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Posts Tagged "extinction"

Anthropology in Practice

Editor’s Selections: Crucifixion, Megafauna Extinction, and Coffins

Ed Note: Part of my online life includes editorial duties at ResearchBlogging.org, where I serve as the Social Sciences Editor. Each Thursday, I pick notable posts on research in anthropology, philosophy, social science, and research to share on the ResearchBlogging.org News site. To help highlight this writing, I also share my selections here on AiP. [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Pirates, Charles Darwin, and One Very Un-Extinct Dodo

dodos_Roelandt_Savery_wiki_pd_200

Any animated film starring pirates, Charles Darwin, and a dodo is going to be worthy of mention here, but Aardman Animations — of Wallace & Gromit and Chicken Run fame — has outdone itself with “The Pirates!: Band of Misfits”. I missed its theatrical run. But I happened to catch it recently and I think [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Extinction by Design: Guinea Worm

Wiki_Dracunculus_medinensis_200

Blogger’s note: I am away for the next several weeks. In the meantime, I’m bringing you some classic Artful Amoeba posts. This one was originally posted on January 18, 2010. Unlike rinderpest, the subject of the last post, Guinea worm still awaits eradication. A major factor holding this up: the Civil War in Sudan. Though [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

Extinction by Design: Rinderpest

Wiki_Rinderpest_200

Blogger’s note: I am going to be out of blog contact for the next several weeks as I get hitched (yay!), honeymoon (double yay!), and move (goodbye Colorado! Very sad to leave). In the meantime, I will be bringing you some classic Artful Amoeba. This post originally appeared on January 13, 2010. Since I wrote [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

The Fungal Apocalypse, Permo-Triassic Edition

reduviasporonites_looy_200

There is something curious about the sedimentary rocks laid down around the world 250 million years ago, at the height of Earth’s greatest extinction: they are often riddled with filaments, and no one is sure what they are. Nothing like them has been found in rocks before or since. What seems apparent, and what everyone [...]

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Culturing Science

The Narcissism of De-Extinction

passenger-pigeon-small2

The TedxDeExtinction conference, discussing how and whether to resurrect extinct species from DNA, took place on the Ides of March 2013 at the National Geographic headquarters in Washington, DC. Watch archived versions of the talks. If people had the ability to resurrect extinct species (dubbed “de-extinction”) and reintroduce them to the wild, should we direct [...]

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Culturing Science

Lazy Sunday Video: An epic tour of life’s history

This is one of my favorite videos that I’ve seen on the whole of the internet. (Gasp!) Piecing together clips from dozens of science documentaries and specials overlaid with stunning music, the youtube user UppruniTegundanna starts out tracing the history of humans, integrating technological and artistic development. Then it takes a turn to beautifully visualize the [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Microjewels: Stunningly Beautiful Snails Going Extinct as Soon as They Are Discovered

microjewel

You need to have pretty good eyesight to see the tiny snails from the genus Plectostoma. These almost impossibly small gastropods from Malaysia and Thailand only reach a millimeter or two in width, but they make up for their lack of size with their stunning beauty. The 31 Plectostoma species described in a new paper [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Tiny Ohio Catfish Species, Last Seen in 1957, Declared Extinct

scioto madtom

Here’s the thing about extinctions: They are very rarely witnessed. The last members of a species in the wild tend to go quietly into the night with no one to witness their deaths. All too often, humans don’t even notice that a species has disappeared until years—if not decades—after the fact. Even then, conservationists tend [...]

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Extinction Countdown

How the Western Black Rhino Went Extinct

western black rhino

Oh what a difference a century makes. At the beginning of the 20th century, an estimated one million black rhinoceroses from four different subspecies roamed the savannas of Africa. By 2001 that number had dropped to about 2,300 black rhinos and just three subspecies. This is the tale of how we lost one of those [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Halloween Scares: A Graveyard for Extinct Species

extinction graveyard

The veil between this world and the next feels much thinner at this time of year, with Halloween focusing attention on death: the friends, leaders, and loved ones we have lost and, perhaps, the species humans have driven into extinction. While we mourn and celebrate the dead, perhaps we can learn something from these former [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Endangered Species Success Stories: How Many More Are We Likely to See?

