Biologists Discover New Species of Glowing Pumpkin Toadlet | Science | Smithsonian Magazine

By Riley Black
SMITHSONIANMAG.COM
APRIL 28, 2021 2:00PM
Pumpkin toadlets look exactly like what their name suggests. Less than half an inch-long, these tiny, orange frogs hop around the sweltering forests along Brazil’s Atlantic coast. But how many species of these frogs are there? The question isn’t just important to biology, but for conservationists seeking to preserve unique rainforest amphibians.

To researchers, pumpkin toadlets belong to the genus Brachycephalus. Determining how many Brachycephalus species exist, however, isn’t easy. As many as 36 have been named, but researchers sometimes disagree on which species are valid or which species a particular population of frogs should be assigned to. Different populations of these frogs look very similar to each other, not to mention that their genetic makeup only varies slightly.
— Read on www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/biologists-discover-new-species-glowing-pumpkin-toadlet-180977610/

Amazing fossil shark skeleton is the first of its kind

Photograph by Paulo Oliveria, Alamy Stock Photo

Skulls and a nearly complete skeleton offer our best look yet at a shark that lived about 360 million years ago.

By Tim Vernimmen

Shark teeth are among the most commonly found fossils around the world, yet the cartilage-based skeletons of their owners were rarely preserved. As a result, researchers have no idea what many early sharks looked like, even if they were once very abundant.

That’s why paleontologists working in the eastern Anti-Atlas Mountains of Morocco were stunned to find several skulls and an almost complete skeleton from two species of Phoebodus, a primitive shark genus that, until now, was known only from its three-cusped teeth. Described this week in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the fossils reveal that Phoebodus had an eel-like body and a long snout, which makes it look a lot like the frilled shark that still roams the deep sea today. (Explore our interactive showcasing the sizes of the world’s sharks.)

And while these two animals are only distantly related, the teeth of Phoebodus and those of the frilled shark look really similar as well, suggesting that their feeding modes didn’t differ drastically.

“Many modern sharks have serrated teeth that allow them to cut up their prey before ingesting the pieces,” says study coauthor Christian Klug of the University of Zurich. By contrast, the cone-shaped, inward-pointing teeth of Phoebodus and the frilled shark are only good for capturing prey and then swallowing it whole.

Snapping sideways

The fossilized Phoebodus remains were found in a layer estimated to be about 360 to 370 million years old, in what used to be a shallow sea basin. When the sharks died there, the limited water circulation and low oxygen levels created an environment in which their bodies were largely left alone by bacteria, scavengers, and currents, preserving them for posterity.

The resulting fossils are damaged by sediments and time, but Klug and his team were able to CT scan some of the material they recovered from the Moroccan mountains to get an even better picture of what these primitive sharks looked like during the Late Devonian period.

The quantity of data that is emerging from studies such as this is staggering,” says John Maisey, a paleontologist with the American Museum of Natural History who was not part of the study team. “We are experiencing a renaissance of anatomy.”

The scans revealed some striking similarities to the frilled shark, not just in body shape, but in the teeth as well, which offers some clues to how the more ancient predators might have hunted. (Find out why great white sharks may be responsible for the extinction of the Megalodon.)

“The frilled shark is a specialized predator, with the ability to suddenly burst forward to catch its prey,” says David Ebert, a modern shark expert at the Pacific Shark Research Center who has studied the frilled shark for decades. “The inward-pointing teeth then help to make sure the prey can only go one way: into its throat. Maybe Phoebodus did something similar.”

Because the reclusive frilled shark is so rarely observed, however, there are many outstanding questions about the way it feeds. So, for a better understanding of how Phoebodus may have gotten its food, the researchers also looked at another unrelated species with a surprisingly similar skull, jaw, and teeth, a large freshwater fish called the alligator gar. Like Phoebodus, the alligator gar has long jaws and a flat skull, which limit its bite force. Yet there are also benefits to having a head like that, says Justin Lemberg of the University of Chicago, who has studied the gars’ feeding behavior.

They hunt in open water, where they don’t have the luxury of choosing which direction their next meal will come from. And flat heads and long jaws are great for snapping sideways at prey.”

Physics of feeding

While it may seem unusual to compare the feeding strategies of species as different as sharks and gars, such analyses are often among the best ways paleontologists have to reconstruct how extinct animals behaved, Lemberg says.

Read more here Nat Geo Fossil Shark

Cetaceans

Cetaceans, what is that? A majority of people have never heard this word before.

Description of Cetaceans: are aquatic mammals constituting the infraorder Cetacea. There are around 89 living species, which are divided into two parvorders. The first is the Odontoceti, the toothed whales, which consist of around 70 species, including the dolphin, porpoise, beluga whale, narwhal, sperm whale, and beaked whale.

According to WWF and other marine biologists, Cetaceans are Facing a multitude of hazards.

Whales, dolphins and porpoises are succumbing to new and ever-increasing dangers. Collisions with ships and entanglement in fishing gear threaten the North Atlantic right whale with extinction, while the Critically Endangered Western North Pacific gray whale is at serious risk because of intensive oil and gas development in its feeding grounds.

Alarm is also growing over other hazards including toxic contamination, the effects of climate change and habitat degradation.

It’s illegal, but it still happens: commercial whaling

Despite a moratorium on commercial whaling and the declaration of virtually the whole of the Southern Ocean as a whale sanctuary, each year over 1,000 whales are killed for the commercial market.

This is why we need appropriate aquariums for these cetaceans. We need to have a safe haven for them, where they are not going to be hunted down or used as entertainment. We have conservative/Protected lands for our land wildlife.

Why can’t we have the same for the Cetaceans, by making a barrier big enough to protect while also not damaging the environment, yet given them plenty of room. We have the technology to do this for them.

Because as we well know hunters will NEVER STOP. We have to start somewhere to save the lives of aquatic life.

She Came To Shore to Lay Her Eggs and These People Laughed as They Stoned Her to Death

• by: Care2 Team

• recipient: Police Department of Chalkida

By most accounts, the island of Evia in Greece is paradise, with sandy beaches, beautiful hikes and gorgeous sea views it’s no wonder why so many people flock to it every summer.

But for one visitor, the island paradise turned into a nightmare and a quick stop became her final resting place.

Beachgoers in the city of Chalkida were enjoying a swim when they were suddenly joined by a visitor. Amongst the swimmers, was an enormous blue swordfish that had come to shore to lay her eggs. At first, the locals were frightened, mistaking it for a shark, but once they realized it was a swordfish, a commonly eaten fish in the region. They began to harass and chase it.

Soon a whole group of people were trying everything possible to get their hands on it. They threw rocks and other objects at it while others tried to grab it directly. The obviously distressed fish had nowhere to turn for safety as it was surrounded by would-be captors.

The video shows the gruesome incident and unfortunately, it doesn´t have a happy ending. According to reports, the swordfish was killed meaning that its, anywhere between, 1 million and 30 million eggs a female swordfish can lay, probably never got a chance at life.

Netizens are outraged at the cruelty and ignorance of the people responsible for the fish´s death. They, like us, want justice for the animal that was just hoping to continue her species but was brutally killed along the way.

Some might say “It´s just a fish.” But it is also a living thing and deserves to be treated with respect. What the beachgoers did to the poor fish was unnecessary and unforgivable and since each and every one of the guilty parties was captured on film, Greek authorities should take action to punish them.

Please sign the petition and ask authorities in Chalkida to find the abusers and charge them with animal cruelty.

https://www.thepetitionsite.com/542/298/800/she-came-to-shore-to-lay-her-eggs-and-these-people-laughed-as-they-stoned-her-to-death/

Letter To Abe Shinzo: Prime Minister Of Japan

Dear Prime Minister Shinzo,

I am writing in regards to the cruelty currently taking place at the New Yashima Aquarium amongst others, located in Takamatsu, Japan. For more than 8 years aquatic animals have had to endure a life of cruel small enclosures, dirty tanks and trainers treating them as mere items. Recently, I have received photo evidence of a trainer riding one of the dolphins as a surfboard in full Power Ranger costume. This type of incident is not how any animal should be treated. Even still there is also video evidence of dolphins smashing their head into the glass of the tank. These animals are not happy nor are they stable. They are agitated, stressed and even depressed. These animals need to be released to a rescue group that has the ability to rehabilitate them. So they can go back into the wild and be with the rest of the pods. Keeping animals for entertainment purposes is not how we protect or conserve their lives. It becomes more about greed and franchising. When it should be about education, protection as well as repopulating the species. I believe Japan has lost sight of this and now is the time to change that for the better of both human and animal life.

Please consider urging the rightful authorities to investigate and shut down the aquariums in question. While also releasing the animals to PETA-Asia.

Aquariums that need investigation:

New Yashima
Inubosaki Marine Park
Enoshima Aquarium

All of which have evidence of abuse. That can be found online via Youtube and the review sections on Google. I have included these links and photos.

I have also included with this letter petition signatures. I hope you will consider hearing our plea to help the animals at these aquariums and parks.

Thank you for your time

Regards
Mrs. Mary Robbins

Mrs. Robbins has been working diligently to get authorities to investigate these parks and aquariums in question. We are working with her to see that these places become investigated and closed.

Sumatran Last Stand For Orangutans: Petition

I stand with Rainforest Action Network in calling on the US snack food industry to help stop the destruction of Indonesia’s rainforests for palm oil.

The rainforests of Indonesia are some of the most biodiverse forests in the world and home to a number of endangered species, like Sumatran orangutans, Sumatran tigers, pygmy elephants and rhinoceros. These rainforests continue to be destroyed to produce palm oil so it can be used in the manufacturing of food products, including in snack foods and sweets that are some of America’s favorite brand name products.

I would prefer my crackers, chocolate, cookies, peanut butter, and ice cream not to come with orangutan extinction. That is why I am standing with RAN in calling on snack food companies to protect Indonesia’s rainforests and all of the people and wildlife who depend on them by cutting palm oil tied to rainforest destruction and social conflict out of their supply chains.

Petition By Rainforest Action Network

Save The Orangutans

Stop Elephant Poaching: Petition

Poaching efforts in Myanmar are depleting the world’s elephant populations faster than ever before. At the start of the 20th century, there were 100,000 elephants across Asia. That number has dwindled to just 40,000.

Not only are tusks being sold, but also elephant teeth, skin, and trunk. You must crack down on the gangs of Myanmar that are hunting down these elephants and bring them to full justice.

Stop Poaching Elephants by Protect Endangered Species.

Why Elephants are being poached –

According to the Smithsonian Insider Asian elephants are being poached for their skin and meat yet not their tusks. Since the Elephants do not have predominantly large tusks like their African cousins. This epidemic places calf’s and adult elephants at risk to be slaughtered.

Their skin is being used for furniture, clothing, and jewelry. While the meat is being used for food and medical purposes. However, the meat does not have any medical property. It’s basically a scam to make money off of false hope.

All in all, it’s greed that is the culprit driving the poaching campaign.

Tennessee county investigating rash of zebra bites last two weeks

SEYMOUR, Tenn. (WATE) – The Blount County Sheriff’s Office is investigating reports of people being bitten by a zebra in the Seymour area.

Deputies say there have been four reports of zebra bites over the past two weeks at Brookhaven Animal Farm on I.C. King Road in Seymour, which is a private farm that is not open to the public.

The first incident was on June 21. Deputies say they got a call from Blount Memorial Hospital that a 26-year-old man had been bitten on the hand by a zebra at the farm.

Two more reports came in on July 2 that two women, ages 22 and 23, had been bitten on the upper arm and back, respectively. One was treated at Blount Memorial and the other at UT Medical Center.

The fourth report came on July 3 where a 22-year-old woman was bitten on her right bicep.

The sheriff’s office says they are unaware of any state laws regarding privately owned exotic animals.

The sheriff’s office says the cases are still under investigation.

News Source: https://www.wate.com/news/blount-county-deputies-investigate-zebra-bites-in-seymour/

Tennessee Exotic Animal Laws:

§ 70-4-401. Crimes and offenses

(a) It is unlawful for any person to possess, transport, import, export, buy, sell, barter, propagate or transfer any wildlife, whether indigenous to this state or not, except as provided by this part and rules and regulations promulgated by the Tennessee fish and wildlife commission pursuant to this part.

(b) No person shall possess Class I or Class II wildlife without having documentary evidence showing the name and address of the supplier of such wildlife and date of acquisition.

Zebras bite like any other animal when agitated, in distress, mating season, and or feel threatened.

Since this is ”private” farmland for exotic animals. Why is it that people of public persuasion, had access to this farm? To our knowledge, any type of private land is closed to the public and yet people seem to visit there often. Occasionally, having weddings and or feeding the animals there. As you will see on the Facebook page – https://m.facebook.com/pages/Brookhaven-Farm/Brookhaven-Farm/161788680506207

Hopefully, the officers on this case can investigate this issue appropriately where no animal will suffer due to human, sorry to say idiocy.