Home Features Life Feature 18 December 2018 Once more common than brown bears, cave bears didn't survive the last ice age. Could their sad end be down to their diet, or just to being bears of very little brain? By Chris BaraniukIF YOU go down underground today, look out for a big surprise. If you go into a cave, anyway, be sure to adjust your eyes. For many caves, in Europe at least, contain the remains of a curious beast. It’s not an olm or a bat that’s deceased – it’s a cave bear. Cave bears died out at least 24,000 years ago, but they were once very common. In fact, they left so many bones that during the first world war, they were used to provide phosphates for fertilisers and bombs. Plenty of skulls and skeletons still remain in caves across a swathe of Eurasia, from Spain to south-central Russia, and this treasure trove has allowed palaeontologists to piece together the bear’s story. We know, for … [Read more...] about The mysterious demise of Europe’s massive cave bears
Polar bears extinction
Pleurothallis portillae is one odd-looking orchid. Sporting a small nub of a flower nestled in a long, bulbous leaf that droops like a pair of string beans, it’s considered fashionably drab by collectors. But its true home is in the remote cloud forest of the Ecuadorian Andes—a region where, according to an algorithm, it’s most likely under threat of extinction. Plants have long gotten short shrift in conservation circles. Although perhaps a fifth of the kingdom’s species are at risk, according to the UK’s Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, identifying which ones are on the brink is a somewhat anecdotal business. Less than 10 percent of plant species have been assessed by the IUCN Red List, considered the preeminent global directory of extinction threat. Comprehensive evaluations, which take time and money, end up favoring so-called “charismatic” species, the lions and polar bears that grace glossy donation mailers. That, and the sheer number of known … [Read more...] about Thousands of Unstudied Plants May Be at Risk of Extinction
Video PUBLISHED: 09:00 22 September 2018 Stacia Briggs and Siofra Connor It's said that King Gurgunt and his treasure are buried in Norwich Castle mound. Picture: Jamie Honeywood Archant Let’s weave a Weird Norfolk Fairytale of our own: pull up a chair, huddle closer to the fire and let me begin with the curious tale of King Gurgunt and the Frozen Bear. In truth, we cannot claim that Norwich’s King of the Hill has any knowledge whatsoever of the frozen bear, but one should never let fact get in the way of a good fairytale and both stories are enchanting in their own strange way.Norwich Castle isn’t lacking in ghostly stories, ransacking attempts or regal visits, but our story begins long before the castle came to be, when a mythical King (always the best kind) and the son of Bellinus, decided to settle in Norwich – quite literally, as it turned out.King Gurgunt was so fond of Norwich that he built the Castle and established … [Read more...] about Weird Norfolk: King Gurgunt and the Frozen Bear of Norwich
Shake It Off: The Bengal tiger is among the few endangered species that has benefited from government conservation efforts. But its numbers continue to dwindle. Photograph by Tim Flach Culture Endangered Species Wildlife Photography Books Nature In August 2016, Tim Flach sat for hours in a pit in a remote part of southeast Russia. His goal: to snap a photo of the critically endangered saiga antelope. The heat was intense, and the few images he got were blurred and unusable. By the time he returned some six months later, it was winter and well below freezing, but he got the shot he needed.It took Flach, an award-winning photographer, about two years to put together his new anthology, Endangered, and along the way he had many such adventures. He trekked through Gabon in search of gorillas, photographed polar bears on Arctic ice flow and, in Kenya, looked the last male northern white rhino right in the eye. Earlier this year, that rhino died, leaving yet another species close to … [Read more...] about The Reasons Why Animals Are Endangered: A Look at Tim Flach’s Remarkable Photo Anthology
Tech & Science Animals Science Conservation Charismatic Megafauna Endangered Animals You see tigers on TV, on cereal boxes and in your childrens' toys. Elephants, lions, gorillas and giraffes abound in cartoons and documentaries. But despite how common images of these animals are in the media, their numbers in the real world are plummeting. Could their popularity be contributing to their decline? According to research from the French National Research Institute published Thursday in PLOS Biology, tigers, lions, elephants, giraffes, leopards, pandas, cheetahs, polar bears, wolves and gorillas (in that order) are considered the most charismatic of the “charismatic megafauna” in several western countries. And that could be contributing to their death. “Charismatic megafauna” are the animals that people tend to notice and care about more than they do small, ugly or boring animals. Researchers identified these … [Read more...] about Are The World’s Most Popular Animals Going Extinct Because Humans Love Them Too Much?