mass extinction

rollingstone.com
The Point of No Return: Climate Change Nightmares Are Already Here
The worst predicted impacts of climate change are starting to happen — and much faster than climate scientists expected

It is important that you understand the seriousness of this situation.  Though there is extensive coverage in print and online media, climate change gets less press than celebrity diet secrets and rap feuds.  Write to your senators and congressmen.  Sign petitions.  Organize and take part in demonstrations.  Activism is important.  

We are not going to save everything.  The world is going to change.  People are dying and will continue to die.  Property will be destroyed, possibly whole cities.  Some species will go extinct. We need to act now, and pressure our elected officials to pass serious legislation to mitigate climate change.  We don’t have to lose everything.

Sharing and liking tumblr posts isn’t enough. You must do more.

youtube

The Geology of Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Think there’s no geology behind theme parks? Think again! In this video, I’ll teach you about the real-life geology behind popular attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Learn about the formation of the Himalaya from Expedition Everest, the End-Cretaceous mass extinction from Dinosaur and the sandstone peaks of the  Zhangjiajie National Forest Park from Pandora’s floating mountains!

If you haven’t already, check out the sister video I made about the geology behind some of the attractions at the Disneyland Resort!

anonymous asked:

did you seriously just say we should let pandas go extinct to save other animals or am i misinterpreting because that is a very questionable judgement

ALRIGHT MY FRIEND I have received about six messages in this vein since yesterday, but I worked for thirteen hours today and I have no time for this nonsense. Short answer: YES. 

I’m gonna summarize some salient points on why pandas are awful from a conservation standpoint:

  • PANDAS LITERALLY CANNOT MATE IN CAPTIVITY. IT’S UNBELIEVABLE
  • Artificial insemination and hand-rearing of cubs are basically standard practice, and still they usually die. At what point is it reasonable to give up because I think we hit it DECADES AGO
  • In 35 years, only 90 cubs have been born in captivity outside of China
  • Wild panda numbers have increased a bare (bear?) 200 individuals in 10 years, despite literal billions of dollars being poured into conservation
  • NO OTHER AREA OF ANIMAL CONSERVATION EVEN COMES CLOSE TO THE MONEY BEING POURED INTO PANDAS. NONE
  • And yet we’ve managed to literally rebuild populations of black-footed ferrets, oryx, and California condors with exponentially less money
  • Despite all of this, only 10 pandas have been released since the 80s, and all but two died
  • I bet you wouldn’t have guessed that it’s because their habitat is destroyed and fragmentary and barely protected!!!!!! 
  • The only good thing about panda conservation is that protecting their range is also protecting tons of other species. Which would be great, if more of their range was being protected effectively.
  • There is way more money in keeping captive pandas captive than in releasing them!! surprise!!!!!!
  • Zoos pay a lot of money to get pandas on loan because people just LOVE looking at pandas and they can’t afford to house and care for their other animals without people coming to visit! Or do any kind of conservation whatsoever!! Panda-economics! (this is kind of a pro as opposed to a con but its the kind of pro that makes me feel like I need a shower)
  • Pandas are endangered and sort of have a role in spreading bamboo seeds around, so they get billions of dollars. Every shark ever is MORE endangered, and without them the entire ocean ecosystem would collapse, but that’s fine they don’t need money (I’m not bitter) ((I am bitter))

I’m gonna be frank with you. We are in the middle of a mass extinction event, caused by us. Not to be a downer (jk, I’m gonna) but we’re already driving so many species to extinction that we cannot afford to save them all with the money and interest that is in conservation right now. 

Instead, we have to do some kind of awful extinction triage and assess which animals will do the most good to work to conserve - and getting into keystone species, ecosystem engineers, and other truly integral species is a whole other can of worms I’m not gonna touch on - but there are animals that are “more important” in a certain sense than others, in that they can support or affect a much wider range of other species than another

People only care about big, cute, fluffy animals - a common lament heard from conservationists, but it’s so true. There are thousands, if not millions of species that don’t fit this mold that conservation work would benefit eons more than pandas. It’s like fixing a pretty, stained-glass window in a house whose foundations are collapsing and thinking you’re helping. 

Pandas have always been the face of conservation, and they continue to be one of the biggest and most expensive ongoing failures. 


[Sources/ stuff to read to make sense of my incoherent response!]

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theguardian.com
Earth's sixth mass extinction event under way, scientists warn
Researchers talk of ‘biological annihilation’ as study reveals billions of populations of animals have been lost in recent decades
By Damian Carrington

Sorry, all the news is bad.

