We humans are not a stagnant species.Take the Bajau (pronounced Bah-joe). They’re a group of about 5,000 people that have lived on one of Indonesia’s ‘s 17,500 islands for centuries. The Bajau they live close to the water and spend a lot of their time diving for food in the sea, a hydrophilic lifestyle that…
Gardeners puzzled by the sudden emergence of an unusual orchid or despairing that their annuals have vanished should take heart. Scientist have discovered that some British flowers can lie dormant under the ground for up to 20 years, emerging into bloom only when the conditions are just right. Native flowers which have the capability of sheltering underground include the lady’s slipper orchid, the dark-red helleborine, spring vetch, autumn’s lady’s tresses, the broad bucker fern and the bee orchid. Researchers at the University of Sussex found at least 114 plant species are capable of living dormant under the soil for up to two decades, enabling them to survive through difficult times. Orchids and ferns seem particularly adept at slumbering for years at a time, the authors discovered. Prof Michael Hutchings, Emeritus Professor in Ecology at the University of Sussex, said: “It would seem to be paradoxical that plants would evolve this behaviour because being underground means they cannot photosynthesise, flower or reproduce. “And yet this study has shown that many plants in a large number of species frequently exhibit prolonged dormancy. Many of these species have found ways to overcome the loss of opportunities to photosynthesise during dormancy, especially by evolving mechanisms enabling them to obtain carbohydrates and nutrients from soil-based fungal associates. “This allows them to survive and even thrive during dormant periods.” The research found that dormancy is triggered when the weather is poor, or there is a new threat from herbivores or competing plants. Sometimes winters are so mild that the plant does not realise that spring has begun. Dormancy in seeds has been widely known about and studied for decades but the phenomenon of dormancy within plants that have left the seed stage behind and embarked upon adult life is far less well-known and understood. The study, led by University of Tokyo associate professor Richard Shefferson, is the first detailed analysis of the causes. Dormancy appeared to be more common near the equator, where threats from factors such as disease, competition, herbivores and fire are more severe. Co-author Dr Eric Menges of Archbold Biological Station in Florida, USA, said: “In fire-prone areas, there appears to be an advantage to plants remaining dormant and then sprouting after fire when favourable conditions exist for growth and flowering”. Prof Hutchings added: “Dormancy has evolved and persisted numerous times throughout the evolutionary history of the land plants. “This suggests not only that it has proved beneficial under many different ecological circumstances, but also that its evolution may be achievable through the occurrence of a small number of mutations at only a few genetic loci.” The research was published in the journal Biology Letters.
Jim Bridenstine, perhaps the most politically controversial NASA administrator in history, was confirmed today (April 19) on a party-line vote in the Senate, giving the US space agency a permanent leader for the first time in 15 months. The 50-49 vote puts the Oklahoma congressman in charge of the sprawling space agency and its $20-billion…
Have you ever wondered why land animals are so small today? Fossils have shown us that many dinosaurs were absolutely massive beasts, evolving over millions and millions of years to become huge, intimidating creature that could crush small animals under their mighty feet, and modern day mammals, by contrast, are tiny. Sure, elephants are big, but that seems to be a rare exception rather than the rule. As it turns out, the plight of many modern elephant species tells us everything we need to know about why mammals are so small: humans keep killing all the big ones.
A new study from a team of researchers from several American universities points to humans being the main reason why modern day animals are so tiny compared to the past. The research was published in Science. This is why we can't have nice things.
“We used to have animals on the Earth that weighed over 10 tons,” Felisa Smith, a paleoecologist at the University of New Mexico and co-author of the research, told Seeker. “Now the biggest thing is an elephant that on average is only about three and a half-ish, and if they go extinct, then we’re talking about things no bigger than 900 kilos (2,000 pounds). And that’s maximum size. If you look at mean size, it’s much, much different.”
The work focuses on what life roamed the earth in the post-dinosaur world, with creatures like the the wooly rhinoceros, mastodon, and the giant sloth which was as large as an elephant. These examples of "megafauna" began to disappear right around the time human ancestors pushed their way out of Africa. The scientists have drawn a pretty damning link between large-scale extinction of huge mammals and the arrival of human ancestors with insatiable appetites.
Even more unsettling than what our family tree has done to the animal kingdom may be what lies ahead. Smith and her fellow researchers suggest that, based on the trends humans have set in motion, such as climate change, larger modern animals face a similar fate as the ones we've already pushed to extinction.
"If we don’t cope with it, we actually are going to end up with an Earth where there is nothing bigger than a cow," Smith says. "And that’s a depressing thought for me personally.”
The Bajau people of Southeast Asia are among the most accomplished divers in the world. In the summer of 2015, Melissa Ilardo got to see how good they are firsthand. She remembers diving with Pai Bayubu, who had already gone fairly deep when he saw a giant clam, 30 to 50 feet below him. “He just dropped down,” Ilardo recalls. “He pointed at it, and then he was there. Underwater, the Bajau are as comfortable as most people are on land. They walk on the seafloor. They have complete control of their breath and body. They spear fish, no problem, first try.”
A SpaceX rocket launched from Cape Canaveral Wednesday evening carrying NASA’s latest planet-hunting telescope. Known as TESS, the satellite will look for planets capable of supporting life over a two-year mission.
NEW YORK (AP) — A postal worker who prosecutors say hoarded away more than 17,000 pieces of undelivered mail in New York City allegedly told investigators he was overwhelmed by the amount of mail he had to deliver.
With his straw hat, rubber waders, and a quartet of 12-foot fishing poles, Peter Schilling is the modern version of an ancient archetype: the surf fisherman, casting knee-deep in the ocean foam. At least twice a week, Mr. Schilling casts the breakers for pompano, whiting, or spotted trout, driving up to Amelia Island from his home in Jacksonville.
According to memos by former FBI Director James Comey, Donald Trump disputed allegations about cavorting with prostitutes in Moscow by insisting that he didn’t spend the night in Moscow during his 2013 trip. But the record clearly shows he did.
Sorry to say but in recent days there has been an abundance of apologies from public figures. Mark Zuckerberg, Laura Ingraham, Tony Robbins, Theresa May, Jimmy Kimmel – all have issued some form of regret over words spoken, actions taken, or past neglect. On Thursday, Philadelphia’s police commissioner apologized to two black men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, who were arrested while merely sitting in a Starbucks.
Thousands of students walked out of classes across the United States on Friday, marking the 19th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School with a show of unity aimed at pressuring politicians to enact tighter gun restrictions.
The one-day event held here Tuesday was explicitly designed to to show that the privacy and security sector has a healthy share of female and minority experts who can speak to a wide spectrum of issues relevant to a male-dominated industry. OURSA, short for Our Security Advocates, was conceived in early March after a major security convention, the RSA conference, announced a list of 20 keynote presenters with only one woman: Monica Lewinsky, who was to speak on cyberbullying.
Basyle “Boz” Tchividjian has devoted most of his career to an emotionally and spiritually wrenching task. A former prosecutor, he’s been investigating charges of sexual misconduct and child abuse for nearly three decades. “It was an eye opener for us, we left our soul behind after the investigation,” says Mr. Tchividjian, who in 2003 founded an organization called GRACE, or Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment.
The freediving Bajau people of Southeast Asia, however, are not your average people. Scientists have discovered the group of “sea nomads” may have developed genetic adaptations that allow them to free dive to depths of up to 230 ft. Bajau members report lasting up to thirteen minutes underwater in a single dive. For more than 1,000 years the Bajau have lived off of the seas in Southeast Asia.