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RESTORING ARCTIC ICE IS THE KEY TO CURBING CLIMATE CHANGE—SO WHY ARE WE IGNORING IT?

Originally posted on The Extinction Chronicles:
This dangerous ice loss can be reversed, and the emerging field of climate restoration is yielding surprising solutions to the challenges of global warming. PETER FIEKOWSKY MAR 6, 2019 https://psmag.com/ideas/we-already-have-effective-ways-of-restoring-arctic-ice The crew of patrol vessel KV Svalbard and scientists from the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research play football on a floe of offshore ice on March 22nd, 2018, in the sea around Greenland, while two armed guards keep watch for polar bears. (Photo: Marius Vagenes Villanger/AFP/Getty Images) A series of scientific reports released in the last few months found that Arctic ice is melting at an accelerated and catastrophic rate—the fastest rate in the last 350 years. If it continues at that rate, the Arctic could be completely free of summer ice by the year 2030, or even sooner. The most recent study, which concentrated on the southwest part of Greenland—a region with few large glaciers, and one which was previously not expected to be a significant source of ice loss—found that if the atmosphere continues to warm, southwest Greenland will become “a major contributor to sea level rise.” What has not been reported widely is that this dangerous ice loss can be reversed, and the emerging field of climate restoration is yielding surprising solutions to vexing problems. HOW ARCTIC SEA ICE DISAPPEARED—AND WHAT IT MEANS Arctic sea ice has lost 80 percent of its volume since 1979, and the Arctic Ocean is increasingly ice-free in…

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Fin whales and mountain gorillas back from the brink of extinction thanks to conservation efforts

Originally posted on Exposing the Big Game:
‘With sustained, long-term conservation action, we can not only prevent extinctions, but also achieve considerable population recoveries’ Josh GabbatissScience Correspondent @josh_gabbatiss Wednesday 14 November 2018 13:00 https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/fin-whales-mountain-gorillas-extinction-endangered-red-list-whaling-poaching-iucn-a8633211.html https://d-39424918881667842552.ampproject.net/1902072121410/frame.html Click to follow The Independent Anti-poaching efforts have helped boost mountain gorilla numbers by hundreds in recent decades ( Getty ) There is hope for the survival of fin whales and mountain gorillas after conservationists announced both species have been pulled back from the brink of extinction. After decades of persecution by whaling vessels and poachers, modern efforts to protect these mammals appear to be working as their numbers have started to recover. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) maintains a “red list” to monitor the status of the world’s wildlife, and in its latest update both whales and gorillas have shifted one step further away from becoming new entries on the long list of species wiped out by humanity. After a recent WWF report revealed 60 per cent of monitored animal populations had been obliterated in the space of decades, the announcement shows concerted international action can yield results. Watch more Global wildlife has declined 60% in 40 years, says WWF Previously listed as endangered, fin whale numbers have roughly doubled since the 1970s when an international ban on commercial whaling was introduced. The population now stands at 100,000 mature individuals. There has also been a marked improvement in western populations of grey whales, which are no longer considered critically endangered. Fin whales…

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Life thrived on Earth 3.5 billion years ago, research suggests

Originally posted on The Extinction Chronicles:
Scientists use stable sulfur isotopes to understand ancient microbial metabolism Date: February 8, 2019 Source: Tokyo Institute of Technology Summary: Three and a half billion years ago Earth hosted life, but was it barely surviving, or thriving? A new study provides new answers to this question. Microbial metabolism is recorded in billions of years of sulfur isotope ratios that agree with this study’s predictions, suggesting life throve in the ancient oceans. Using this data, scientists can more deeply link the geochemical record with cellular states and ecology. Electron microscopy image of microbial cells which respire sulfate. Credit: Guy Perkins and Mark Ellisman, National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/02/190208085855.htm Three and a half billion years ago Earth hosted life, but was it barely surviving, or thriving? A new study carried out by a multi institutional team with leadership including the Earth-Life Science Institute (ELSI) of Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) provides new answers to this question. Microbial metabolism is recorded in billions of years of sulfur isotope ratios that agree with this study’s predictions, suggesting life throve in the ancient oceans. Using this data, scientists can more deeply link the geochemical record with cellular states and ecology. Scientists want to know how long life has existed on Earth. If it has been around for almost as long as the planet, this suggests it is easy for life to originate and life should…

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Oldest seed-eating perching bird discovered

Originally posted on Dear Kitty. Some blog:
https://youtu.be/75posEbWeZs This 7 February 2019 video is called Ancestor to modern day sparrows flew around 52 million years ago. From the Field Museum in the USA: Earliest known seed-eating perching bird discovered in Fossil Lake, Wyoming February 7, 2019 Summary: The ‘perching birds‘, or passerines, are the most common birds in the world today — they include sparrows, robins, and finches. They used to be very rare. Scientists have just discovered some of the earliest relatives of the passerines, including a 52-million-year-old fossil with a thick, curved beak for eating seeds. Most of the birds you’ve ever seen — sparrows, finches, robins, crows — have one crucial thing in common: they’re all what scientists refer to as perching birds, or “passerines”. The passerines make up about 6,500 of the 10,000 bird species alive today. But while they’re everywhere now, they were once rare, and scientists are still learning about their origins. In a new paper in Current Biology, researchers have announced the discovery of one of the earliest known passerine birds, from 52 million years ago. “This is one of the earliest known perching birds. It’s fascinating because passerines today make up most of all bird species, but they were extremely rare back then. This particular piece is just exquisite,” says Field Museum Neguanee Distinguished Service Curator Lance Grande, an author of the paper. “It is a complete skeleton with the feathers still…

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How snakes lost their limbs

Originally posted on Dear Kitty. Some blog:
https://youtu.be/gIvrGtgVtr8 This February 2018 video says about itself: 90 million years ago, an ancient snake known as Najash had…legs. It is by no means the only snake to have limbs either. But what’s even stranger: we’re not at all sure where it came from. From the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo in Brazil: Research explains how snakes lost their limbs The study is part of an effort to understand how changes in the genome lead to changes in phenotypes February 6, 2019 Snakes and lizards are reptiles that belong to the order Squamata. They share several traits but differ in one obvious respect: snakes do not have limbs. The two suborders diverged more than 100 million years ago. Identification of the genetic factors involved in this loss of limbs is a focus of the article “Phenotype loss is associated with widespread divergence of the gene regulatory landscape in evolution” published by Juliana Gusson Roscito and collaborators in Nature Communications. Another equally interesting focus of the article is eye degeneration in certain subterranean mammals. “We investigated these two cases in order to understand a much more general process, which is how genome changes during evolution lead to phenotype changes,” Roscito told. Currently working as a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, Germany, Roscito has been a postdoctoral fellow in Brazil and…

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