Death sentence for apostasy

Religion makes people feel justified in doing evil things, and do evil things to protect their nonexistent gods. A man has been sentenced to death in Mauritania for “speaking lightly of the Prophet Mohammed.”

In 2012, an American man was arrested for killing an American soldier for not believing in God: murder of Jose Ramirez.

Advertisements
Posted in Africa, events. Tags: . 1 Comment »

What would you eat if you were hungry?

Probably anything you could catch, such as that uncivilized “bushmeat,” such as deer or rabbit or possum.

Read “Granny’s mean pot of bushmeat stew,” by Tara C. Smith of Aetiology.

Mapping can save African forests from logging

Mapping from satellite pictures can warn scientists and governments where illegal logging is taking place in Africa.

Pterosaurs over the Sahara

I know I’m mixing up times and environments. Here’s the real news: A fossil pterosaur has been found in the Sahara desert. It has a wingspan of about five metres. The fossil comprises most of the bones of one wing and a number of long, slender teeth, which indicate a fish-catching habit.

 

Masters–and mistresses–of camouflage

a small lizard among rubbery brown leaves looks like a leaf itself

Leaf-tailed Gecko of Madagascar

Just look at these twenty examples of evolution for camouflage. Above, the geckos that look most like leaves avoid predators and catch more insects. Below, potoos and owls that succeed in blending in with tree branches avoid the daytime attention of hawks and eagles.

A large,bark-coloured bird hides by leaning against a tree branch

A great potoo of Brazil leans against a tree branch


The gallery also ha a photo of a Vietnamese mossy frog in full, frilly glory.

Wierd and wonderful: Grandidier’s vontsira

face of mongoose-like carnivore, Grandidier's vontsira

I’m enjoying my high-definition BBC feed while I still have it. Recently, I enjoyed a documentary about Madagascar narrated by Sir David Attenborough. He mentioned a rare carnivore called Grandidier’s vontsira (BBC, Island of Marvels, Part 3. YouTube clip, 0:12:08–0:13:24). I had never heard of it, and no wonder. It’s a rare mongoose found only in a tiny part of Madagascar. It’s like the mammalian equivalent of a snail darter, a tiny fish found only in certain rivers.

striped mongoose-like carnivore, Grandidier's vontsira

It took a little while for me to find out more. It’s more commonly called Grandidier’s mongoose. It was named only in 1986 and little is known of its life. It’s adapted to an arid climate, eats small prey and insects, and pairs off to have one offspring. If you watch the video clip, you’ll hear its voice, distant whistles and then a cross between a mew and a coo.

striped mongooses with plumy tails, Grandidier's vontsira

Most of the prey items caught are insects but the greater biomass, 57% – 80% depending on the season, comes from small animals.

The range map for Galidictis grandidieri is from Wikipedia, and ultimately from the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, species assessors and the authors of the spatial data.

Wierd and wonderful: Verreaux’s Coua

Coua verreauxi is a member of the cuckoo family that lives in a very small area of southwestern Madagascar. The bird lives on the shores of a single salt lake and is classified as Near Threatened. It lives in dry-adapted scrubland and is threatened by habitat loss. You can see a video clip here: BBC, Zoo Quest: Island of Marvels, Part 3. Video clip, 0:06:50 – 0:08:35, Verroux’s coua. the bird in this clip is puffed up against the cold.

a crested, grey and white cuckoo with its feathers puffed up

Verreaux's coua

%d bloggers like this: