Monday, October 31, 2011
A 16-foot-long Burmese python was found to have a whole adult deer in its stomach after it was captured and killed in a U.S. national park.
The reptile - one of the biggest ever found in South Florida - had recently swallowed a doe the size of a small child.
Skip Snow, a python specialist who conducted the autopsy at Everglades National Park, said the animal had a girth of 44ins with the 5st 6lb deer inside its stomach.
The population of Burmese pythons in the Everglades has grown over the past several years, after being bought by people in the area as exotic pets.
State and federal wildlife officials say the dangerous snakes have been set loose by owners after growing too big, or escaped from enclosures destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
The pythons primarily eat smaller mammals and birds, but larger specimens are happy to munch on alligators, deer and hogs.
The snake was discovered by workers from South Florida Water Management District, who were removing non-native plants from a tree island.
The world's largest captive snake is a 25ft, 22st python called Medusa, who lives in Kansas City and is capable of killing and consuming animals that weigh as much as a healthy adult.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2054968/16-foot-python-Everglades-eaten-deer.html#ixzz1chZDa56N
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
A government researcher who wrote a controversial report on dead polar bears was asked to take a polygraph test by a federal agent investigating allegations of scientific misconduct.
That's according to Jeffrey Gleason's lawyer, Jeff Ruch of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, which is providing legal representation to Gleason and Charles Monnett, two researchers with agencies of the Department of the Interior.
In 2006, Monnett and Gleason published a report describing their sightings of apparently drowned polar bears in the Arctic. The report drew public attention to the plight of the bears as the climate changes and ice melts.
Last year, someone at the Department of the Interior alleged that acts of scientific misconduct may have been committed in relation to that report. The department's Office of Inspector General has spent months investigating, and does not typically comment on ongoing investigations.
Some critics of the investigation charge that the scientists were targeted for special attention because of their work's political implications; they say this investigation will have a chilling effect on other researchers.
During a second interview with Gleason on Oct. 26, according to Ruch, a federal agent asked the scientist about an internal routing slip — a slip of paper that various government officials initial after they review a manuscript — that had been attached to a different scientific report. That report was also related to long-term changes in polar bear habitats. It noted that in recent years, bear sightings associated with ice have decreased while sightings associated with land and open water have increased.
Gleason was asked whether he deliberately tried to hide that routing slip from investigators and if he would take a polygraph test, says Ruch, who adds the routing slip was just a third of a page; it was misplaced as Gleason photocopied a variety of documents to provide to investigators, Ruch says.
The routing slip, which Ruch emailed to NPR and posted on his organization's website, shows that officials signed off on this scientific report. One handwritten comment asked: "Are there enough data to make these statements? Was survey protocol the same thru the 26 years? (esp. as regards pol. bears.)"
Ruch says these questions were answered in subsequent correspondence. He says the discussion of that routing slip took up nearly a half-hour of the two-hour interview with Gleason.
"There appears to be kind of a desperate, almost fierce nature to pursue this until they find something," Ruch says, "which is why we think they have seized on this idiotic routing slip issue." He says Gleason wouldn't take a polygraph unless the agent would as well.
He says investigators also charged that just days before Gleason and Monnett made their sightings of apparently drowned polar bears, other researchers also saw dead polar bears floating in the water. But, according to Ruch, scientists said those sightings were neither recorded nor reported.
If that is true, says Ruch, the scientists were unaware of it when they wrote their famous report describing what they called "the first observations of polar bears floating dead offshore."
Investigators also spent considerable time asking why the role of weather was not more emphasized in the scientists' report as a possible contributor to the bears' deaths, Ruch says. "And so you have these criminal investigators asking questions as if they were the journal editors, as to why it was given greater prominence in a certain section in an earlier draft," he says.
Ruch accuses the investigators of taking issues raised during the normal scientific peer-review process and acting as though they constitute evidence of wrongdoing. He has filed a complaint with the department under its new scientific integrity policy, saying these issues should be investigated not by the Office of Inspector General, but by a review performed by other scientists.
The acting inspector general for the Department of the Interior, Mary Kendall, recently said in a letter to a senator that though her office would like to be able to respond to allegations by PEER and other outside entities, it cannot comment until its investigation is complete, because to do so would be unfair to all parties involved.
Not to fear—this evil-looking marine copepod is a tiny crustacean and among the most common types of multicelled creatures in the oceans.
Jan Michels, of the University of Kiel in Germany, snapped this belly-up view at ten-times magnification. (See more award-winning pictures of microscopic life.)
Bold strokes of color enliven a picture of graphite-bearing granulite, a metamorphic rock consisting mainly of feldspar and quartz. Bernardo Cesare of Padova, Italy, magnified the rock—collected in Kerala, India—2.5 times and earned eighth place in the Small World photo competition.
They may look like lizard feet, but these colorful, branching patterns festoon liverwort, a type of plant. The University of British Columbia's Robin Young magnified liverwort 20 times to capture the award-winning picture.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
feel free to take a peek!