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The Future of Animals

Sixth Mass Extinction animals environment green

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#21
Jakob

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^^^Animals don't change much. As with humans, there my be some potential for augmentation.  Most of what will affect animals for the future are things like habitat preservation and restoration, disease, etc.  While news about these things may not fit certain views of what futurology should be about, it nevertheless has important implications for the future of animals.

There's more than augmentation to talk about, but I still don't see how this is anything but current events, it should probably be moved to off-topic or the thread should be re-purposed.



#22
caltrek

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Well, if you feel you have a different take, then by all means present it.  In the mean time, I stand by my earlier comment.  There will be no future for animals without the success of current efforts to preserve and protect their habitat and health.  Ignorance of that fact is part of the problem.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#23
Jakob

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Well, if you feel you have a different take, then by all means present it.  In the mean time, I stand by my earlier comment.  There will be no future for animals without the success of current efforts to preserve and protect their habitat and health.  Ignorance of that fact is part of the problem.

Even if we dropped everything we were doing and systematically tried to abolish all animals, they would still survive and have a future.



#24
caltrek

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Well, if you feel you have a different take, then by all means present it.  In the mean time, I stand by my earlier comment.  There will be no future for animals without the success of current efforts to preserve and protect their habitat and health.  Ignorance of that fact is part of the problem.

Even if we dropped everything we were doing and systematically tried to abolish all animals, they would still survive and have a future.

 

 Perhaps I should have qualified my statement by saying that there "will be no future for many animals without the success of current efforts to preserve and protect their habitat and health."  

 

Extinction in the relatively near future is a distinct possibility for many animals.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#25
caltrek

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The future for the lives of many African elephants seems to now hang in the balance:

 

Obama-Era Elephant Trophy Ban Based on Flawed Process, Court Rules

 

Introduction:

 

(Courthouse News) – The DC Circuit ruled Friday that the Obama administration failed to follow the right procedures when it banned importing elephant hunting trophies from Zimbabwe.

 

Writing for a unanimous three-judge panel, U.S. Circuit Judge  Harry Edwards said the Fish and Wildlife Service under President Obama should have engaged in an extensive process of rulemaking — including seeking public comment — before it determined that elephant trophies cannot be brought into the country.

 

“In this case, the 2014 and 2015 enhancement findings had all of the qualities of a legislative rule, so the Service was obligated to follow the [Administrative Procedure Act’s] notice-and-comment procedures before promulgating the findings,” Edwards wrote.

 

The Fish and Wildlife Service reversed the ban in November, a move roundly and loudly criticized by environmentalists and many lawmakers of both parties. In a bid to quell the controversy, President Donald Trump put the decision on hold and directed the agency to take another look at the issue.

 

No deadline has been set for a decision and the matter was not addressed before the president headed to Palm Beach, Florida, for Christmas.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#26
caltrek

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Here is a story about an animal that may very well become extinct in the very near future.  So sad that future generations are being deprived of the thrill of co-existence with so many animals.

 

Porpoise Species Doomed by Federal Inaction, Lawsuit Claims

 

https://www.courthou...lawsuit-claims/

 

Introduction:

 

WASHINGTON (Courthouse News) – A rare species of porpoises has been pushed to the brink of extinction by federal indifference, environmentalists claim in a federal lawsuit.

 

At the heart of the complaint is the vaquita, a small porpoise that exists only in Mexico’s Upper Gulf of California.

 

In a complaint filed in Washington, DC on Thursday, the plaintiff  Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Animal Welfare Institute describe the vaquita as one of the most endangered animal species on Earth, explaining that there are likely fewer than 30 of the mammals left.

 

They go on to say the “precipitous decline” of the vaquita population — “more than 95 percent over the last 20 years” — is attributable to a single cause: entanglement and drowning in gillnet fishing gear set to catch various commercial fish species in Mexico.

 

“Sadly … scientists predict the vaquita faces extinction by 2019 if current trends continue,” the complaint says.

Vaquita_1_Thomas_A_Jefferson_20081019.jp

 

A Vaquita.

