A Brief History of the Origin of Dogs: There are papers coming out all the time on this topic. My aim is not to write a review of all of them, but to give you a brief introduction on what is known about the origin of dogs at this point in time (early March 2014). Dogs did not come from the wolf…
Here is an EXCELLENT review of the topic by my colleague, well worth reading!
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If you help us raise money for this project, you will be intimately involved with every step, from gathering data, to observing animals, to analyzing the results. You’ll even receive a full report when we’re finished, and have the ability to say that you backed a real research project.
With scientific funding at an all time low, we’re trying out crowd-sourced funding as a way to show that people do care about science!
Even if you can’t donate, please reblog this and spread the word, and we will truly, truly appreciate it. Thank you in advance for all your support and great messages that I’ve received so far! :)
A Somber Reminder of the Importance of Conservation
I was recently able to take a visit with a friend to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology! A place full of incredible people and incredible science. While there, I was able to take a peek at their preserved specimen collection.
Here’s a small look at their Extinct, Critically Endangered and Rare bird collection.
The Passenger Pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius) was once one of the most abundant species of bird in North America. Traveling in gigantic flocks of over a BILLION birds, these pigeons were a spectacle to behold, described even by famed naturalist John James Audubon himself.
The bird eventually went extinct when overhunting was combined with extreme habitat loss, where suitable breeding sites were no longer available. The large flocks of the birds were so vulnerable to hunters that many could simply point a shotgun to the blackened sky of birds and pull the trigger to net several birds. Some hunts may have yielded a million killed pigeons, many estimate.
The last passenger pigeon died September 1st, 1914.
The Carolina Parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis) was the only native parakeet to the eastern United States. Once living along riparian forests from New York all the way down through Texas in the US, the parakeet was eventually driven extinct through habitat loss and hunting on agricultural fields.
These skins represent a collection of preserved specimens that now numbers just over 700 remaining in the world.
The last Carolina Parakeet died in captivity on February 21st, 1918.
The Ivory-billed Woodpecker (Campephilus principalis) is not yet confirmed to be extinct, though it is critically endangered. This woodpecker is among the largest of the woodpeckers, and is revered for its striking coloration and distinctive appearance.
As the flagship bird for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, exhaustive searches have been made by the lab to turn up evidence of a living specimen, but these have been to little result. Other organizations have even offered a reward for evidence of living birds, but none have surfaced thus far. While attempts to restore habitat to allow the woodpeckers to flourish have been made, recently, Cornell scientists have admitted that there may be no way for the populations to rebound back and that the it is only a matter of time before they are declared officially extinct.
Many ornithologists and conservation biologists have used this woodpecker as an example of why preventative conservation must be employed in order to avoid species loss in the future.
Not a question, just want to thank you for making ecology fun again. I am currently a cell and molecular bio undergrad and came about your tumblr randomly on reddit. It was mandatory to take an ecology course for my degree and it was really hard to get into. These posts you have made are really interesting and now easily my go to page to learn something new daily. I look forward to your posts now and hope you can continue this for at least until I graduate. Thanks, Gravy
Thanks for the very kind response! I’m happy to have made a rough subject interesting for you!