wildlife history

1870s: A pile of American Bison skulls, waiting to be ground up for fertilizer. More than 50 million Bisons were killed by the invading Europeans, both for fertilizer and due to the fact that they were a main food source for the Native Americans. Killing them arguably aided in the genocide and slaughter of the indigenous people.

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Join #mypubliclandsroadtrip Today at Headwaters Forest Reserve in California

Spectacular in its beauty, the Headwaters Forest Reserve is also a vital ally in conservation efforts to protect the most iconic forest species in the Pacific Northwest. Located 6 miles southeast of Eureka, California, these 7,542 acres of public lands feature magnificent stands of old-growth redwood trees that provide nesting habitat for the marbled murrelet (a small Pacific seabird) and the northern spotted owl. Both species are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, as are the coho salmon, chinook salmon, and steelhead trout that have important habitat in the reserve’s stream systems.

Joining forces, the federal government and the State of California acquired the land for the reserve in 1999 to protect these important resources. The historic value of a once busy mill town named Falk is also commemorated in interpretive signs along the Elk River Trail, which follows an old logging road to the now vanished community. The BLM partners with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to manage the Headwaters Forest Reserve as part of the National Conservation Lands.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

Happy birthday, Teddy Roosevelt! Often called “a force of nature” because of his irrepressible personality, he is remembered for his passion and advocacy for America’s great outdoors. Pictured here with naturalist John Muir in Yosemite National Park, President Roosevelt created five national parks, 18 national monuments, 51 bird sanctuaries, began the National Wildlife Refuge system and set aside more than 100 million acres for national forests.

Another AMNH drawing. 2 hours, ballpoint pen.

My drawing nights are sadly over until ~May so I’ll be going during normal hours at least once a week (hopefully). As nice as it was to draw after hours, it’s kind of fun to have an audience to boost my ego again. Heh.

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Gelada baboon - Theropithecus gelada

“The face of the gelada baboon does not have the doglike shape of other baboons. The nostrils are lateral instead of terminal, as in some of the smaller monkeys. There is no bright color in the face, but on the chest are naked areas of red.”

Those teeth!

The gelada, or bleeding-heart monkey, is the only herbivorous baboon, despite their impressive teeth.

 More specifically, they’re gramnivorous, meaning that they eat primarily (90%+) grass blades. They’re ground-dwelling creatures, and only live along the cliffs of high-mountain meadows of Ethiopia, whereas almost all other old-world monkeys live in the savanna or forest. Their impressive canines belie their well-developed molars, which can grind grass, tubers, and flowers almost as well as an ungulate (about 90% the efficiency of zebra).

Album of Abyssinian Birds and Mammals. Louis Agassiz Fuertes, 1928.

This is one of the most bizarre wildlife photos I have ever seen! This is a wild macaque riding a sika deer!

In the words of Primatologist Cédric Sueur: “My favorite behavior is that of a macaque riding on the backs of Sika deer. There is a close cooperation between macaques and deer on Yakushima island. The deer eat seeds dropped by macaques on the ground, as well as their feces. Macaques may groom the deer for parasites such as lice, which are rich in proteins. At times, macaques will climb on the back of a deer for transportation. They don’t travel the kinds of distances humans do on horseback, but the similarity is there.”

Photo Credit: Alexandre Bonnefoy.

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We’ve got your weekend inspiration! #DiscoverTheCoast with us in California

The California Coastal National Monument preserves important habitat for coastal plants and animals, and protects cultural sites that provide insight into the people who lived along the California coast thousands of years ago. Many of the new units of the monument are also culturally and spiritually important to local tribes.


Cotoni-Coast Dairies
in Santa Cruz County extends from the steep slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains to marine terraces overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This portion of the California Coastal National Monument encompasses ancient archaeological sites, riparian and wetland habitats, coastal prairie grasslands, and woodlands that include stands of coast redwood. Photo by Jim Pickering, BLM. 

A respite from the modern world, complete with historic architecture and abundant natural life, awaits visitors to the California coast at Piedras Blancas.

Only 40 miles north of San Luis Obispo, California, the large white coastal rocks for which Piedras Blancas was named have served as a landmark for centuries to explorers and traders along the central coast of California.

Built in 1875 as a safety aid to mariners, the light station once cast a flashing, oil-flame light 25 miles out to sea, warning ship captains to steer clear of the white rocks that would mean certain doom for a vessel.

Today, the light station, its first order lens and light structure long ago removed, casts a beacon to travelers on scenic California Highway 1. It continues to provide a navigational aid to ship traffic, as well. Photo by David Ledig, BLM.

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Non-dinosaurian Triassic fauna from Dougal Dixon’s The Very First Dinosaurs. Photo illustrations by Jane Burton.

TOP:  Longisquama and Sharovipteryx

MIDDLE:  Nothosaurus and Tanystropheus

BOTTOM:  Lycaenops and Pareiasaurus

I don’t usually think of Tanystropheus being able to hold its neck at an elevated angle like this.