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October 28, 2013 10:36 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Anthony Martin, paleontologist at Emory University in Atlanta, GA recently discovered two fossilized footprints presumably made by a landing bird during the Early Cretaceous period at Dinosaur Cove in Victoria, Australia. This discovery marks the oldest known bird tracks in Australia.
The People’s Choice: Americans Would Pay to Help Monarch Butterflies
October 28, 2013 08:47 AM - Ethan Alpern, USGS
Americans place high value on butterfly royalty. A recent study suggests they are willing to support monarch butterfly conservation at high levels, up to about 6 ½ billion dollars if extrapolated to all U.S. households. If even a small percentage of the population acted upon this reported willingness, the cumulative effort would likely translate into a large, untapped potential for conservation of the iconic butterfly.
The Abundance of Invasive Species
October 25, 2013 04:05 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Recognizing that invasive species are major catalysts for environmental change, researchers from the University of Wisconsin—Madison are relooking at how we account for invasive species populations. Instead of researching the behaviors and habits of the invasive species, researchers Gretchen Hansen and Jake Vander Zanden are considering abundance distributions of invasive species. They hypothesize that measuring abundance in an area is a more helpful determinate for defining the most optimal methods of prevention, containment, control and eradication.
Armored giant turns out to be vital ecosystem engineer
October 25, 2013 10:24 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
The giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus) is not called a giant for nothing: it weighs as much as a large dog and grows longer than the world's biggest tortoise. However, despite its gigantism, many people in its range—from the Amazon to the Pantanal—don't even know it exists or believe it to be more mythology than reality. This is a rare megafauna that has long eluded not only scientific study, but even basic human attention. However, undertaking the world's first long-term study of giant armadillos has allowed intrepid biologist, Arnaud Desbiez, to uncovered a wealth of new information about these cryptic creatures. Not only has Desbiez documented giant armadillo reproduction for the first time, but has also discovered that these gentle giants create vital habitats for a variety of other species.
Introduction to Persistent, Bioaccumulative, Toxic (PBT) Compounds in the Environment
October 24, 2013 05:03 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
Global chemical contamination is a worldwide concern affecting every being on earth. Chemical exposure, whether it is through air, water, plants, soil or our modern living environment is unavoidable. But certain chemicals and compounds having Persistent, Bioaccumulative, Toxic (PBT) characteristics are more dangerous to our environment than others because of their inability to break down easily, are easily transferred throughout all forms of environmental media, and posing risks to human health and the ecosystem due to their toxicity at low concentrations.
Ecology: Life's Connections
October 24, 2013 04:41 PM - Glen Barry, Ecologist
Ultimately, all humanity and all life have is the biosphere, the thin layer of life just above and below Earth’s surface, composed of ancient, miraculously evolved natural ecosystems. The natural Earth is a marvel - a complex coupling of species within ecosystems, whereby life begets life. Ecology is far more than the study of life and its environment. The word is used here as a synonym for ecosystems - the vibrant connections that emerge between species across scales, which cumulatively make life on Earth possible.
98% of Marine Fish Headed For the Aquarium Trade Die Within a Year in the Phillippines
October 23, 2013 02:12 PM - Natalie Miller, MONGABAY.COM
Almost all wild caught marine fish for the aquarium trade will die within a year of capture, according to WWF.
High school student finds 'Joe', the dinosaur!
October 22, 2013 02:08 PM - Robin Blackstone, ENN
High school student Kevin Terris, from Claremont, CA has found the smallest and most complete known fossilized skeleton at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah. The dinosaur would have grown to about 25 feet in length if it had been able to reach adulthood. This plant eating baby tube-crested dinosaur Parasaurolophus would have lived about 75 million years ago and roamed across much of the western portion of North America. The duck-billed (hadrosaurid) Parasaurolophus featured a long hollow bony tube on top of its head, which paleontologists speculate would have been used to emit a trumpet like sound to communicate.
Amazon at more risk for dieback than previously thought
October 22, 2013 09:52 AM - Editor, ENN
With habitat destruction trends and interaction with climate change, things are not looking good for the Amazon rainforest. According to a new study, the southern portion of the Amazon rainforest is at a much higher risk of dieback due to stronger seasonal drying than projections made by the climate models used in the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). One of the biggest culprits? Drought.
The Yeti: A hoax or an ancient polar bear species?
October 21, 2013 09:11 AM - Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
The purported Yeti, an ape-like creature that walks upright and roams the remote Himalayas, may in fact be an ancient polar bear species, according to new DNA research by Bryan Sykes with Oxford University. Sykes subjected two hairs from what locals say belonged to the elusive Yeti only to discover that the genetics matched a polar bear jawbone found in Svalbard, Norway dating from around 120,000 (though as recent as 40,000 years ago).