Following on from a week ago.
The English Mastiff
The Saint Bernard
The Irish Wolfhound
Wonderful, gorgeous, handsome dogs!
Tag: Mother Nature Network
Following on from a week ago.
The English Mastiff
The Saint Bernard
The Irish Wolfhound
Wonderful, gorgeous, handsome dogs!
A few of the world’s largest breeds.
The Great Dane
The Neapolitan mastiff
The Scottish Deerhound
Dogue de Bordeaux
More next week!
It seems to me, that although the science is good it can’t be perfect!
I saw this recently and, ….. well you decide!
October 3rd, 2018.
I know I’m biased, but I think my dog is brilliant. I’ve been bringing home animals all my life — from parakeets to ducks, cats to horses. But of all my feathered and furry pets, it’s no contest: Dogs are by far the brainiest. They are quick learners and great communicators with an incredible ability to solve problems.
But a new paper in the journal Learning & Behavior finds dog intelligence is “not exceptional.”
“Through the process of working as an editor [and] seeing all this research, I definitely got a sense that we as a collective had gotten a bit overexcited about dog intelligence,” Lea told Popular Science.
History of studying dog smarts
Dogs and their brains have been studied for centuries (remember Pavlov and his bell?), but then were pushed aside for more popular studies with primates and other species. It wasn’t until the 1990s when dogs came back into focus. Lea wondered whether humans were giving dogs too much credit.
Lea and his coauthor, Britta Osthaus of Canterbury Christ Church University, studied more than 300 papers on the intelligence of dogs and other animals. They looked at research that covered three groups: carnivorans (another name for carnivores), social hunters and domesticated animals. Dogs fall into all three groups.
They discovered that when it comes to brainpower, dogs don’t particularly excel in any of the groups. There were species in each that were on par with or better than dogs in cognition comparisons. Raccoons, for example, seem to solve puzzles more easily, and hyenas seem to follow the cues of their pack more handily.
“Taking all three groups (domestic animals, social hunters and carnivorans) into account, dog cognition does not look exceptional,” said Osthaus in a statement. “We are doing dogs no favor by expecting too much of them. Dogs are dogs, and we need to take their needs and true abilities into account when considering how we treat them.”
Dogs do, however, stand out from their smart counterparts because they perform well in all three categories.
“Every species has unique intelligence,” Lea told Popular Science. “Their intelligence is what you would expect of an animal that is … recently descended from social hunters … that are carnivores and that have [also] been domesticated …There’s no other animal that fits all three of those criteria.”
Sounds pretty brilliant to me.
It seems to me that science it taking far to narrow a look at our dogs.
For if one expands the range of qualities then one can include:
……. but also intelligent.
There is something about a Huskie that takes one’s breath away. Not only because of the grace and wit with which they conduct their lives but also because the majority of them are working dogs.
So it was with interest that I read recently about the Huskies and wanted to share it with you all.
Here it is.
New genetic study finally solves the mystery.
BRYAN NELSON, October 4, 2018.
A dog DNA startup company called Embark, based out of Boston, Massachusetts, and Ithaca, New York, appears to have finally solved the mystery as to why huskies sport their beautiful blue eyes. The study is the first consumer genomics study ever conducted in a non-human model, as well as the largest canine genome-wide association study to date, reports Phys.org.
The key, it turns out, lies in the dogs’ 18th chromosome. A duplication on chromosome 18, near the ALX4 gene, was found to be strongly associated with blue eye color. The ALX4 gene plays an important role in mammalian eye development, so this association is not entirely out of left field. And interestingly, the study also found this same genetic quirk in non-merle Australian shepherds, which also tend to have blue eyes.
This flies in the face of how eye color is usually thought to be determined in dogs. For instance, two genetic variants are known to underlie blue eye color in many dogs, but scientists have long known that these variants do not explain the blue eyes of huskies, thus the mystery.
In fact, even though we’re seemingly in a genomic scientific age, the genetic underpinnings of many traits in non-human animals are still largely unknown, even for humans’ best friends. Embark aims to change that.
For the study, which was performed in partnership with Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, researchers used a diverse panel of 6,070 genetically tested dogs, with owners who contributed phenotype data — physical traits of the dogs — via web-based surveys and photo uploads. A comprehensive, consumer-driven survey of this size is largely unprecedented.
“Using genetic data from the pets of our customers, combined with eye colors reported by customers for those same animals, we have discovered a genetic duplication that is strongly associated with blue eye color. This study demonstrates the power of the approach that Embark is taking towards improving canine health,” explained Aaron J. Sams of Embark. “In a single year, we collected enough data to conduct the largest canine study of its kind. Embark is currently pursuing similar research projects in a range of morphological and health-related traits and we hope to continue to use our platform to move canine genetics and health forward in a very real way.”