But don’t worry: our Republican overlords have assured us that God will protect His children.

onecornflower  asked:

I've always wondered... In the Permian (and other epochs?) the oxigen-levels were super high, right? Which is why the arthropods grew to enormous sizes. But where did all the oxigen go? Where is it today?

Yes! Atmospheric oxygen was at an all-time high during the Carboniferous and the Permian, and has been linked to large body sizes in arthropods, particularly terrestrial insects. One suggestion for why high oxygen results in large body sizes in insects is because body size is limited by the size of the tracheal system, which is influenced by the amount of oxygen in the air. Alternatively, it has also been suggested that oxygen poisoning mean that insect larvae needed to grow quickly in order to survive (however note that in the literature there isn’t much of a consensus of the causes of C-P arthropod gigantism).

By the end of the Permian, oxygen dramatically decreased (good-bye, giant arthropods), likely the result of increased volcanism. Volcanism in the Siberian Traps is often cited as a cause of the End Permian mass extinction. In short, such volcanism uses up oxygen to produce volcanic gases such as carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and water vapour (i.e. greenhouse gases, causing global warming and therefore the extinction event). So all the oxygen was reworked into other compounds.  

I hope that answered your question! I have a heap of other giant arthropods planned for future posts (like more giant sea scorpions and larger trilobites) so I might in future do a full-on post about gigantism in the late Palaeozoic, cos there are some really interesting papers discussing the causes. 

youtube

Today is Endangered Species Day. A video to watch and make us think about what we humans are doing to those that live with us on this planet.

anonymous asked:

Why do so many resources say that mammals are the dominate animals? Is there anyway bird superiority more prominent ?

This phrase is fairly difficult to define because, realistically, the dominant phylum is, and has been basically forever, the arthropods. With estimates of 1 to 10 million species and population numbers that are just staggering to think about, quantitatively they are the winners by several thousand landslides made up of primarily beetles.

But I digress. When we say the Cenozoic is the “Age of Mammals” or the Devonian is the “Age of Fishes”, it’s used more in terms of which clades exploded after the previous mass extinction (or, in earlier periods, diversified with massive geologic or climatic shifts) and took over a majority of the available ecological niches during that era/period/etc.

For example, after the Late Permian decided it preferred the Earth empty and told everyone to get rekt, the way was paved for the ancestors of dinosaurs to diversify and take over - hence the Mesozoic being known as the “Age of the Reptiles”. The same thing then happened with the K-Pg extinction event (with the exception being that the Cretaceous was generally less dramatic about the whole affair), opening up those niches for the mammals to expand into and diversify through the Cenozoic. 

To go off track for a hot second, it’s a very interesting cycle of extinction-diversification that happens repeatedly. The species that are most susceptible to extinction are those that are too specialized to adapt to change (looking directly at you, Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Conversely, those that are most able to survive and then take advantage of a sudden availability of niches following an extinction event are those that are generalists (in terms of range, habitat, feeding, and the like). Various populations of these generalists will then adapt into new species as they diverge from other populations in different niches, which eventually leads to each having a very specialized lifestyle as they evolve to further take advantage of the niche. This then puts them firmly in the category of “too specialized to adapt to change” and they are now susceptible to the next major shift. SUPER COOL, RIGHT???

Anyway, to get back on track, claiming any one class/phylum/order/species (Anthropocene, anyone?) of species is “dominant” during a period of geologic time is reductive, biased, and does paleontology as a whole a disservice. There are so many interesting clades that are left out when people assume the whole world at the time was populated by one small set of species (where are my extinct Ordovician hexacorallian fans at, amirite). We could just as easily call the Mesozoic the Age of Ammonites, or the Age of Conifers, and be just as accurate. 

npr.org
How Frogs Benefited From The Dinosaurs' Extinction
Frogs are "master survivors," able to take advantage of the ecological vacuum left behind by extinct animals. Scientists say 9 in 10 frog species descended from three surviving frog lineages.

The asteroid that hit Earth 66 million years ago spelled disaster for the dinosaurs.

But scientists say they’ve found one silver lining to the mass extinction — turns out, it was really good for frogs.