Credit: Thomas A Jefferson


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#27
caltrek

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Coral Sex Conceives New Growth for Great Barrier Reef

 

https://thebulletin.org/coral-sex-conceives-new-growth-great-barrier-reef11375

 

 

Introduction:

 

(Bulletin of Atomic Scientists) A little over a year ago, a researcher at the Australian Institute of Marine Science wrote an article for the Bulletin (“A changing climate for coral reefs”) about some of the problems facing the famed Great Barrier Reef—including rising ocean temperatures, silt and fertilizer runoff, and increasing acidification—that can lead to coral bleaching and coral death. (About 30 million people are entirely dependent on coral reefs for their homes, as the reefs form the bases of islands and atolls. Another 500 million need reefs as a source for food, income from fishing and tourism, and coastal protection.) Things have not gotten much better, as the reef suffers from what some call an “unprecedented second straight year of coral bleaching.” As the Bulletin subsequently noted, the El Niño of 2014-2016 and global warming delivered a one-two punch that led to 20 percent of the Great Barrier Reef dying and 90 percent being damaged.

 

A number of ideas have been making the rounds as to how to save the reef; some sound pretty extreme. But a South China Morning Post report highlighted something more promising a few weeks ago. That report said Australian scientists have managed to successfully transplant coral bred in one part of the Great Barrier Reef into another area, in a process they hope could eventually be used to restore damaged marine ecosystems around the world. The pioneering technique involves collecting large amounts of coral spawn and coral eggs, growing them into millions of larvae, and then transferring the young coral onto patches of damaged reef in underwater mesh tents. It doesn’t fix the underlying problems that caused the bleaching or death in the first place, but could offer hope of re-seeding areas—assuming temperatures can go down and acidification is dealt with.

 

“The success of this new research not only applies to the Great Barrier Reef but has potential global significance,” said lead researcher Peter Harrison, director of the Marine Ecology Research Centre at Southern Cross University. Harrison said his mass larval-restoration approach contrasts with the current “coral gardening” method of breaking up healthy coral and sticking healthy branches on reefs in the hope they will regrow or growing coral in nurseries before transplantation.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#28
caltrek

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Here is something that suggests that in the future as long as humans are alive, at least some animals will play a role in their lives.

 

Therapy dogs, bomb-sniffing canines and other pooches growing in number at airports

 

http://www.latimes.c...1229-story.html

 

Introduction:

 

(Los Angeles Times) Airports across the country increasingly are turning to therapy dogs to help relieve the stress of flustered fliers.

 

But confusion and even conflict can result from the growing packs of pooches, after dogs used by security agents and emotional support animals traveling with passengers are factored in.

 

Therapy dogs can now be found in at least 46 of the nation’s largest airports, including Los Angeles International Airport, with dog programs most recently launched at the Hollywood Burbank Airport as well as airports in Connecticut and Colorado.

 

The dogs roam the terminals with their volunteer owners, reducing stress by letting passengers pet and socialize with the animals.

 

Therapy dogs have been deployed at airport terminals since the 1990s, but more and more airports have been requesting such dog programs in the last six years, said Billie Smith, executive director of the Alliance of Therapy Dogs, the largest nonprofit group that organizes volunteers and their dogs to visit airports.

  

635519087342080159-SFO-Wag-Brigade-Donne

 

(Photo: Francisco International Airport)


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#29
caltrek

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Hmmmm...maybe some coexistence is possible.

 

California Ranks Again as the Nation's Most Humane State, While the Dakotas, Mississippi at Bottom of List

 

https://www.alternet...ppi-bottom-list

 

Introduction:

 

(Alternet) According to our Humane State rankings for 2017, California remains the most humane state in the nation, comfortably ahead of number-two finisher Oregon and then Massachusetts, which has held the third position since 2016 when it approved a sweeping measure to restrict factory farming and to forbid the sale of veal, pork, and eggs if they come from extreme confinement operations. 

 

California reinforced its leadership position by becoming the first state to ban pet stores from selling puppy mill dogs. Virginia took fourth place, while the fifth slot was held collectively by Washington, Colorado, and Illinois, which in 2017 banned the use of elephants in circuses and traveling shows.

