Heedless Ways

Chimpanzees in Uganda’s Kigali National Park have been getting up to some unusual business at night. These daytime foragers with poor night vision have been leaving the safety of the forest, crossing a bridge over a large ditch meant to keep elephants out of neighboring crop areas, and raiding corn fields. And they aren’t the…

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Newness, Past and Present

I noticed two items this week regarding species previously unknown to us. They’ve both been labelled ‘new’, although they are anything but new. The first is a long-extinct sauropod, the largest yet discovered, which has been given the truly magnificent name Dreadnoughtus schrani, ‘that which fears nothing’. As a quadruped the size of a Boeing…

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Sessile Mobility

A study on sucker-footed bats (Myzopoda aurita), published in PLOS One, discusses bat fossils found in Egypt’s Western Desert. This might be less worthy of examination if the fossils weren’t almost identical with existing bats now found only on Madagascar. These bats have sessile, or immovable, pads for feet. Based on their research, study authors…

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Paper Parks

A team of researchers spent six years tracking populations of West African lions (Panthera leo), a breed genetically distinct from other lions on the continent. Twenty-one parks exist for their protection, but according to a study out in PLOS ONE, lions were actually found in only four of these parks. Lions are protected throughout Africa,…

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Social Climbers

The Emperor Penguin (Aptenodytes forsteri) is big, as birds go, and as graceful underwater as it is ungainly on land. Its native habitat is Antarctica, and until recently, the bird has been considered ‘sea-ice obligate’, meaning it breeds and forages from sea-ice platforms. The species hasn’t been considered under threat for time being, but given…

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Long Forest View

A study out this week has reconstructed an image of what one area of pre-European forest looked like in the North American area of what is now Pennsylvania. From this artist’s interpretation, at least from a distance, it looks like, well, like a forest. But prior to European settlers’ intensified land clearing, the mill-building, the…

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