It’s time for Trilobite Tuesday! Trilobites were among the most successful creatures ever to exist on Earth. Their march through evolutionary time began back in the Lower Cambrian, some 521 million years ago, and lasted for nearly 270 million years, until the end of the Permian, 252 million years ago. During this unfathomable length of time (which ostensibly bookends the entire Paleozoic Era), these highly adaptable arthropods filled virtually every available marine niche while producing over 25,000 scientifically recognized species. Certain localities around the world – including key Carboniferous (Mississippian & Pennsylvanian) and Permian outcrops in Kazakhstan, Belgium China and New Mexico (home of this Pudoproetus ferlingensis)– have produced fossilized examples of the diminutive proetida order, usually an inch or less in size, that represent the last members of the noble trilobite dynasty. And while these end-of-the-line trilobites apparently filled a wide variety of oceanic habitats – ranging from deep open water to shallow continental shelves – their versatility wasn’t enough to save them from their eventual fate. As life on our ever-changing planet has continually proven, nothing lasts forever, and for reasons that continue to both confound and fascinate scientists, the end of the Permian also signaled the end of trilobites… along with 90 percent of life around the globe, an event which represents the greatest mass extinction in the history of Planet Earth.

anonymous asked:

Zoos and Aquariums do more to protect species in the wild than any other program, and once a wild habitat is gone it's GONE. Captivity is often their only hope until we can rehabilitate them somewhere. Why do so many people who call themselves vegan have zero understanding of how any of this works? : /

Hi, alumni from the Conservation Biology and Ecology program at Arizona State University here. Let me break it down for you from an evidence-based perspective, since my being vegan leads you to believe I’m just talking out of my ass or something.

In not one of my classes was it ever stated that zoos are fundamental to wildlife conservation. In fact, my biology conservation professor said captivity in zoos is very antithetical to the physical and mental health of large land mammals, especially elephants and big cats.

Animals, especially far-roaming species, exhibit stereotypical behavior in order to cope with their cramped, unnatural living conditions (i.e. bar biting, circling, pacing).

Rehabilitation programs only work when endangered species have an environment to return to (in many cases, they do not), and the most successful programs I have seen are in closed facilities - not zoos open to the public.

Human beings are causing the sixth mass extinction event, and zoos are not going to help stop global warming, deforestation, ocean acidification, or poaching. Zoos aren’t even a temporary stop-gap solution. It’s a feel-good option for people who want to stare at wild animals in an artificial environment.

Unlike wildlife sanctuaries, which put the animals’ welfare first and foremost, zoos place a large amount of importance on giftshop and ticket sales, and that prioritizes species that are easily identifiable to the public - not animals who are the most threatened.

Captive-breeding in zoos will only go so far, and it is estimated that relying on captive-bred animals only (and not capturing more from the wild) will only allow 100-years of breeding before the species becomes so inbred they are no longer genetically viable.

Zoos have been known to kill “surplus” animals.

The vast majority of zoos DO NOT release animals back into the wild.

Sometimes zoos sell “surplus” animals to circuses, canned hunting facilities, or the exotic pet trade.

Chances are, many of you have seen Blackfish and boycott SeaWorld. While that is admirable, zoos are simply an extension of the captive animal entertainment industry. Some zoos even make their animals perform tricks to the detriment of the animals.

Do Zoos Really Teach Visitors Anything?

Zoos teach young children, as well as adults, that it is acceptable to keep animals in cages and pens for the rest of their lives, rather than live in their natural habitats.

Zoos are inherently cruel because profits come first, and animals cannot consent to captivity.

The fact of the matter is, you don’t need a BS in Conservation Biology to understand how placing wild animals in pens for us to pay money to look at sounds dubious and suspect. We need to use our critical thinking skills and stop being dogmatically worshipful of these institutions that profit from the captivity of sentient, living beings.

masterpost of all the plant books i own

this is all the plant books i own minus some suuuper vintage ones that dont matter so imma just gonna. put the casual books up top and all the others under the cut

there are many. my interests are diverse. be warned

FOR PEOPLE CASUALLY INTERESTED IN HAVING A GOOD PLANT TIME

The Plant Messiah - Carlos Magdalena

Reaching for the Sun - John King

Brilliant Green: The surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence (Kindle Edition) - Stefano Mancuso and Alessandra Viola

In Praise of Plants - Francis Halle

The Hidden Life of Trees: What they Feel, How they Communicate (Kindle Edition) - Peter Wohlleben

Botany for Dummies (Kindle Edition) - Rene Fester Kratz

Lab Girl - Hope Jahren. This was given to me by my dad because he heard it was about a female botanist and her fun botany adventures but I haven’t read it yet because it’s currently popular and I’m petty and an edgy stubborn teen that must Avoid Popular Things™. that being said its supposed to be really good so putting it here out of the admittance that it’s probably really good and I should read it

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