 

Mississippi, South Dakota, and North Dakota held steady at the other end of the spectrum as the worst policy performers of 2017. Wyoming and Idaho rounded out the other states at the bottom of the rankings. All of these states have poor anti-cruelty statutes and very limited or no protections for dogs used for commercial breeding and for farm animals. Those western states have very limited protections for wildlife and typically don’t forbid egregious wildlife abuses, such as contest hunts or captive hunts. Idaho and Wyoming allow trophy hunting and steel-jaw trapping of wolves, and officials and hunters in both states are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to open up a grizzly bear trophy hunting season. (The HSUS filed a lawsuit to block federal delisting of the bears and to maintain federal protections for them.)

 

The HSUS composes its Humane State rankings based on a wide set of animal welfare policies that cover more than 90 policy ideas, ranging from penalties for animal fighting to prohibiting bear and mountain lion hunting to providing incentives for low-cost spay and neuter programs for companion animals to improving the lives of animals raised for food.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#30
rennerpetey

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Hmmmm...maybe some coexistence is possible.

 

California Ranks Again as the Nation's Most Humane State, While the Dakotas, Mississippi at Bottom of List

 

https://www.alternet...ppi-bottom-list

 

Introduction:

 

(Alternet) According to our Humane State rankings for 2017, California remains the most humane state in the nation, comfortably ahead of number-two finisher Oregon and then Massachusetts, which has held the third position since 2016 when it approved a sweeping measure to restrict factory farming and to forbid the sale of veal, pork, and eggs if they come from extreme confinement operations. 

 

California reinforced its leadership position by becoming the first state to ban pet stores from selling puppy mill dogs. Virginia took fourth place, while the fifth slot was held collectively by Washington, Colorado, and Illinois, which in 2017 banned the use of elephants in circuses and traveling shows.

 

Mississippi, South Dakota, and North Dakota held steady at the other end of the spectrum as the worst policy performers of 2017. Wyoming and Idaho rounded out the other states at the bottom of the rankings. All of these states have poor anti-cruelty statutes and very limited or no protections for dogs used for commercial breeding and for farm animals. Those western states have very limited protections for wildlife and typically don’t forbid egregious wildlife abuses, such as contest hunts or captive hunts. Idaho and Wyoming allow trophy hunting and steel-jaw trapping of wolves, and officials and hunters in both states are eagerly awaiting the opportunity to open up a grizzly bear trophy hunting season. (The HSUS filed a lawsuit to block federal delisting of the bears and to maintain federal protections for them.)

 

The HSUS composes its Humane State rankings based on a wide set of animal welfare policies that cover more than 90 policy ideas, ranging from penalties for animal fighting to prohibiting bear and mountain lion hunting to providing incentives for low-cost spay and neuter programs for companion animals to improving the lives of animals raised for food.

 

hmm, looks like my state is right smack in the middle of the list, truthfully, I thought we would be a lot lower



#31
caltrek

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Coho Salmon to Remain on Endangered List

 

https://www.courthou...ndangered-list/

 

Introduction:

 

SACRAMENTO (Courthouse News) – Finding insufficient evidence that coho salmon are not native to California streams south of San Francisco, an appeals court on Friday rejected timber harvesters’ attempt to strike the species from the endangered list.

 

“We are relieved that the court upheld important protections for some of California’s most imperiled salmon populations and recognized the strong scientific evidence of historical coho salmon populations south of San Francisco,” Jonathan Evans, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, said in an email. “Salmon are a crucial part of California’s treasured waterways. Coho salmon are teetering on the brink of extinction due to threats like climate change and timber harvesting. The court’s ruling today is an important lifeline to make sure coho salmon have the endangered species protection they need for a chance at recovery.”

 

The Center for Biological Diversity fought on behalf of the state to keep the coho on the endangered species list.

