Monday, November 23, 2009

Science Links

A BBC news article seems to point to the "Overkill Hypothesis" as the major cause of the extinction of the American megafauna.

Studies of dung preserved in a Wisconsin lake suggest

"... a slow decline in megafauna that began about 15,000 years ago and appeared to last for about 1,000 years.

"This discovery rules out one idea that the extinction might have been caused by an extraterrestrial object striking Earth 13,000 years ago.


"This study is exciting because we're getting some solid data about the ecological consequences of the removal of these animals," said Ms Gill.

"After their decline we see an increase in the more warm-adapted deciduous trees, and an increase in charcoal [which means there was] an increase in the number of forest fires."

The last may have some bearing on my Passenger Pigeon project, A Feathered Tempest.

The Eleanora's falcon already leads a weird life, nesting on Mediterranean islands in the fall to intercept the songbird migration. Now it appears to also make one of the most amazing migrations.

"In total, the bird flies more than 9,500 kilometres across the African continent from the Balearic and Columbretes Islands before reaching the island of Madagascar. Some of the previously-obscure secrets now revealed by the scientists show that these falcons migrate by both day and night, and cross supposed ecological barriers such as the Sahara Desert." (HT Laura Niven).

A gallery of the wild apple forests of the Tian Shan. I have been there let's hope they don't all fall to villas for rich Kazakh businessmen. (HT David Williamson).

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