It’s all in the name of improved health care options for our canine companions, as well as helping curious human owners better understand the origins of their pets. Answering why huskies have blue eyes is just the first such mystery they hope to solve.
What can one say! They are such beautiful dogs!
Another great news item about our wonderful wildlife.
By Mary Jo Dilonardo, September 26th, 2018.
The number of wild tigers in Nepal has nearly doubled over the past nine years as a result of conservation efforts. A survey carried out earlier this year found 235 tigers in Nepal, up from just 121 in 2009.
To count the tigers, conservationists and wildlife experts used more than 4,000 cameras, traveling a 2,700-kilometer (1,700-mile) route across Nepal’s southern plains where most of the big cats are found.
“This is a result of concentrated unified efforts by the government along with the local community and other stakeholders to protect the tiger’s habitat and fight against poaching,” Man Bahadur Khadka, director general of Nepal’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, told AFP.
Nepal and a dozen other countries signed the 2010 Tiger Conservation Plan, pledging to double their tiger populations by 2022. Since then, the tiger population — which has been decimated by deforestation, loss of habitat and poaching — has begun to show positive changes. The World Wildlife Fund and the Global Tiger Forum announced in 2016 that the wild tiger population had grown for the first time in more than 100 years, according to AFP.
Co-existing in harmony
Although this news is obviously heartening, there’s a challenge that comes hand in hand with the growth: making sure people and tigers co-exist safely. A team of conservation scientists from the Chester Zoo in the United Kingdom is working with groups such as Green Governance Nepal to reduce conflict between tigers and residents.
The Living with Tigers project uses methods such as predator-proof livestock pens and changes in livestock management practices to help lessen the risk of tiger attacks on livestock and people.
“It is wonderful news for the entire conservation community around the globe and it demonstrates that ambitious conservation goals can be achieved when governments, conservation partners and local communities work together,” said Kiran Timalsina, chairperson of Green Governance Nepal.
“It also highlights the need for more concentrated efforts particularly focusing on human-tiger conflict mitigation to bring about conditions where tigers and the local communities with whom they share the landscape could coexist.”
Don’t know about you but I feel I can handle a great deal of bad stuff about these present times so long as news items such as this come along on a regular basis!
A very timely article from Mother Nature News (MNN).
Hurricane Florence was not one isolated weather event. Across many continents extreme weather events are, regrettably, part of normal life.
The following article was published on MNN some six days ago.
I thought it should be shared with you all.
Hurricane Florence is no picnic.
Here’s the latest headline regarding this significant hurricane taken from the BBC News website at 14:30 yesterday afternoon.
US East Coast residents are running out of time to flee before Hurricane Florence hits the region as soon as Thursday evening, officials warn.
The storm was downgraded to category three with maximum sustained winds of 120mph (195km/h), but officials say it is still “extremely dangerous”.
Up to 1.7 million people have been ordered to evacuate across South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
All our thoughts are especially extended for the thousands of cats and dogs, and many other species I don’t doubt.
So it seemed especially timely and appropriate to republish a recent item that appeared on Mother Nature News.
When people are in the path of a massive storm, they prepare their homes as best they can and get out of its way. For pets and strays, the situation is more complicated.
As Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolina coast, many in the animal community are already helping get these animals out of harm’s way. Shelters and rescue groups hundreds of miles away are taking in animals from shelters that are directly in the storm’s path. Fosters and adopters are stepping up to take local animals so there’s room for more dogs and cats affected by the hurricane. Others are sending donations.
“We don’t know, in the coming weeks, how many more we’ll be taking in; it depends on the path of storm,” she says. “We expect a heavy influx at the end of the weekend and early next week.”
All three of the humane society’s buildings are at capacity with about 15 overflow animals housed in wire crates. They’ve lowered adoption rates, hoping to encourage people to take home current residents to free up room for animals that will be displaced by the storm.
“A lot of people are always waiting for the right time to adopt,” Brunelle says. “Now is the right time for the animals and when it is the most needed and when you’re going to do the most good.”
At the Pender County Animal Shelter in Burgaw, North Carolina, they’re hoping to empty the shelter to make room for animals in need. As a result, all adoptions are free.
“After Hurricane Matthew in 2016, we took in over 100 animals at this shelter. We only have 100 kennels total, so being empty pre-storm helps us have space for the post-event response because we cannot turn animals away,” shelter manager Jewell Horton tells MNN. “If we hit capacity we have to euthanize for space, which we do not want to do!”
