Scientific links of the week »Explorersweb
A passion for the natural world drives many of our adventures. And when we’re not really on the outside, we like to find out about the places we live and travel. Here are some of the best natural history links we’ve found this week.
The loss of ice alters local seal hunts: Residents of Inupiat in northwest Alaska hunt bearded seals. The continuously declining sea ice has dramatically reduced their available hunting time and forced them to change their practices. From 2003 to 2019, the sealing season decreased by more than two weeks. To maintain the trait they need for their communities, hunters have had to make more frequent trips to larger bodies of open water. This greatly increases the dangers of hunting.
New Species of Beaked Whale Identified: Scientists have accidentally identified a new species of beaked whale, the Ramari’s beaked whale. It lives in the waters around South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Researchers were investigating another species, True’s beaked whale, when they made the discovery. âThe genetics and skull shape of True’s beaked whales in the northern hemisphere are very different from those of True’s beaked whales in the southern hemisphere. It is clear that these are different species, âsaid the study’s authors.
The biblical persimmon
A 2,000-year-old amethyst seal found in Israel: A 2,000-year-old seal has been found in the foundations of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Commonly used to sign documents and worn as jewelry, the amethyst seal is engraved with a dove and a fruit branch. The plant may be the biblical persimmon, which is unrelated to the modern orange persimmon. âThis may be the first time that a seal has been discovered with an engraving of the precious and famous plant, which until now we could only read in historical descriptions,â said archaeologist Dr Shukron.
Why do only mammals have tusks? The only animals on earth with tusks are mammals. Scientists have now discovered that animals such as rhinos, walruses and elephants all have an ancient, non-mammalian ancestor that predates dinosaurs. “We were able to show that the earliest tusks belonged to animals called dicynodonts,” said Ken Angielczyk, author of the study. The dicynodonts lived 270 to 201 million years ago. Although their closest living relatives were mammals, they appeared to be more reptilian.
Great white sharks bite humans because of mistaken identity: Attacks by great white sharks on humans can sometimes be a case of mistaken identity. Scientists used images of seals, sea lions and humans in the water in a “shark vision” model that mimics the vision of a juvenile shark. “We have found that surfers, swimmers and pinnipeds (seals and sea lions) on the ocean surface will look like a white shark looking down from below because these sharks cannot see details or colors. “said Laura Ryan. , researcher at Macquarie University.
Pluto supporters defend their cause
Pluto is no longer a planet – or is it? In 2006, poor Pluto lost its status as a full planet and was reclassified as a dwarf planet. Before that, astronomers discovered several objects beyond Neptune that were similar to Pluto. The choice was to add more planets or anchor Pluto from the list. The International Astronomical Union has chosen the latter. But 15 years later, the debate over Pluto continues. Planetary scientist Jim Bell argues that âAnything with interesting geology should be a planet. It doesn’t matter where you are, it matters What you are beautiful.”
Rare owl photographed in the wild for the first time: Shelley’s owls are the largest owls in Africa’s rainforests and among the largest owls in the world, measuring up to 24 inches in length. Despite their size, photographers have failed to capture a single photo of this rare owl in the wild in 150 years. Then, on October 16, scientists from Imperial College London took a photo of the large bird in the Atewa Forest in Ghana. âIt’s a sensational discovery,â enthuses Dr Nathaniel Annorbah. âWe have been searching for this mysterious bird for years in the western lowlands. So to find it here in the forests on top of the eastern ridgesâ¦ is a huge surprise.
About the Author
Rebecca is a UK-based freelance writer and science teacher.
She is a great traveler and has had the good fortune to backpack Africa, South America and Asia. With a background in marine biology, she is interested in everything related to the oceans and aims to dive and swim in open water in as many seas as possible.
His areas of expertise include open water sports, marine wildlife and adventure travel.