Free Range Free Chat

Hey All, it’s the Monday after the new show “Billionaires in Space,” and we find ourselves asking why the billionaires are choosing NOW to leave earth, before they’ve paid any taxes, and by the way, since they’re departing the planet, did they at least leave their account numbers and PINS?

Those of us left on the Blue Planet are asking a different question than that of the billionaires’ “How can I fly faster than the other B-Man in my cool shiny plane?”

We’re asking on Monday’s free chat, “What’s in the water?”

The world’s chattiest animals. . . .

So, who takes the crown for chattiest animal? “Nobody I know has really gone out there and quantified all the species to say that this is the case” — but the short answer would be that it’s a member of the vocal-learning species, Jarvis said. Kershenbaum made an educated guess that among these vocal-learning animals, dolphins would be strong contenders for the title, based on his research. “If you are ever in the water with dolphins, it’s almost never quiet,” Kershenbaum said. They’re always, always vocalizing.” 

According to Jarvis, animals can be split into two broad groups: nonvocal (or “innate”) learners, and vocal learners, animals that learn to vocalize by imitating sounds. Only a few groups of animals fall into the vocal-learning camp: humans, songbird species, and some nonhuman mammals, including dolphins, whales, elephantsseals and bats

Size Matters

North Carolina Man Catches ‘Monster’ Catfish, Breaking State Record: ‘Dream Come True’

Thank You Snails…… 🐌🐌🐌🐌🐌 for solving the mystery of the Giant Chalk Creature. . . .

In the spring of 2020, Allen, the environmental archaeologist, brought soil samples from the Cerne Abbas Giant to his lab and “made mud pies with them,” he says. He laboriously plucked out hundreds of half-millimeter snail-shell fragments and identified their species based on minute differences in whorl patterns, lines, and hair pits.

Snails are not typically used as a dating technique, but Allen can roughly estimate when a geoglyph was formed based on historic snail migration. Around the first century, Romans imported certain fleshy snails to Britain to eat as escargot, whereas later snail species hitched a ride on hay packed into medieval merchant ships.

In the giant’s earliest layer, Allen found two mollusk species regarded as medieval immigrants—Cernuella virgata and Candidula gigaxii. Those snails were not present in the soil that predates the geoglyph. So, last summer, Allen announced that the figure was probably medieval or later. The new OSL results pinpoint an early-medieval time frame, somewhat earlier than Allen expected but still overlapping with the presence of these snails.


Is it Shark Week yet?

Signs at public beaches warn visitors of the presence of great white sharks in the water. Modifying human behavior has been the primary way that public safety officials have mitigated shark risk over the past eight to nine years. And it seems to be working. Visual: Sarah Sax for Undark
Dead mussels cover the beach at Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver.

Heat Wave Killed An Estimated 1 Billion Sea Creatures, And Scientists Fear Even Worse:

Though heat waves have affected marine life in the past, Harley said temperatures reaching more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit like they did last weekend in the Pacific Northwest are “exceptionally rare.” But with climate change, he’s seen estimates from other scientists that similar heat waves could start occurring once every five to 10 years.

“If it happens that frequently, the system won’t have time to recover in between the die-offs,” he said.

Source: Undark Magazine and LiveScience and NPR