The shelter has already had calls for more than 50 dogs and cats that they are trying to help get out of the hurricane’s path; they’ve also taken in three miniature horses already. Shelter workers are picking up a pony and goats that were flooded out during Hurricane Matthew, knowing they won’t make it through this storm either.
Making Long-term plans
So far, some animals have traveled as far away as Atlanta. The Atlanta Humane Society has already picked up 35 dogs and cats that were in shelters in the path of Hurricane Florence. A week ago, they took in 35 animals that were in the path of Tropical Storm Gordon. If past storm history is any indication, they’ll likely take in many more.
Teams from Best Friends Animal Society are also on the ground, working to move animals from shelters in harm’s way to less-crowded facilities that are out of the hurricane’s expected reach. The group is also looking at the long-term picture, realizing what rescue efforts will be needed long after the storm is passed, says Kenny Lamberti, Best Friends Southeastern regional director.
“We learned a lot post (Hurricane) Irma and Harvey and even as far back as Katrina,” Lamberti tells MNN. “A lot of people and a lot of animals get stuck. We’re creating temporary shelter situations, hoping we don’t need them, but you never know.”
These shelters will house dogs and cats for an extended period of time until they hopefully can be reunited with their families.
How you can help!
If you want to assist animals displaced by the storm, there are plenty of things you can do. Rescue groups and shelters suggest monetary donations, first and foremost. That way they can buy what they need and don’t have to worry about storage, especially if shelters are damaged by the storm. Many shelters and rescue groups also have online wish lists.
There is at least one Facebook group where people can post what they need or the specific ways they are able to help, with offers of transport, fostering, supplies or anything else that might come up once the storm hits.
If your local shelter is making room for hurricane-displaced animals, you may want to consider adopting or fostering so they can make space in their kennels for more animals in need.
Pender County’s Horton points out that all sorts of help is needed, from adoptions to donations.
“We need animals out,” she says. “Donations will be hugely needed for post event care, especially for caring for the animals after the storm.”
I know that all of you will side with Jeannie and me when we say that our hearts go out to these animals.
If any of you come across rescue groups and shelters who are seeking donations then do let me know. For I will publish the details here on Learning from Dogs.
Everything you need to know about clouds – the end of the story!
Some clouds only form as a result of localized conditions or due to human activity.
1. Flammagenitus. These clouds develop as a result of forest fires, wildfires and volcanic eruptions.
2. Homogenitus. If you’ve ever driven by a factory with a kid and they’ve shouted “Cloud factory!”, they have identified homogenitus clouds. This type of special cloud covers a range of man-made clouds, including rising thermals from power plants.
3. Aircraft condensation trails. Contrails are a special type of the homogenitus special cloud. They must have persisted for 10 minutes to be dubbed cirrus homogenitus.
4. Homomutatus. If contrails persist and begin to grow and spread over a period of time thanks to strong winds, they become homomutatus clouds.
5. Cataractagenitus. These clouds form near waterfalls, the result of water broken up into a spray by the falls.
6. Silvagenitus. Clouds may form over a forest as the result of increased humidity and evaporation.
The final bit of cloud identification involves supplementary features that are attached to or merged with the cloud.
1. Incus. The spread-out, anvil-like portion at the top of a cumulonimbus cloud.
2. Mamma. Those hanging protuberances are called mamma, and they appear along the bottom of cirrus, cirrocumulus, altocumulus, altostratus, stratocumulus and cumulonimbus clouds.
3. Virga. If a cirrocumulus, altocumulus, altostratus, nimbostratus, stratocumulus, cumulus or cumulonimbus cloud looks a bit like a jellyfish, chances are they have a virga feature. These are precipitation trails, or fallstreaks, and the precipitation never reaches the Earth’s surface.
4. Praecipitatio. If that precipitation makes it to Earth, however, then you have a praecipitatio feature on an altostratus, nimbostratus, stratocumulus, stratus, cumulus and cumulonimbus cloud.
5. Arcus. These cumulonimbus clouds (and sometimes cumulus) feature dense horizontal rolls with tattered edges along the front. When the arcus feature is extensive, the roll can have a “dark, menacing arch.”
6. Tuba. This cone protrudes from the cloud base and is the marker of a intense vortex. Like arcus clouds, tubas appear most often with cumulonimbus and sometimes with cumulus.
7. Asperitas. While they look like undulatus clouds, asperitas supplementary clouds are more chaotic and less horizontal. Still, these supplementary clouds for stratocumulus and altocumulus clouds make it look like the sky has become a rough and choppy sea.
