What caused the ice ages? Tiny ocean fossils offer key evidence

The Extinction Chronicles

DECEMBER 10, 2020


by Liz Fuller-Wright, Princeton University

What caused the ice ages? Tiny ocean fossils offer key evidence
This diatom species, Fragilariopsis kerguelensis, is a floating algae that is abundant in the Antarctic Ocean and was the major species in the samples collected for the study by Princeton University and the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry. These microscopic organisms live near the sea surface, then die and sink to the sea floor. The nitrogen isotopes in their shells vary with the amount of unused nitrogen in the surface water. The researchers used that to trace nitrogen concentrations in Antarctic surface waters over the past 150,000 years, covering two ice ages and two warm interglacial periods. Credit: Philipp Assmy (Norwegian Polar Institute) and Marina Montresor (Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn)

The last million years of Earth history have been characterized by frequent “glacial-interglacial cycles,” large swings in climate that are linked to the growing and shrinking of massive, continent-spanning ice sheets…

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A comment on a discussion of wild horses…

ID 16446842 © Tamara Didenko | Dreamstime.com

By Sharon St Joan

More about the question of wild horses…

I feel that what is sometimes missing in our views of the wild in general – is a spiritual awareness – or simply an awareness of the beauty and majesty of the wild – whether this is a wild horse – or for that matter a feral cat. Whether it is a butterfly or a pigeon on a city street.

Whether the animal is “wild” or “feral” or “tame” or “domestic” – or whatever category we, with our human brains, wish to put it into. Every animal has worth and dignity. They are all innocent. No animal is mean or vicious. Animals can be afraid, but only humans possess the capacity to be vicious.

We are so quick, as humans, to make judgements about who should live and who should die.  We sometimes set ourselves up as chief judge and executioner. A little more humility might not be amiss.

It always sounds a little bit wrong to me when we as humans talk, just a bit condescendingly, about the harm that this animal does or that animal does. Surely, no animal does more harm to the earth and to all beings than we do as humans.

Clearly there are times and places where invasive species have to be controlled and eliminated insofar as possible – or else they gobble up the wild, native species until there is nothing left. That’s just a fact.

But I am not among those who feel that we should kill or harm every single animal that we decide doesn’t belong in the world of nature. We live in the world as it is – it is a constantly changing world, nature itself is constantly changing. If there is a really, truly destructive invasive species – surely it is us.

Nearly every wild creature I’ve ever seen has an intrinsic beauty and nobility (there are one or two exceptions, but those are faults in myself, not in the animal). They are all sentient beings, and this goes for the trees, and the plants, as well – at least, as I see it. Deciding, from our lofty, human perspective, that junipers should not grow where they grow because they didn’t used to grow there does not make sense to me, nor does chopping them up in a machine, which feels like a desecration of the earth itself.

When we take a wild creature out of the wild whether it’s a bird being confined to a cage or a wild horse being separated from his family and his life in the wild to be “adopted” or confined in a holding pen, that also seems like an act of cruelty.

Some of these questions are difficult because there are many facts and many consequences involved, and many different, legitimate perspectives.

But surely, whatever action we may feel is needed or not needed, retaining a sense of kindness and compassion, as well as admiration and reverence for the beauty of wild creatures cannot be out of place.

This isn’t a criticism of anyone, just a call not to forget a certain reverence and respect for the beauty of the wild.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

Echoes in the Mist


Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a very Happy New Year to all of you!

May the coming year bring greater peace, protection, and abundant blessings to the world of nature and the whole earth – to all peoples, to all the animals, the trees and plants, the rivers, the oceans, the mountains, the forests, and to all wild lands. May they all be blessed.


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Migratory birds and Asian, African and European children

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video says about itself:

9 Jan 2014

Spring Alive has been spreading widely in Africa. Check how great they are doing in Nigeria where many children are enthusiastically engaged in birds oriented actions thanks to the Spring Alive project.

From BirdLife:

Spring Alive 2014 has arrived!

By Rebecca Langer, Thu, 06/03/2014 – 15:14

BirdLife and its Partners in 50 countries are proud to announce the launch of Spring Alive 2014. Now nine years old, Spring Alive brings together children, their teachers and families in Europe, Central Asia and Africa to observe and record the arrivals of five species of migrant birds:  Barn SwallowHirundo rustica, White StorkCiconia ciconia, Common CuckooCuculus canorus, Common SwiftApus apus, and European Bee-eaterMerops apiaster.

Spring Alive 2013 broke all previous records. During Eurasian and African seasons, a total of over 286,000 observations of migratory…

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Feathered polar dinosaurs discovery in Australia

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This 2017 video says about itself:

Over the past 20 years, dinosaurs of all types and sizes have been found with some sort of fluff or even full-on plumage. These fuzzy discoveries have raised a whole batch of new questions so we’re here to tell you everything we know about dinosaurs and feathers.

From Uppsala University in Sweden:

First evidence of feathered polar dinosaurs found in Australia

November 12, 2019

A cache of 118 million-year-old fossilized dinosaur and bird feathers has been recovered from an ancient lake deposit that once lay beyond the southern polar circle.

Feathered dinosaur fossils are famous, but known from a handful of localities worldwide. Examples from the Southern Hemisphere are especially rare, and mainly include only isolated feathers.

An international team of scientists has analyzed a collection of 10 such fossil feathers found in Australia, which reveal an unexpected diversity of tufted hair-like…

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Ascension Island green turtles good news

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This 24 September 2019 video says about itself:

A Hunting Ban is Finally Helping Green Sea Turtles Thrive

For five centuries, hunters would camp out on the beaches of Ascension Island to hunt green sea turtles. Today, with a hunting ban in place, the island has become a haven for these majestic sea creatures.

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North America Has Lost 3 Billion Birds, Scientists Say

Exposing the Big Game

Migrating shorebirds at Kimbles Beach, N.J. Researchers estimate that the population of North American shorebirds alone has fallen by more than a third since 1970.

Jacqueline Larma/AP

Over the past half-century, North America has lost more than a quarter of its entire bird population, or around 3 billion birds.

That’s according to a new estimate published in the journal Science by researchers who brought together a variety of information that has been collected on 529 bird species since 1970.

“We saw this tremendous net loss across the entire bird community,” says Ken Rosenberg, an applied conservation scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, N.Y. “By our estimates, it’s a 30% loss in the total number of breeding birds.”

Rosenberg and his colleagues already knew that a number of…

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