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2017

Most Primate Species Threatened With Extinction, Scientists Find
New York Times, January 18, 2017
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Our fellow primates are in trouble.

In a study of unprecedented scope, a team of 31 primatologists has analyzed every known species of primate to judge how they are faring. The news for man’s closest animal relatives is not good.

Three-quarters of primate species are in decline, the researchers found, and about 60 percent are now threatened with extinction. From gorillas to gibbons, primates are in significantly worse shape now than in recent decades because of the devastation from agriculture, hunting and mining.

“I think we’re going to get quite a number of extinctions within next 50 years if things go on the way they are,” said Anthony B. Rylands, a senior research scientist at Conservation International and a co-author of the new study, which was published in Science Advances.

On Long Migrations, Birds Chase an Eternal Spring
New York Times, January 5, 2017
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Bird migrations have stumped the greatest minds for thousands of years. Aristotle thought that the robins living in Greece in the winter somehow turned into redstarts in the summer. In fact, robins migrate from Greece to Northern Europe around the time redstarts arrive from Africa.

Scientists have gotten a much better understanding of bird migration in recent centuries, but there’s a tremendous amount they have yet to learn. After tracking more than three dozen birds with sensors for thousands of miles, a team of researchers reported on Wednesday that their migration defied the expected course.

Instead of simply flying straight from their summer grounds in Denmark to their winter site in Africa, the birds stretched out their journey, stopping at several places along the way for weeks at a time.

“It’s more of a nomadic life,” said Kasper Thorup, a bird migration expert at the University of Copenhagen and co-author of the new study. “They hardly have a place to call home.”

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