8. Fluctus. These are short-lived, wave-looking supplementary clouds that appear with cirrus, altocumulus, stratocumulus, stratus and sometimes cumulus clouds.
9. Cavum. Also known as a fallstreak hole, cavum are supplementary clouds for altocumulus and cirrocumulus clouds. They’re formed when the water temperature in the cloud is below freezing but the water itself has not frozen yet. When the ice does eventually form, water droplets around the crystals evaporate, leaving the large ring. Interaction with aircraft can result in a straight line cavum instead of a circular one.
10. Murus. Typically associated with supercell storms, murus (or wall clouds) develop in the rain-free portions of cumulonimbus clouds. They mark a place of strong updraft from which tornadoes can sometimes form.
11. Cauda. Cauda are an accessory cloud to an accessory cloud, appearing alongside murus clouds. These horizontal, tail-like clouds are attached to the murus, and they are roughly the same height. They should not be confused with a funnel.
And that, dear friends, is it!
Truly, how many of you stayed with all the episodes?
I must close by thanking both Mother Nature Network and Noel Kirkpatrick for putting together such a brilliant reference article.
Now watch out! You are just about to walk into that lamp-post!!
Everything you need to know about clouds – the continuing albeit penultimate story!
If we drill down further, the large scale arrangement of clouds give the genera and species a wide variety of presentation. Some clouds can exhibit multiple varieties at once, so the varieties are not mutually exclusive to one another, and many genera have a number of varieties. The exceptions to this are translucidus and opacus varieties; they cannot occur at the same time.
1. Intortus. This variety of cirrus clouds has irregularly curved and twisted filaments.
2. Vertebratus. Have you ever seen a cloud that looked like a fish skeleton? It was almost certainly a vertebratus cirrus cloud.
3. Undulatus. These sheets or layers of clouds display a wavy pattern. You can find undulatus varieties in cirrocumulus, cirrostratus, altocumulus, altostratus, stratocumulus and stratus clouds.
4. Radiatus. The bands of these separated clouds run parallel to one another and appear to merge on the horizon. Look for them when you spot cirrus, altocumulus (pictured), altostratus, stratocumulus and cumulus clouds.
5. Lacunosus. This cloud variety appears mostly in relation to cirrocumulus and altocumulus clouds. It is marked with small holes in the cloud layer, like a net or honeycomb.
6. Duplicatus. These layers of cirrus, cirrostratus, altocumulus, altostratus or stratocumulus clouds appear in at least two slightly different layers.
7. Translucidus. A large sheet of clouds — either altocumulus, altostratus (pictured), stratocumulus and stratus — that is translucent enough to allow the sun or the moon to shine through.
8. Perlucidus. Yet another variety of clouds in a sheet, these altocumulus and stratocumulus clouds have small spaces between each cloudlet that result in a visible sky.
9. Opacus. The opposite of the previous two varieties, these cloud layers are opaque enough to hide the sun or moon. This variety is found among altocumulus, altostratus (pictured), stratocumulus and stratus clouds.
As their name implies, accessory clouds are smaller clouds associated with a larger cloud. They may be partially connected or separate from the main cloud.
1. Pileus. A small cap or hood that appears above the top of a cumulus and cumulonimbus cloud.
2. Velum. This veil is close above or attached to cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds.
3. Pannus. Appearing mostly along the bottoms of altostratus, nimbostratus, cumulus and cumulonimbus clouds, these are ragged shreds of the cloud that make up a continuous layer.
4. Flumen. These are bands of low clouds associated with supercell storm clouds, typically cumulonimbus. Some flumen clouds can resemble beaver tails due to their broad, flat appearances.
Please come back tomorrow for the last of this wonderful series about clouds.
Everything you need to know about clouds – the continuing story!
Cloud species continued
11. Humilis. A species of cumulus clouds, humilis clouds are generally fairly flat as opposed to taller ordinary cumulus clouds.
12. Mediocris. Another cumulus species, mediocris clouds are a bit taller than humilis clouds.
13. Congestus. Congestus clouds are the tallest species of cumulus clouds. They have sharp outlines and cauliflower-like tops.
14. Calvus. Cumulonimbus clouds have two species, and the calvus is one of them. It’s a moderately tall cloud with rounded tops but still with grooves or channels in them that direct the flow of air.
15. Capillatus. The second species of cumulonimbus clouds, capillatus clouds have a flat, anvil-like structure near the top, with a mass of “hair” on top of it.
What a very beautiful planet we have!
Do please come back tomorrow!