 

But the Central Coast Forest Association and Big Creek Lumber Company have been pushing to delist coho salmon south of San Francisco since 2004. This was shortly before the Fish and Game Commission issued a final action upholding the 1995 decision to list coho salmon in Scott and Waddell Creeks in Santa Cruz County south of San Francisco as endangered.

 

At the time, the commission found that coho salmon populations in that area had declined over 98 percent since the 1960s and had little chance of expanding on their own.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#32
caltrek

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Genomics and the Environment

 

http://www.genomeque...nvironment.html

 

Introduction:

 

(Genome Quebec) Genomics to the rescue of natural resources

 

The rapid pace of globalization has clearly taken a toll on the environment. This makes sustainable development more important than ever. Fortunately, genomics is generating a number of biological solutions to address environmental issues.

 

Genomics can contribute to the environment in three key ways: Understand, Adapt and Act

 

Understand

 

Genomics is the tool of choice for researchers who map genetic biodiversity. They use it to evaluate and better understand the genetic specificities of living organisms and to identify problems, such as contamination and pollution, in a rapid and effective manner. Genomics is also used to carry out leading-edge biosurveillance. As we know, the impact of climate change on the geographic distribution and productivity of various species is difficult to predict. On this front, stocktaking and diagnostic methods derived from genomic tools are vital.

 

Genomics saves a national symbol

 

The caribou, one of Canada’s national symbols, has been listed as a threatened species. In recent years, climate change and human activity have greatly affected the diversity and dispersion of caribou herds. Genomics researchers are concerned about the fate of the caribou. They are proposing to map and catalogue its genetic diversity and the pathogens that threaten it. Understanding the infinitely small in this way will help generate new screening tools to be used for genetic mapping and for the monitoring of herd health on an expanded scale. These tools will shed light on the caribou’s ability to adapt and, as a result, will lead to the development of guidelines on protecting the habitats of herds at risk. Genomic tools will support better decision making and, in so doing, will preserve our natural and cultural heritage and harness Canadian natural resources in a responsible, sustainable and acceptable manner.

 

Adapt

 

While conventional selection was used by our ancestors to improve agriculture, only with genomic selection have we been able to take full advantage of the extraordinary diversity of life. This diversity is a catalogue of traits that can be isolated in order to identify the best individual plants (tress, cereal crops, etc.) for better crop productivity and improved resistance to drought, extreme temperatures, pests and pathogens.

 


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#33
Guyverman1990

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I honestly believe the best way to save various endangered species is to eat them to hybridize with their closest living relative of which they can produce fertile offspring with. That way, you can really help prevent inbreeding.

#34
caltrek

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I honestly believe the best way to save various endangered species is to eat them to hybridize with their closest living relative of which they can produce fertile offspring with. That way, you can really help prevent inbreeding.

 

I think you were intending to use a different word than "eat."  


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#35
caltrek

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Rainforest Road May Threaten Bolivian Jewel, Study Finds

 

https://www.courthou...el-study-finds/

 

Introduction:

 

(Courthouse News) – A new law passed by the Bolivian government could further exacerbate deforestation and threaten rare plant and animal species in the nation’s most biodiverse protected rainforests, a new study finds.

 

Enacted in August 2017 by Bolivian President Evo Morales, the law downgrades the legal protection of the Isiboro-Secure National Park and Indigenous Territory, known as TIPNIS, its Spanish acronym. The park harbors four indigenous groups, many plant species that do not exist elsewhere and emblematic wildlife species like the jaguar, giant otter and marsh deer.

 

The law paves the way for the construction of a new 190-mile road cutting through the park, which lost more than 113,000 acres of forest from 2000 to 2014, according to the report published Monday in the journal Cell Press.

 

“While many discuss the potential impacts that the planned road could have in the future, very little is spoken about current ecological impacts in the area,” said first author Alvaro Fernandez-Llamazares, an environmental researcher at the University of Helsinki in Finland. “Our analyses show that TIPNIS is already facing rampant levels of deforestation.”

 

Roads in tropical forests often lead to further habitat conversion, and more than 58 percent of deforestation in the park is found within three miles of existing roads, according to the team.

Amazonian-forests.jpg?resize=300%2C200

Amazonian forests in Bolivia.

