Archive for November, 2004

Ice Age Bison Decline Not Due to Hunting, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 30, 2004   View Article

Climate and environmental change, not human hunters, forced the extinction of mammoths, saber-toothed cats, and many other large creatures that once roamed Siberia, Alaska, and Canada, a new study suggests.

Scientists say the changes also spurred the near obliteration of massive herds of bison that once thundered through the region of Beringia about 37,000 years ago. A land bridge formed during the last ice age, Beringia joined Asia to Alaska and northwestern Canada.

Lizards Help Explain Survival of the Not-So-Fittest

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 24, 2004   View Article

Glance at a crowd at just about any big sporting event and you’ll notice that humans are a diverse bunch. Not only the fittest have survived.

Natural selection depends as much on behavior and environmental conditions as it does on physical prowess, as demonstrated by two studies of lizards in tomorrow’s issue of the journal Nature.

Peru Bird-Watching Takes Flight With 1,800 Species

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 22, 2004   View Article

Eco-lodges are sprouting under the forest canopy, guidebooks are rolling off the presses, and Peruvians are eager to showcase their country as a bird-watcher’s paradise.

That is the message trilled by John O’Neill, an ornithologist at Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge, who has visited the country to study birds almost every year since 1961.

Vintage Wine Records Trace Climate Change to 1300s

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 17, 2004   View Article

Connoisseurs may pore over grape-harvest records in search of the perfect vintage of wine. But a team of French scientists and historians is toasting the same records for the insights they yield on past climate.

In Burgundy, France, as in other parts of Europe, the first officially decreed day of grape harvesting has been carefully noted in parish and municipal archives for at least 600 years.

How “Jesus Lizards” Walk on Water

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 16, 2004   View Article

Interpretation of Jesus Christ’s reported ability to walk on water is left to biblical scholars. But scientists have figured out how so-called Jesus lizards are able to scurry across the surfaces of ponds and streams.

The findings improve understanding of the physics involved in walking in general and may have practical use in the development of walking robots.

Does Life Exist in Antarctic Lake Buried Under Miles of Ice

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 15, 2004   View Article

Some years ago, researchers found something that sent shivers through the scientific community: a diverse community of microbial life-forms that live without sunlight or a ready supply of nutrients.

The scientists were not searching deep space when they made their find. Rather, they were sampling the bottom of a 2.5-mile-thick (4-kilometer-thick) Antarctic ice sheet.

Indonesia Peat Fires May Fuel Global Warming, Experts Say

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: November 11, 2004   View Article

As they have every dry season for the last 20 years, once lush tropical peatlands in Indonesia smoldered for weeks this year, leaving the region cloaked in a thick, carbon-rich haze.

The rainy season arrived at the end of October, squelching the flames. Even so, Jack Rieley, a peatland ecologist at the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, had no time to sigh in relief. With the rains come the floods.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach