I'm a herpetologist by training but a naturalist at heart. My masters thesis is looking into the Panamint alligator lizard, Elgaria panamintina. In particular I'm focusing on identifying its range and testing out a variety of novel techniques which may benefit the field of herpetology as a whole. I post things that interest me and often post updates on what I'm doing in the vertebrate museum, in the field, or in the lab.

 

minazarei:


asperatus cloud x

IT’S LIKE WATCHING THE WAVES ABOVE YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN

minazarei:

asperatus cloud x

IT’S LIKE WATCHING THE WAVES ABOVE YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN

(Source: dilfgod)

Me: But I have about fifty books at home I haven't read, there's no reason for me to buy these.

My brain: Okay, but consider this: more books.

scinote:

What’s for Dinner? Scientists Uncover Purpose behind Helicoprion’s Distinctive Teeth

I bet you thought Johnny Depp had it bad, having scissors instead of hands. Well, imagine having a buzz saw instead of teeth. Or rather, a buzz saw made entirely of teeth. Sounds like a horror movie, doesn’t it?
But what you’re actually imagining is the everyday life of Helicoprion, a prehistoric ratfish who lived 310 million years ago in the late Carboniferous. Oddly enough, the idea of having a circling death-wheel of teeth (or tooth whorl, as scientists call it) is actually nothing new.
The first Helicoprion fossil was described by Russian geologist Alexander Karpinsky in 1899. There were just two problems the discoverer faced: where the tooth whorl was located on the body, and why this 20-foot fish-of-death had a spiral of deadly fish-teeth at all!
In the century since its discovery, scientists had placed Helicoprion’s teeth all over its body— as a spiral jutting off the tip of the nose, as spines protruding from its back, or as a spiral of ever replacing teeth dangling from its lower jaw, among other (sometimes more fanciful than scientific) ideas.
In 2013, thanks to CT scans of well-preserved fossils, it was finally decided that the tooth whorl was located in Helicoprion’s lower jaw, much like the image above.
But how Helicoprion used this built-in toothy yoyo remained a mystery until September 2, 2014, when biologist Jason Ramsay and the team from 2013 published their findings and finally answered the second question.
According to the researchers, Helicoprion ate by biting its prey, rather than suction feeding, as had been previously proposed. Its favorite dishes were probably prehistoric squid, octopus, and their spiral-shelled cousins, the nautilus. This is where a toothy wheel of death comes in handy. By biting down at the right angle, Helicoprion would have been able to pull a prehistoric nautilus out of its shell, into his terrifying carnival ride of teeth, and straight down his throat all with one fluid movement.
I, on the other hand, have problems peeling an orange. And while I enjoy my orange, I’ll ponder my contentment in learning about another prehistoric mystery, solved by science.
If you’d like to learn more, click on the image above or read the original paper.

Submitted by Nick V, Discoverer.
Edited by Carrie K.

scinote:

What’s for Dinner? Scientists Uncover Purpose behind Helicoprion’s Distinctive Teeth

I bet you thought Johnny Depp had it bad, having scissors instead of hands. Well, imagine having a buzz saw instead of teeth. Or rather, a buzz saw made entirely of teeth. Sounds like a horror movie, doesn’t it?

But what you’re actually imagining is the everyday life of Helicoprion, a prehistoric ratfish who lived 310 million years ago in the late Carboniferous. Oddly enough, the idea of having a circling death-wheel of teeth (or tooth whorl, as scientists call it) is actually nothing new.

The first Helicoprion fossil was described by Russian geologist Alexander Karpinsky in 1899. There were just two problems the discoverer faced: where the tooth whorl was located on the body, and why this 20-foot fish-of-death had a spiral of deadly fish-teeth at all!

In the century since its discovery, scientists had placed Helicoprion’s teeth all over its body— as a spiral jutting off the tip of the nose, as spines protruding from its back, or as a spiral of ever replacing teeth dangling from its lower jaw, among other (sometimes more fanciful than scientific) ideas.

In 2013, thanks to CT scans of well-preserved fossils, it was finally decided that the tooth whorl was located in Helicoprion’s lower jaw, much like the image above.

But how Helicoprion used this built-in toothy yoyo remained a mystery until September 2, 2014, when biologist Jason Ramsay and the team from 2013 published their findings and finally answered the second question.

According to the researchers, Helicoprion ate by biting its prey, rather than suction feeding, as had been previously proposed. Its favorite dishes were probably prehistoric squid, octopus, and their spiral-shelled cousins, the nautilus. This is where a toothy wheel of death comes in handy. By biting down at the right angle, Helicoprion would have been able to pull a prehistoric nautilus out of its shell, into his terrifying carnival ride of teeth, and straight down his throat all with one fluid movement.

I, on the other hand, have problems peeling an orange. And while I enjoy my orange, I’ll ponder my contentment in learning about another prehistoric mystery, solved by science.

If you’d like to learn more, click on the image above or read the original paper.

Submitted by Nick V, Discoverer.

Edited by Carrie K.

Why isn’t there a website that shows you animals based on what color they are?

I have a lot of white shrink plastic and I’m not in the mood to color lots (aka feeling kinda lazy) so I want to draw a bunch of animals that are normally white in color… and I feel like there should be a website that can show you all the solid white animals or all the solid blue animals.

It should be a thing. Why isn’t it a thing?

lollipopatrice:

ucresearch:

The Slingjaw Wrasse
Peter Wainwright is a fish biologist at UC Davis and studies the many ways fish eat their food.  His lab has a YouTube page that shows an array of fish eating their prey. In the animation above the slingjaw wrasse essentially creates a suction tube to eat small fish by unhinging its jaw.

I went to watch the videos because this is awesome to see, since it’s a pretty usual part of carnivorous fish anatomy presented in a not so usual way. I did not expect to start laugh sobbing over fish because oh my god the “fingered dragonet”

lollipopatrice:

ucresearch:

The Slingjaw Wrasse

Peter Wainwright is a fish biologist at UC Davis and studies the many ways fish eat their food.  His lab has a YouTube page that shows an array of fish eating their prey. In the animation above the slingjaw wrasse essentially creates a suction tube to eat small fish by unhinging its jaw.

I went to watch the videos because this is awesome to see, since it’s a pretty usual part of carnivorous fish anatomy presented in a not so usual way. I did not expect to start laugh sobbing over fish because oh my god the “fingered dragonet”

image

The 2014 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest is halfway over… and my fourteen top picks all made the first cut! (See all the entries here)
I’m curious to see how they’ll fare tomorrow, this entry, # 189 is my current favorite to win (but I think it could just as easily be #115 or #85) but there’s a lot of good contenders this year with 55 entries making it to the second round.
I’ll be watching the contest live tomorrow (livestreaming here from 10am EST until the contest is over, the winner should be announced by noon EST).
Don’t know about the duck stamp or want to learn more? I highly recommend the book: The Wild Duck Chase for an interesting look into the history of the duck stamp, I learned a lot and it was a fun read.

The 2014 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest is halfway over… and my fourteen top picks all made the first cut! (See all the entries here)

I’m curious to see how they’ll fare tomorrow, this entry, # 189 is my current favorite to win (but I think it could just as easily be #115 or #85) but there’s a lot of good contenders this year with 55 entries making it to the second round.

I’ll be watching the contest live tomorrow (livestreaming here from 10am EST until the contest is over, the winner should be announced by noon EST).

Don’t know about the duck stamp or want to learn more? I highly recommend the book: The Wild Duck Chase for an interesting look into the history of the duck stamp, I learned a lot and it was a fun read.

lotsofbirds:

River Tern (Sterna aurantia)
Distribution: South Asia
IUCN Status: Near Threatened
{ Ecology } { Vocalizations } { eBird }
(Photo by Ruben Alexander // CC 2.0)

lotsofbirds:

River Tern (Sterna aurantia)

Distribution: South Asia

IUCN Status: Near Threatened

Ecology } { Vocalizations } { eBird }

(Photo by Ruben Alexander // CC 2.0)

scalestails:

Please! Feeding ducks and geese also creates other problems like:
Duckling Malnutrition: In an area where ducks are regularly fed bread, ducklings will not receive adequate nutrition for proper growth and development. Furthermore, because ducks will naturally seek out an easy food source such as human handouts, ducklings will not learn to forage for natural foods as easily.
Overcrowding: Where an easy food source is abundant, ducks and other waterfowl will lay more eggs and the pond or lake will become overcrowded. This makes it more difficult for the birds to seek out healthier food sources and increases the likelihood of territorial aggression.
Pollution: When too much bread is offered to ducks, not all of it will be eaten. The soggy, uneaten bread is unsightly and rotting bread can create noxious odors as well as lead to greater algae growth that can clog natural waterways. This concentrates the pollution and can eventually eradicate fish and other life in the vicinity.
Diseases: Feeding ducks bread can increase the spread of diseases in two ways. First, a carbohydrate-rich diet leads to greater defecation, and bird feces easily harbor bacteria responsible for numerous diseases, including avian botulism. Second, moldy bread can cause aspergillosis, a fatal lung infection that can decimate entire duck and waterfowl flocks.
Pest Attraction: Rotting supplies of food leftover from sated ducks will attract other unwelcome pests such as rats, mice and insects. These pests can also harbor additional diseases that can be dangerous to humans.
Loss of Natural Behavior: When birds become accustomed to handouts, they lose their natural fear of humans and may become aggressive in order to get more food. Their loss of fear can also cause other dangers, such as a willingness to cross busy roads in order to reach picnickers and other likely sources of food.
Source: http://birding.about.com/od/birdfeeders/a/feedingducksbread.htm
More sources:
http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/health/ehadm/swimming/pdf/no_feed_ducks.pdf
http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/Portals/9/pdf/goose%20conflicts/gooseconflict-4.pdf
http://voices.yahoo.com/why-not-feeding-ducks-643061.html?cat=58
http://therapidian.org/please-dont-feed-ducks

scalestails:

Please! Feeding ducks and geese also creates other problems like:

  • Duckling Malnutrition: In an area where ducks are regularly fed bread, ducklings will not receive adequate nutrition for proper growth and development. Furthermore, because ducks will naturally seek out an easy food source such as human handouts, ducklings will not learn to forage for natural foods as easily.

  • Overcrowding: Where an easy food source is abundant, ducks and other waterfowl will lay more eggs and the pond or lake will become overcrowded. This makes it more difficult for the birds to seek out healthier food sources and increases the likelihood of territorial aggression.

  • Pollution: When too much bread is offered to ducks, not all of it will be eaten. The soggy, uneaten bread is unsightly and rotting bread can create noxious odors as well as lead to greater algae growth that can clog natural waterways. This concentrates the pollution and can eventually eradicate fish and other life in the vicinity.

  • Diseases: Feeding ducks bread can increase the spread of diseases in two ways. First, a carbohydrate-rich diet leads to greater defecation, and bird feces easily harbor bacteria responsible for numerous diseases, including avian botulism. Second, moldy bread can cause aspergillosis, a fatal lung infection that can decimate entire duck and waterfowl flocks.

  • Pest Attraction: Rotting supplies of food leftover from sated ducks will attract other unwelcome pests such as rats, mice and insects. These pests can also harbor additional diseases that can be dangerous to humans.

  • Loss of Natural Behavior: When birds become accustomed to handouts, they lose their natural fear of humans and may become aggressive in order to get more food. Their loss of fear can also cause other dangers, such as a willingness to cross busy roads in order to reach picnickers and other likely sources of food.

Source: http://birding.about.com/od/birdfeeders/a/feedingducksbread.htm

More sources:

http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/health/ehadm/swimming/pdf/no_feed_ducks.pdf

http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/Portals/9/pdf/goose%20conflicts/gooseconflict-4.pdf

http://voices.yahoo.com/why-not-feeding-ducks-643061.html?cat=58

http://therapidian.org/please-dont-feed-ducks

Sold my orca bracelet last week (yay!) and decided it was time to find a way to curve the bracelet charms while testing ink as an alternative to the pencils.
Trial run was a beluga and Commerson’s dolphin, the beluga was a failure (ink smudged while baking), but the Commerson’s turned out great!
I don’t think I’ll switch to ink since it was rather smudgy even though it was much faster, but I did find a great way to gently curve the charms. 
I’ll be listing this one in my etsy shop in a few days once I’m sure the finish cured correctly over the ink. This also gives me enough time to finish setting up the new shop (craftybirder.etsy.com) where all my handdrawn charms will be going!

