Blog Archives

Vintage Nature Illustration Wednesday – Ladybugs

Carl Brenders, 1982

Carl Brenders, 1982

Vintage Nature Illustration Wednesday – Turtle Carapaces

Historische Bild- und Schriftgutsammlungen des Museums für Naturkunde - Bestand: Zool. Mus. Signatur: SI, Nachl. Schoepf II, Bl. 60

Historische Bild und Schriftgutsammlungen des Museums für Naturkunde – Bestand: Zool. Mus. Signatur: SI, Nachl. Schoepf II, Bl. 60

Vintage Nature Illustration Wednesday – Mushrooms

(This one was a gift - I sadly do not have illustrator info. If you know it, please tell me!)

(This one was a gift – I sadly do not have illustrator info. If you know it, please tell me!)

Vintage Nature Illustration Wednesday – Woodland

David Goddard, 1978

David Goddard, 1978

February Tweets & Pins

Here’s the monthly roundup of our favorite tweets and pins for your perusing pleasure. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Pinterest if you like what you see!

tweet pin

The Dodo is a new, awesome site all about animals that you should definitely check out.
Do you know what your plants are doing when you’re not watching?
This huge bee hotel is not only eco-awesome, it’s gorgeous and I want it. Now.
Mother Earth News gives you 65 ways to save money through self-reliance.
The Clymene dolphin is a cross between two other dolphins.
Top carnivores are more important than we ever could have imagined, because obviously.
Ten of the rarest animals on earth are stunning and fascinating.
#BestBigBug hastag reveals incredible and occasionally horrifyingly huge insects.
Cow poop can tell us things.
Were you under the impression that birds sleep in their nests?
The rare and spectacular snow leopard was captured on film in Pakistan by camera traps.
Do you need a giant animal made? Talk to this guy.

Enormous Stick Insect, Thought Extinct, is Rediscovered

This story is both amazing and inspiring – an enormous stick-insect, considered extinct since the 1960s, has a fascinating story of re-discovery and hope for the future.

Read the story by NPR writer Robert Krulwich HERE or click on the image of the INSANELY GIGANTOR insects to read!!

patrick

Image via Rod Morris/www.rodmorris.co.nz

Word(s) of the Week: Phloem and Xylem

Today’s words are:

[phloem] and [xylem]

Pronounced: FLOW-um, ZYE-lum

Sciency Definition: Phloem and xylem are two layers of tissues found within the stems of plants and trunks of trees.

Or I could have said: Plant guts.

What’s it do?  Phloem is made of tissues that transport sugars created during photosynthesis, feeding the plant from the top (where the leaves are) down to the roots. The xylem is made of tissues that transport water and minerals up from the root system. In trees, the xylem dies after one year, creating the rings you see in a tree’s cross-section.

Example sentenceA tree ain’t cryin’ without its XYLEM! Ha! Uh, sorry, I must have had some phloem stuck in my throat.

Can you use either of these words this week? Report back in the comments!

Cross-section of a flax stem by SuperManu, via Wiki. The xylem is #3, and the phloem is #4.

[Video] Northern Goshawk (blows my mind)

Today, I feel like celebrating the Northern Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis), mostly because I found this amazing video of a gloved goshawk maneuvering through tight spaces slowed down 40 times.

Goshawks are Accipiters, a type of hawk designed for fast, fighter-pilot flight and maneuverability. Accipiters don’t soar and spin in the skies the way their cousins, the Buteos (think Red Tailed Hawk), do. Instead, they use their lean body shape, long tails, and shorter, rounded wings to move quickly through the brush after small mammals and other birds. Cooper’s Hawks and Sharp-Shinned Hawks are often seen around bird feeders, hunting the songbirds that come to eat there.

Goshawks are found in the Northern Hemisphere and prefer dense forest. Cooper’s and Sharpies will hang out in less-dense forests or around meadow edges, but Goshawks love old growth. They will fiercely defend their nests by air-bombing any perceived threats, including humans. In fact, this is the only way many people get to see one!

Check out this vid. It gave me that “I heart nature” fluttery feeling for the day.

Nature News & Tweets for December

So, since only the primitive portion of my brain (responsible for breathing and peeing in a private facility rather than on the floor) is functioning from four days of poor nutrition and an awful lot of Netflix Instant, I thought I’d share some neato things going on in the world of.. well. The world.

A 400,000 year old tooth was discovered in Israel. One doc says “HUMAN!”, another says “Probably not, you over-zealous sonofabitch.” Typical. (According to the article, the oldest Homo sapiens tooth discovered so far is half that old so if it IS human, well, it’s a big deal.) I’d like to suggest that for just a few minutes, sit back and picture what it would be like to have another HOMINID SPECIES (not another race, culture, or other kind of group) wandering around. Another hominid species. Hominid. Mind-blowing.

Tickling may have some evolutionary benefit. Or at least, it may have used to. It may have been a way for families and friends to bond and taught youngsters to protect vulnerable parts of their bodies during play-fighting, like the neck and belly. Primates that participate in tickling pant a certain way, and the article suggests we may have the roots of modern-day laughter in this vocal behavior. Still doesn’t explain why I occasionally laugh so hard that I pee my pants.

Ed Yong reports on research that points to the absorption of marine bacteria into human guts to help process sushi. Japanese people utilize seaweed like nori in a variety of dishes, and the high prevalence of seaweed in their evolutionary diets provided for sushi-eating bacteria to enter into – and survive! – their digestive tracts. Which means that Japanese people can actually better digest seaweeds thanks to a bacteria that wasn’t originally there (and isn’t there in other groups). Unfortunately there are no cupcake-eating bacteria that can help me with my, erm, problem.

Bryan over at FieldHerper wows me again with his intense photos. It was hard to pick just one to highlight, but I’m SERIOUSLY partial to thunderstorm photos. I swear to God his photos are like naturalist porn. (Maybe that brings to mind something different than I’m thinking. That would be weird. *ponder* Super weird.)

HAPPY TUESDAY!! :)

[Bird Video Series] #4: Golden Eagle Flying Camera

This clip from the BBC features Steve Leonard and a gorgeous Golden Eagle named Tilly. Golden Eagles are gregarious enough to be glove-trained and are known for their use as hunting companions in Mongolia. The Golden Eagle is, in fact, used all over the world for hunting due in part to their ability to acclimate to human handling. Bald Eagles, on the other hand, have a reputation for being less tolerant of people.

Check out this great video footage of what it looks like to be a Golden Eagle. Some fun things to note are Tilly’s tail and how small adjustments are made to help navigate, and how she constantly makes small movements with her head to utilize her remarkable vision. Raptors like eagles have some of the best eyesight in the world, in part because they have two fovea per eye (humans have only one per eye) and a higher concentration of cells in those fovea. Enjoy!