosaur discoveries in Spain


Artist's rendering of small dromaeosaur from the South Pyrenees. Credit: Sydney Mohr (artist), University of Alberta

From the University of Alberta in Canada:

Big dinosaur discoveries in tiny toothy packages

August 7, 2015

Researchers have examined one of the smallest parts of the fossil record—theropod teeth—to shed light on the evolution of dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous. Findings published in the prestigious journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica have effectively quadrupled the dinosaur diversity in the area of study, eight localities from Treviño County, Huesca and Lerida—including the exceptional site of Laño. There were previously only two known species in the area.

The study of 142 isolated teeth from the Campanian-Maastrichtian of the South Pyrenean Basin suggests six additional species of toothed theropods (five small, one large) were present in the region. “Studying these small parts helps us reconstruct the ancient world where lived and to understand how their extinction happened,” says lead author Angelica Torices, post-doctoral fellow in biological sciences at the University of Alberta. “Teeth are especially important in the study of Upper Cretaceous creatures in Spain and the rest of Europe because we don’t have complete skeletons of theropods from that time in those locations. We have to rely on these small elements to reconstruct the evolution of these dinosaurs, particularly the theropods.”

Carnivorous dinosaurs replaced their teeth continuously, with just one dinosaur producing a huge number of these dental pieces and an endless number of clues for understanding these mysterious creatures. This study demonstrates the value of isolated teeth in reconstructing the composition of dinosaur paleofaunas when other, more complete material is not present, allowing interpretation of the evolution of diversity through time.

The findings provide huge strides in understanding not only the diversity of carnivorous dinosaurs at the end of the Cretaceous in Europe, but also how the diversity of large animals responds to climatic changes. “It completely changes the vision of the ecosystem,” says Torices. “Moreover, we now understand that these dinosaurs disappeared very quickly in geological time, probably in a catastrophic event. Climatic models show that we may reach Cretaceous temperatures within the next century, and the only way we can study biodiversity under such conditions is through the fossil record.”

More information: “Theropod dinosaurs from the Upper Cretaceous of the South Pyrenees Basin on Spain” appeared in Acta Palaeontologica Polonica in August, 2015.

Slow worm discovery on Ameland island


This video says about itself:

20 April 2014

A baby female Adder Vipera berus berus is shown curling up alongside an adult male Slow-worm Anguis fragilis. The tiny snake would have been born during the previous year and it is just as venomous as an adult.

Translated from the press agency of Ameland island in the Netherlands:

Slow worm seen on Ameland

July 25, 2015

HOLLUM – This Saturday, Annelies Lap from Hollum village saw on the horse trail near the Duck Pond a slow worm. She immediately photographed it.

It is a remarkable observation, because slow worms do not live on the Wadden Sea islands. In 2014 one was reported in a garden on Texel island. Ecomare museum on Texel suspects the animal lifted to the island, eg it made the sea crossing with compost or straw. Probably also the Ameland individual arrived like this as a stowaway on the island.