extinct term

Gold coin of Axumite Kingdom, King Endubis (c.270-300 CE)

We’ve featured coins from Axum before, to highlight some of their strange minting practices, today we look at a coin that has some interesting linguistic features. This coin of King Endubis (sometimes spelled Endybis) has legends in two languages, on one side, Endubis is named King of Axum in ancient Greek, while on the other he is described as Bishi Dakhu, a man of Dakhu in Ge'ez, a south Semitic language native to Ethiopia. This language is now functionally extinct in terms of speaking, but remains a powerful liturgical language, used by several Ethiopian Orthodox churches.

Not much is known about Endubis himself, though he is one of the earliest kings of Axum to strike coins. It is not clear which of the two portraits on the coin is Endybis, or whether both are meant to show him. Axumite coins frequently have two portraits, and they are usually flanked by ears of corn as they are here, signaling the prosperity of the kingdom.

9 indigenous groups under threat of extinction

The term “indigenous rights” is not just a catch phrase. In an important precedent was set by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) when it declared the rights of indigenous peoples in 2007. Although it came centuries after destruction from outside forces had already been done, the declaration put the rights of indigenous peoples on the global radar. 

The majority of countries supported the declaration, but four voted against it (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States). The declaration establishes a minimum threshold of rights, including rights to education, employment, language and cultural rights. 

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Collaborative conservation pays off for one of Idaho’s rarest plant species

Packard’s milkvetch (Astragalus cusickii var. packardiae) is one of the rarest plants in Idaho. The native plant is only known to grow on an approximately 10-square-mile area in Payette County in southwestern Idaho. Photo by Michael Mancuso

By Leith Edgar

Leith is the Public Affairs Officer for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Idaho state office.

Cardiologists advise patients to avoid tobacco use, exercise regularly, and stick to a heart healthy diet to prevent heart attacks. Sticking to the doctor’s directions often prevents costly and painful trips to the Emergency Room.

For some species of native western plants that ER is the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Although plants don’t smoke, skip exercise or eat too much fatty food, many species face threats to their wellbeing. In some cases, stewardship determines how at risk they are for extinction – or in human terms, the probability of a fatal heart attack.

Fortunately for such plants in precarious positions, there are proactive conservation actions that can be taken early on – before there’s an acute condition to prevent the botanical equivalent of a myocardial infarction. Such botanical checkups prevent costly trips to the ESA. For Packard’s milkvetch (Astragalus cusickii var. packardiae), one of the most rare plants in Idaho, such a trip was never needed.

Pat Packard first discovered this rare plant in 1980, hence its name. It occurs on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Payette County in southwestern Idaho. The plant wasn’t documented again until years later, when Boise botanist Michael Mancuso relocated it.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) later hired Mancuso to routinely monitor the plants’ health.  In 2010 Mancuso’s routine checkups on the plant indicated the unique plant was showing an acute case of habitat destruction caused by unauthorized off-highway vehicle activity. A local off-highway vehicle park had recently closed, shifting use into the Big Willow area and damaging the unique and limited habitat needed by Packard’s milkvetch.  As a result, the plant was designated a candidate for listing under the ESA.

The Service applied an adaptive management approach to conservation of Packard’s milkvetch. Monitoring helped biologists identify potential issues early on and informed the conservation actions that were developed with partners to help alleviate the threats and protect the rare plant species. Photo by USFWS.

“In the Service’s Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office, we apply an adaptive management approach to plant conservation, and monitoring is a critical part of that.  It helps us identify potential issues early on, and it also informs the conservation actions we develop with partners to help alleviate the threats and protect rare plant species,” said Karen Colson, a botanist with the Service.  

Steve Duke, a former senior biologist with the Service, agreed. “By committing more resources for monitoring upfront, we were able to use the resulting information to work with the BLM and private landowners to address the threat, and avoid listing by effectively conserving the plant.”

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Estimates vary, but in terms of extinct non-avian dinosaurs, about 300 valid genera and roughly 700 valid species have been discovered and named. However, given that the fossil record is incomplete, in the sense that scientists have yet to discover fossils of other kinds of dinosaurs that no doubt existed, these numbers do not reflect the true diversity of extinct dinosaurs.
One reason for the incompleteness of the fossil record is that rocks for some geologic time periods are not commonly found on the surface of the Earth. For example, many more kinds of Late Cretaceous dinosaurs are known than Middle Jurassic dinosaurs because outcrops of Late Cretaceous are more numerous and more widely spread geographically than those of Middle Jurassic age. Learn more on the dinosaurs website.