160-Million-Year-Old Fossil Shows That Choristodere Reptiles Provided Post-Natal Care For Young

January 26, 2015 in Animals & Insects, Fossils

A recent 160-million-year-old fossil found by a farmer in China represents what is — now — the oldest-record of post-natal parental care in the world, according to new research from

The fossil — which shows an adult Philydrosauras (a type of choristodere) accompanied by six juveniles — dates to the Middle Jurassic, and notably extends back-in-time the date of the earliest known post-natal parental care amongst animals.

Philydrosauras choristodere reptile
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Soil Erosion Rates Rose More Than 100-Fold In The US Following Colonization Via Deforestation & Industrial Agriculture, Research Finds (+American Indian Forest Management Practices Explained)

January 21, 2015 in Geology & Climate, Humans, Plants

Soil erosion rates increased more than a 100-fold in the southeastern US after European colonization via the large-scale deforestation and industrial agriculture that accompanied it, according to new research from the University of Vermont.

Previous to European colonization, the region had seen rates of hill-slope erosion of around an inch every 2500-years — after colonization these rates skyrocketed to an inch every 25-years (with a peak in the late-1800s/early-1900s).

Soil erosion deforestation
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Jellyfish Species — Box Jellyfish, Deepstaria Enigmatica, Praya Dubia, Lion’s Mane Jellyfish, Marrus Orthocanna, Man O’ War, Tima Formosa, Crossota, & Unidentified

January 20, 2015 in Animals & Insects

Jellyfish are some of the most strange, interesting — and occasionally beautiful — animals currently living in the world. And they’ve been here for quite a long time — some species are, in many ways, unchanged from the way that there hundreds of millions of years ago.

Owing to these facts, and — more importantly — their striking appearances I’ve created the list below compiling some of the most interesting species of jellyfish. Enjoy.

Jellyfish bloom ocean

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Mass Die-Offs Amongst Birds, Fishes, & Other Marine Animals, Are Increasing In Frequency, Research Finds

January 19, 2015 in Animals & Insects

Mass mortality events (mass die-offs) are increasing in frequency of occurrence — with regard to fishes, birds, and many other marine animals — according to new research from UC Berkeley’s Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management; the University of San Diego; and Yale University.

The findings are the result of a comprehensive analysis of 727 mass die-offs — of around 2,500 different animal species — that occurred over the past 70-years. According to the findings of this analysis — die-offs amongst bird, fish, and marine invertebrate species, have been increasing in frequency notably over these last 7-decades.

Fish kill mass die-off
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The Triumph Of Death — Pieter Bruegel The Elder, The Black Death, Two Monkeys, & The Eighty Years War

January 19, 2015 in Humans

This is a bit of a detour from what we normally post about here, but it’s a worthwhile one — The Triumph of Death, painted by Pieter Bruegel the Elder back in c.1562. Given that “peasant Bruegel” was born in 1525, and died in 1569, the creation of this painting dates to only a few years before his death.

The painting dates to a very tumultuous period of time for the region where Brueghel lived — at the time part of the Habsburg Netherlands, now part of Belgium. The creation of the painting predates the start of the Eighty Years War (1568-1648) by only a couple of years — and really seems to capture something of the spirit of the times.
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