Critter Corner: News Roundup on Biodiversity – Week of 9/19

by |September 21, 2011

Arctic Ice - Photo by Pink Floyd

Arctic Melting, Worst Summer Ever, Science News, Sept. 14
Researchers from the University of Bremen announced that this year’s annual amount of Arctic sea ice reached an all time low of 4.240 million square kilometers, breaking the 2007 record of 4.267 million square kilometers. Using a different algorithm of estimation, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency center found that this year’s ice level was only near its record low: 4.34 million square kilometers, compared with 4.17 million square kilometers observed in 2007. Whether the true figure is near or less than that of the historic low in 2007, climate scientists worry that there will be a continual trend of thinning ice.

Piece of debris from the meteorite Chicxulub, with a coating of quartz and vitrified materials, Science Museum of Brussels - Photo by Hcrepin

Chicxulub Meteorite Killed Archaic Birds, ScienceDaily, Sept. 19
By identifying and dating two dozen bird fossils, a team of paleontologists provided evidence for the validity of a long-debated hypothesis: many ancient bird species went extinct 65 million years ago when the Chicxulub meteorite collided with the Earth.

Aquacity, Istanbul, Dolphin - Photo by Nevit

How Far Will Dolphins Go to Relate to Humans?, NY Times, Sept. 19
Though dolphins, among the most intelligent species on the planet, are capable of being trained to respond to the commands of humans, it is rare to see them engage in two-way communication. Denise L. Herzing, the leading expert on dolphin behavior, is launching a new phase of her research in which she hopes her mammalian friends will be able to imitate a whistle to request an object or initiate play.

Mobile Garden Wonderland
, TreeHugger, Sept. 21
A mobile garden has been installed onto a Chicago Transit Authority flat train car with regular service, featuring an array of beautiful flora for riders to enjoy. Here are pictures of “The World’s Largest Mobile Art Exhibit to Circle the Chicago Loop.”

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