The International Institute for Species Exploration have issued their list of the Top 10 new species described in 2007. We offer a warm welcome to these species as they leave the masses of what is not known and join the slightly more ordered ranks of the known:
- Sleeper ray Electrolux addisoni
- 75 million year old Giant Duck-billed dinosaur Gryposaurus monumentensis
- Pink millipede Desmoxytes purpurosea
- Frog Philautus maia
- Highly venomous snake Oxyuranus temporalis
- Fruit bat Styloctenium mindorensis
- Fungi from Silwood Park campus (Imperial College, UK) Xerocomus silwoodensis
- Lethal box jellyfish Malo kingi
- Rhinoceros beetles Megaceras briansaltini
- Michelin Man plant Tecticornia bibenda
The International Institute for Species Exploration have also released the State of Observed Species Report (SOS) for 2006 listing 16,969 new species. 53% of these are not surprisingly insects, though the list includes 185 new mammal and 37 new bird species.Â The SOS report is issued annually on 23rd of May to conincide with the birthday of Linnaeus – it can be downloaded here.
Sustaining Life: How Human Health Depends on Biodiveristy offers, in the words of Al Gore: “The most complete and powerful argument I have seen for the importance of preserving biodiversity“. Includes a foreword by EO Wilson and a prologue by Kofi Annan.
Karsten et al, reporting in this month’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Subscription required for full access), describe the extrodinary life history of a chameleon species Furcifer labordi which spends more time incubating in the egg than living outside it. F. labordi’s incubation period is 8-9 months, they reach sexual maturity within 2 months of hatching then live for a further 2-3 months.
Because they are annually hatching as one age cohort, they all die off within a short space of time prior to replacement in the next life cycle by their incubating offspring. This life history strategy is unkown in over 28,000 other tetrapod (four limbed) vertebrate species but might explain the incidence of rapid deaths of chameleons in captivity.
Dian Fossey’s first article in National Geographic has been republished online. Originally in the January 1970 issue of National Geographic, her front-line account of gorillas in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda is as fresh and compelling now as it must have been to the readers who got their copies of National Geographic back in 1970. Dian’s impassioned call for action is unfortunately as relevant today as it was 38 years ago:
“Money alone will not solve the problem. Conservation groups and political authority must join in concerted programs if this three-nation area and its wildlife are to be saved from human trespassers.
Such help is overdue. I only hope that Raﬁki, Uncle Bert, Icarus, and my other forest friends can survive until it comes.”
The July 2008 National Geographic brings a heart-wrenching update on the fate of Gorilla’s in Virunga National Park, DRC. I’ve been an on-off subscriber to National Geographic for 10-15 years – it’s the quality of articles like this that keep drawing me back.
Research staff at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa have been studying a rarely seen Colossal Squid caught by fishermen off the Antarctic coast last February. They found that it has eyes measuring 27cm in diameter – the largest eye found to date!
There are regular updates on the Te Papa Blog and videos of the ongoing examination.
I wonder if NHBS is the only bookshop in the world with a Cephalopods Category on our website?
We are pleased to announce that the British Trust for Ornithology has appointed NHBS as trade distributor of BTO Publications.
The BTO Nestbox Guide
Identification Guide to European Passerines
Identification Guide to European Non-Passerines
Statistics for Ornithologists
Browse the full list
The British Trust for Ornithology has existed since 1933 as an independent, scientific research trust, investigating the populations, movements and ecology of wild birds in the British Isles. Their speciality is the design and implementation of volunteer wild bird surveys through a partnership between a large number of volunteers and a small scientific staff.
Click here to find out more about becoming a BTO member
Carl Linnaeus was born 300 years ago!
To celebrate the life and work of the ‘father of taxonomy’ we have put together a selection of key taxonomic titles including an English translation of Linnaeus’ Philosophia Botanica and several titles about Linnaeus himself. We have included Order out of Chaos, a co-publication between the Linnean Society of London and London’s Natural History Museum, brings together for the first time information on the typification of all of Linnaeus’ plant names.
Also known as Carl von Linne´ following his ennoblement in 1761, Linnaeus’ lasting legacy is the binomial classification system used to this day. The Tree of Life is a beautifully produced taxonomic overview of the natural world demonstrating the universal utility of the Linnean system. if you need to catch up on ‘recent’ advances since Linnaeus’ day, Milestones in Systematics covers developments in systematics over the last 100 years. We have a wide range of titles on taxonomy and systematics, many related titles can be found in our botanical categories.
Christopher Helm, ornithologist and publisher, passed away on the 20th of January 2007. His legacy lives on in the highly acclaimed range of field guides and other natural history titles published under the ‘Helm’ imprint and well known to birders around the world. The latest Helm title, published just after the sad news of Christopher Helm’s death, is the Birds of Northern South America. Read full obituaries in the Times and Independent newspapers.
A quick look at the BBC News website this lunchtime reveals two interesting articles about our fellow Homo sapiens.
Firstly, the population of the USA reached 300 million as of 11:46GMT today. Just one big number among many big numbers which emerge when discussing how population sizes are growing rapidly in many parts of the world. When do we collectively accept a shared responsibility to consider a global population size based on replacement? Jared Diamond builds towards this point in Collapse (now in paperback). How do we manage our resources and the (inevitable) impact we have on the planet? A number of noteworthy new titles investigate e.g. An Introduction to Sustainable Development, and, focusing on the direct consequence of growing populations and (welcome) development the Earthscan Reader in Sustainable Consumption. In the midst of our consumption, and even in spite of our efforts, what lengths must we take to protect biodiversity? Gaining Ground: In Pursuit of Ecological Sustainability makes a powerful case for the protection of wildlife. How do we balance the high standard of living some of us are lucky enough to enjoy, and that we hope will soon extend to all, with the responsibilty to manage the planet. How are our societies to make these choices, and how are the issues being presented to the public? Environmental Sociology investigates our response to the facts.
Secondly, Oliver Curry of the London School of Economics predicts that the human species will split in two over the next 100,000 years. Curry bases this on likely mating preferences between socio-economic classes – read Mating Systems and Strategies to find out more about the implications of mate choice, or The Complete World of Human Evolution for a broad introduction to humankind.
In a really excellent piece in the Guardian, Robert Macfarlane argues that we must reconnect with our environment through classic works of wildlife literature.
The suggestion – which echoes a similar call made by Lopez exactly 20 years ago in America – is that a series of classic works of nature writing from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland should be established and published. Such a series would not kowtow to the doubtful idea of a “national” literature. Instead, it would be a series of local writings, which concentrated on particular places, and which worked always to individuate, never to generalise. It would not vaunt a little-islandism, nor would it be blind to the spoliation of the landscape which has occurred. It would not adore landscape as a site for the exercise of middle-class nature-sentiment – a gymnasium for the sensitive.
It would, however, honour a form of care, and a form of attention, to the landscapes of the British Isles. It would discover in landscapes values which transcend the commercial and the consumerist. And it would restore to visibility a tradition of nature writing which has slipped from view these past 50 years.