Hybridization patterns in two contact zones of grass snakes reveal a new Central European snake species | Scientific Reports
This is amazing news. Natrix natrix -previously thought to be the only grass snake in the UK – has been found to be genetically distinct from what was previously thought to be a variation rather than separate species, the newly named Natrix venaticus. Studies sampled mtDNA from existing skins and specimens and found clear genetic differences between the two, confirming Natrix venaticus as a separate and distinct species. No living snakes were harmed for the study either, which is always good news.
So I’m writing an essay about drivers of coral reef bleaching, and reading about acidification and its effects on marine mammals that secrete calcium carbonate, and this new research pops up. Interesting immediate adaptation to cope with lower pH levels in marine environments; although I’m not sure how long-term (and effective) an adaptation it might be. Similarly, some coral species and their symbionts are more tolerant of some drivers of bleaching than others. Again, in the short-term that helps those species, but it’s not clear how far beyond their normal thresholds for CO2, irradiance, thermal stress and acidification they can survive. And then there’s coral diseases… We are pushing the limits, changing environments and testing tolerance thresholds for so much of the world’s wildlife, and not in a good way.
And so the vile, arrogant brutal atrocities in the cove in Taiji, Japan continue, year after year, while the world remains blissfully ignorant of the evil these men do for six months of every year to migrating cetaceans unfortunate enough to swim past this little cove off the southern peninsula of Japan. Money is made, greed is satiated, murderous killing occurs and the world’s precious wildlife is decimated by Japan. When will this be called out and stopped as the heinous, greedy, short-sighted, violent, cruel and unacceptable activity that it is?
A fascinating read. I will never, ever understand hunters of any kind. Their logic and ethics are utterly skewed.
“But I learn that Jim Posewitz is that uniquely Western American who has made it his life’s work to improve ‘the image of hunting with an emphasis on fair chase ethics’ and has focused ‘on putting hunters at the forefront of our nation’s conservation ethic.’ He’s exactly the sort of person I find impossible to understand. Is it just semantics? When he talks of conservation, does he mean the conservation of a way of life based on when the trapper ruled and the West was won by guys who slept under the stars dreaming of the dead wolves at their feet the next morning? As Rick Bass says about hunters in his book The Ninemile Wolves, ‘there’s nothing harder to stereotype than a “hunter”.’ I would add that this is also true of trappers: they claim to love the wilderness, they call themselves sportsmen, outdoorsmen, and yet they are happy inflicting pain on animals in return for the price of their fur. Most hunters eat their prey, whereas trappers do it for money.”
Darwin’s Fish: Evolutionary controversies in the fossil record | University of Oxford Podcasts – Audio and Video Lectures
Great lecture by Matt Friedman on Darwin’s (and others’) discoveries about evolution and genetics, symmetry in fish, and other things.
Edit: I have since discovered Friedman, M. has written numerous papers on teleost fish, whilst writing my own essays. A very clever man.