bald eagle

Look back on the last year of Extinction Countdown and you won’t find that many endangered species success stories. Oh, sure, they’re there, but you have to look for them. For every Kihansi spray toad that is saved from extinction you have a dozen species like the Mangarahara cichlid, which is down to its last [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Giant Tortoises and Baobab Trees: Imperfect Apart

Aldabra giant tortoise sq

Remove a species from an ecosystem and other species tend to suffer. Take the giant Madagascar tortoise, for example. The two species of giant tortoises on Madagascar went extinct centuries ago, but their loss is still being felt today. According to new research, the extinction of these tortoises robbed one of the island’s iconic baobab [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Weird Frog Discovered by Charles Darwin May Be Extinct

southern darwin's frog

It looks like we’ve lost another one. The weird and unusual Chile Darwin’s frog (Rhinoderma rufum), whose tadpoles grew inside the vocal sacs of adult males, appears to be extinct: a four-year quest failed to turn up any evidence that the species still exists. The frogs were last seen in 1980. As you might guess [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Desperately Seeking Cichlid: Fish Species Down to Last 3 Males, No Known Females

Mangarahara cichlid

The last three males of an all-but-extinct fish species would really, really, really like to meet a female. Once upon a time the Mangarahara cichlid (Ptychochromis insolitus) lived in a single habitat: a river in Madagascar from which the species gets its name. That river has now been dammed and the habitat has dried up. [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Google Earth Inspires Rediscovery of Lost Butterfly Species

Erikssonia edgei (Female)

A South African butterfly species that lepidopterists feared had gone extinct more than a decade ago has been rediscovered after a search on Google Earth revealed a habitat much like the insect’s former home. That tip refocused a stalled search for the lost species that had not been seen since the mid-1990s. The Waterberg copper [...]

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Extinction Countdown

4 Extinct Species That People Still Hope to Rediscover

thylacines

There’s nothing like the scientific thrill of discovering something for the very first time—or, in rare cases, rediscovering something that most people had presumed forever lost. Take the Cuban solenodon (Solenodon cubanus), for example. Unseen after 1890 and long presumed extinct, it unexpectedly showed up again in 1974. Sightings after that were few and far [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The Unstoppable Extinction And Fermi’s Paradox

Really, this is what I evolved into? (Images used: Stephen Ausmus, USDA ARS, Matt Martyniuk)

There has been a lot of discussion recently about the evidence that we are currently within a period of mass extinction, the kind of event that will show up in the fossil record a few million years from now as a clear discontinuity, a radical change in the diversity of life on the planet. This [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

How to Erase Bad Memories

Courtesy of R. Douglas Fields.

I’ll never forget it. They strapped electrodes to my wrist, cranked up a black dial on a frightening electronic device encrusted with switches and knobs, and shocked me repeatedly with jolts of electricity. No, this was not torture and the memory is not a traumatic one. I was inside the laboratory of Dr. Daniela Schiller, [...]

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Observations

Rumors of the Oblong Rock Snail’s Demise Were Somewhat Exaggerated

Last May, a University of Alabama graduate student was the first person to collect an oblong rock snail in over 70 years. The species, Leptoxis compacta, hadn’t been observed since 1933 and was declared extinct in 2000. Nathan Whelan, the biology PhD candidate who made the discovery, is glad that his research has a positive [...]

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Observations

My Morning Cup of Coffee Kills Monkeys

spider-monkey

My coffee habit is killing the black-handed spider monkey, a cute New World simian (my favorite kind) that thrives in the canopy of Central American forests with tall trees. That’s pretty much the opposite of the kinds of forests that still exist where the spider monkey lives, because for decades we’ve been cutting down those [...]

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Observations

Once-Rare Butterfly Species Now Thrives, Thanks to Climate Change

brown-argus-butterfly

The once rare brown argus butterfly is on the move, expanding its range and numbers in the U.K.—and it’s all thanks to climate change. Thus far, the world’s climate has warmed roughly 0.8 degree Celsius over the course of the last century or so, thanks to a rise in greenhouse gas concentrations now approaching 400 [...]

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Observations

DNA Fingers Real-Life Captain Ahabs for Precipitous Decline of Gray Whales

gray whale drawing

Tens of thousands of whales were slaughtered each year for decades from the mid 1800s to the early 1900s, in the service of lighting city streets, painting ladies’ lips and providing multitudinous other modern conveniences. This monomaniacal hunt led many species to the brink of extinction. But recent research has suggested that gray whale (Eschrichtius [...]

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Observations

We’ve Got Trouble! All in Agreement Say… Uh Oh

Rhino closeup

If you turn on the news, you’re likely to be inundated with depressing pictures: Oceans are rising, species are dying, pollution is spreading. But how bad do most scientists think it really is? Are these doom-and-gloom projections the real deal, or just the lamentations of a few pessimists? Sadly, at least for conservation biology, the [...]

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Observations

What was a South American herbivore doing with saber teeth?

saber-toothed herbivore from south america

Some extinct animals have anatomical oddities that seem destined to be confined to the marginalia of history. Questionable characters, such as the single-fingered dinosaur and the flightless, club-winged bird, ultimately died off despite—if not because of—their idiosyncratic adaptations. Now, researchers have described a perplexing, long-extinct creature, this time with some dubious dental assets: large saber [...]

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Observations

Old tracks show protodinosaurs emerged millions of years earlier than previously thought

oldest dinosaur found by tracks in poland Prorotodactylus

Three newly discovered groups of fossilized footprints show that dinosaurs and their early relatives were stalking the Earth some five million to nine million years earlier than scientists had previously estimated. This represents "a substantial extension of early dinosaur history," noted researchers in a description of the find, which was published online October 5 in [...]

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Observations

Volcanoes killed with global warming, 200 million years ago

north-american-basalt

When Pangaea finally broke up, some 200 million years ago, the result was a lot of heat. Specifically, volcanism, as enormous flows of basalt burst to the surface, ultimately covering more than nine million square kilometers. It wasn’t just the death of a supercontinent; it was also one of Earth’s five major extinction events—and the [...]

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Observations

Paleontologist Peter Ward’s “Medea hypothesis”: Life is out to get you

The Medea Hypothesis, Peter D. Ward

What if the only thing life has to fear is life itself? At a lecture Monday evening at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, paleontologist Peter D. Ward laid out the argument that life as we know it serves to make Earth less habitable—a downward spiral that might spell the eventual [...]

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Plugged In

An Ailing Planet’s Path to Rio+20

photo for blog

Our planet’s health is ailing. That’s the message in short from the 2012 Living Planet Report. Its content is sobering. We are devouring 50 percent more resources than the Earth produces annually. Species populations have plummeted by 30 percent in the last 40 years. Freshwater scarcity abounds, and CO2 levels are soaring. Yet, the report’s co-authors [...]

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Symbiartic

Scatter, Adapt, and Remember

ScatterAdaptRemember_mini

“If you think Humans are destroying the planet in a way that’s historically unprecedented, you’re suffering from a species-level delusions of grandeur.” -Annalee Newitz, Scatter Adapt, and Remember Perhaps it’s having a 3 month old baby in the house (our second), but I’ve been thinking about the apocalypse more than normal. WAIT THAT CAME OUT [...]

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Symbiartic

Conservation Conversation in Clay

"Quiet as a mouse" by Kate MacDowell, 2011

One of the most fascinating aspects of art is that two artists can use the same exact materials and create vastly different works. Last week, I posted an interview with Heather Knight, an artist who creates abstract porcelain tiles inspired by nature’s patterns and textures. Today, I introduce Kate MacDowell, another artist working in unglazed [...]

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Symbiartic

SciArt Plugs 1: Lectures, Exhibits, News and More

The intersection of science and art is bustling with activity. With this weekly-ish post, we’ll try to keep you abreast of the most happenin’ happenings around the country. Don’t miss out! SCIART LECTURES/EVENTS Beacon, NY’s Annual Open Studio Event (Beacon, NY) September 24-25, 2011; 12-6pm | Take a tour of scientific illustrator Chris Sanders‘ and [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Extinction: Not the End of the World at London’s Natural History Museum

Excellent Dodo in the exhibition. The artist needs credit - >>who is responsible<<?

A few weeks ago John Conway and your humble blog-author visited the Natural History Museum (London) to see and review the new exhibit Extinction: Not the End of the World (thanks to Becky Caruana for organising this). Since the exhibit is heavily tetrapod-themed, discussion and review here is entirely appropriate and, while there is a [...]

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