Sold my orca bracelet last week (yay!) and decided it was time to find a way to curve the bracelet charms while testing ink as an alternative to the pencils.

Trial run was a beluga and Commerson’s dolphin, the beluga was a failure (ink smudged while baking), but the Commerson’s turned out great!

I don’t think I’ll switch to ink since it was rather smudgy even though it was much faster, but I did find a great way to gently curve the charms. 

I’ll be listing this one in my etsy shop in a few days once I’m sure the finish cured correctly over the ink. This also gives me enough time to finish setting up the new shop (craftybirder.etsy.com) where all my handdrawn charms will be going!

thegreenwolf:

zooophagous:

wildwesjames:

onegreenplanet:

Don’t Think it Matters When You Throw Your Gum Onto the Ground? Stuck Hummingbird Begs to Differ

This is really important. Besides the fact that small animals can become stuck in gum larger ones often choke on it or have their mouths obstructed by it.
Humans may be able to pass gum through our systems but most small birds, reptiles, and mammals can’t. Gum looks and smells a lot like food to other animals and it can mean their demise if they try to swallow it. 
It only takes a few seconds to wrap your gum up and put it somewhere responsible, you could just save a life. 

I never would have thought gum of all things could fuck up a hummingbird. Guess it isn’t just gross- for the wrong critter it’s dangerous.

Why the hell can’t people just throw their trash in the proper receptacle?

thegreenwolf:

zooophagous:

wildwesjames:

onegreenplanet:

Don’t Think it Matters When You Throw Your Gum Onto the Ground? Stuck Hummingbird Begs to Differ

This is really important. Besides the fact that small animals can become stuck in gum larger ones often choke on it or have their mouths obstructed by it.

Humans may be able to pass gum through our systems but most small birds, reptiles, and mammals can’t. Gum looks and smells a lot like food to other animals and it can mean their demise if they try to swallow it. 

It only takes a few seconds to wrap your gum up and put it somewhere responsible, you could just save a life. 

I never would have thought gum of all things could fuck up a hummingbird. Guess it isn’t just gross- for the wrong critter it’s dangerous.

Why the hell can’t people just throw their trash in the proper receptacle?

amnhnyc:


Lonesome George, the last Pinta Island giant tortoise, was unveiled at the Museum this afternoon. He will be on public view for just over 3 months, through January 4, 2015. Museum scientists worked closely with taxidermy experts to preserve Lonesome George as he appeared in life. 
Learn more about Lonesome George. 

amnhnyc:

Lonesome George, the last Pinta Island giant tortoise, was unveiled at the Museum this afternoon. He will be on public view for just over 3 months, through January 4, 2015. Museum scientists worked closely with taxidermy experts to preserve Lonesome George as he appeared in life. 

Learn more about Lonesome George

Finally had a chance to check out the sundial bridge in Redding today!

We were doing follow-up/monitoring of a handful of restoration sites in Redding/Red Bluff today and ended up at this bridge to check out some Partners for Fish & Wildlife signs that were repaired recently. Especially when I have the secondary benefit of taking photographs for my photography class (its surprisingly difficult to get 60 exposures that meet the specific criteria. One of these three will likely be my final photo for this assignment).

lotsofbirds:

Splendid Fairywren (Malurus splendens)
Distribution: Australia
IUCN Status: Least Concern
{ Ecology } { Vocalizations } { eBird }
(Photo by David Cook // CC 2.0)

lotsofbirds:

Splendid Fairywren (Malurus splendens)

Distribution: Australia

IUCN Status: Least Concern

Ecology } { Vocalizations } { eBird }

(Photo by David Cook // CC 2.0)