(Photo by Oriol Massana & Adrià López-Baucells)


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#36
caltrek

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Agency Moves to Take Away Protections For Canada Lynx

 

https://www.courthou...or-canada-lynx/

 

Introduction:

 

(Courthouse News) — With a Jan. 15 deadline looming to issue a recovery plan for the Canada lynx, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reversed course Thursday and recommended taking the species off the list of animals threatened by extinction.

 

The agency released a statement concluding the Canada lynx may no longer warrant protection under the Endangered Species Act and should be considered for delisting.

 

The Canada lynx was listed as a threatened species in the lower 48 states in 2000, after years of declining populations and threats to their habitat on public lands. Canada lynx are found in Maine, northeast Minnesota, northwest Montana, northeast Idaho, north-central Washington and western Colorado. The cats feed mainly on snowshoe hare rabbits.

 

Thursday’s move to delist the lynx seemed to have caught the conservation community by surprise, after a 2016 draft report outlined the challenges that the species still faced.

 

“The Trump Administration’s decision that lynx no longer deserve federal protection is shameful, cavalier, and contrary to best available information,” Dave Werntz, science and conservation director at Conservation Northwest, said in a statement. “Lynx populations in Washington have declined since they were identified as a threatened species in 2000, and a significant amount of the habitat where they remain has been lost to recent large fires. It’s clear that lynx are facing extinction threats and warrant federal wildlife protections.”

CanadaLynx.jpg?resize=300%2C225

A cousin of the more common bobcat, the Canada lynx can be distinguished by its black-tipped tail, long tufts of black hair at the tips of its ears, and long legs with large, furry paws for hunting snowshoe hares in deep snow.

(Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#37
caltrek

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Superpods of 600 dolphins are gathering off the coast of South Africa

 

http://www.sciencema...st-south-africa

 

Entire Article:

 

(Science) Bottlenose dolphins are known for hanging out in large pods, but finding more than 50 or 60 in a group is unusual. Now, researchers studying Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops aduncus) off the coast of South Africa have found that populations there have skyrocketed, going from an average of just 18 dolphins per group in 2008 to 76 dolphins in 2016. And those are just the averages: Some superpods in Algoa Bay, a shallow inlet off the Eastern Cape, were as big as 600 members, they report this week in Marine Mammal Science. Dolphin pods were larger in the bay (average size 325), than they were offshore (average size 135).

 

The growth of the pods—and their location—is a mystery. Researchers expected larger groups to be found farther north in the Wild Coast region, where the water is deeper. But instead, the researchers say the dolphins may be gathering in the shallows in large groups for protection against sharks; many white sharks, which have been known to attack dolphins, live in the area.


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#38
caltrek

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China moves to protect coastal wetlands used by migratory birds

 

http://www.sciencema...migratory-birds

 

Introduction:

 

(Science) China has armored its coastline over the past several decades, building sea walls and turning more than half of its marine wetlands into solid ground for development. The impact on the almost 500 species of migratory birds that rely on this habitat has been severe. But the tide is turning in favor of wildlife, conservationists believe, as the government is now moving to tighten regulations and designate new reserves to protect coastal wildlife.

 

“The message has reached the central government,” says Jing Li of Saving the Spoon-Billed Sandpiper, a nonprofit based in Shanghai, China.

In particular, China’s State Oceanic Administration (SOA) earlier this month announced it will dramatically curb commercial development of coastal wetlands. “I’ve never heard of anything quite so monumental,” says Nicola Crockford of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, based in Sandy, U.K., which has worked to protect habitat of migratory birds in China and elsewhere.

 

SOA’s 17 January statement said the agency will only approve coastal wetland development that is important for public welfare or national defense. Unauthorized projects will be stopped, and illegal structures torn down. The administration will nationalize already reclaimed wetlands that have not yet been built on. (Despite the loss of tides, these areas can still benefit wildlife.) “This represents a … true ‘sea change’ in the official political attitudes to the very large, and internationally shared, biodiversity values of the shorelines of China,” says ecologist Theunis Piersma of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. “Man, is this hopeful!”

 

China’s coastal wetlands—and in particular those in the Yellow Sea, which is at the midpoint of the East Asian–Australasian Flyway—are crucial for birds that migrate between Siberia and Australia. But development has robbed the birds of habitat and food, and some 10% of the species that use the flyway are in peril of extinction. Case in point is the critically endangered spoon-billed sandpiper, which specializes in plucking tiny crustaceans from the mud with its eponymous beak. Only about 220 breeding pairs survive

spoonbill.jpg?itok=1oLS3Z3Z

The spoonbill sandpiper is among the endangered shorebirds that could benefit from China's move to protect coastal wetlands.

Tengyi Chen

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#39
caltrek

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Study: Mammals May Be Better Equipped to Adapt to Climate Change

 

https://www.motherjo...climate-change/

 

Introduction:

 

(Mother Jones) The story of the tortoise and the hare teaches us that slow and steady wins the race. But when it comes to adapting to changing environmental conditions, Aesop (the ancient Greek storyteller credited with the fable) isn’t quite on the money. A study released last week shows that mammals and birds are faster to adapt and better equipped to deal with changes in temperatures than reptiles and amphibians.

 

“Roughly speaking, birds and mammals have a rate of adaption 2-3 times higher than ectotherms [reptiles and amphibians],” explained Jonathan Rolland, a research fellow at Canada’s University of British Columbia and lead author of the study that appeared in Nature Ecology & Evolution. “In geological timescales, endotherms [birds and mammals] are much faster in adapting to changing temperatures than ectotherms.”

 
In order to reach to their findings, Rolland and his colleagues sifted through an absurd amount of information: about 300,000 million data points covering almost 11,500 species, comprising of both living animals and fossil records. The team was then able to reconstruct the types of environments that animal groups have inhabited over 270 million years, focusing on how temperatures have fluctuated across history and habitats.
 

“You have to imagine that 40 million years ago, global temperatures were much higher, and there were tropical areas in the poles, even in Antarctica,” said Rolland. “As the Earth began to cool, some species evolved, while others just moved to warmer climates.” Birds and mammals proved themselves to be better at evolving than their cold blooded counterparts, which explains why they were able to move into habitats in more northern and southern regions.

 

A number of traits likely allowed birds and mammals to adapt quicker to the changing temperatures, including the fact that they regulate their own body temperatures, meaning they don’t have to adjust their behavior to the climate to the same degree as cold-blooded animals. Rolland also explained that endotherms use their own body heat to control the temperature of their developing babies, which gives them higher survival rates during periods of temperature fluctuations.

feb-1_tortoise-and-the-hare.jpg?w=990

Are W/Flickr


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#40
caltrek

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So, here is another aspect of the future of animals - that our understanding of their role in the ecosystem may change and grow.

 

What Does a Bear Do in the Alaska Woods? Disperse Seeds

 

https://www.courthou...disperse-seeds/

 

Introduction:

 

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Does a bear leave scat in the woods? The answer is obvious but the effects on an ecosystem may not be.

 

A study by Oregon State University researchers concludes that brown and black bears, and not birds, as commonly thought, are primary distributers of small fruit seeds in southeast Alaska, spreading the seeds through their excrement.

 

“Bears are essentially like farmers,” said Taal Levi, an Oregon State assistant professor. “By planting seeds everywhere, they promote a vegetation community that feeds them.”

Seed dispersal is a key component in the understanding of any ecosystem, Levi said. The study is the first instance of a temperate plant being primarily dispersed by mammals through their gut, Levi said. The finding suggests repercussions for plant life when bears are removed.

 

Brown bears, or grizzlies, flourish in size and numbers in the Tongass National Forest, America’s largest, because they gorge on spawning salmon. As they wait for fish to enter streams, they eat berries.

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In this June 2017 file photo, a black bear cub forages for food along a salmon stream below a bear viewing spot for tourists in the Mendenhall Glacier Recreation Area in Juneau, Alaska.

(AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)


The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Sixth Mass Extinction, animals, environment, green

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