March 21 Postings
- New discovery of human ancestor
- The amazing Ruby-throated Hummingbird
- Three-quarter million acre conservation easement in Maine
- also reports the discovery in South Africa of a 3.6 million year old complete skeleton of human ancestor Australopithecus (species yet undetermined) that, “when fully excavated, … will help settle questions about how hominids walked and whether they lived in trees or primarily on the ground.”
- From SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN “[Ruby-throated Hummingbirds] weigh about three grams, measure some three inches long and can buzz past you in a blur of color at speeds up to 40 miles per hour.” Much about these birds, including migration patterns, is unknown or little known. “To learn more, Bill Hilton and the Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History in York, S.C., have launched a research project aimed at tracking the hummingbirds, and open to K-12 teachers and students from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. The center will formally recruit the first schools for phase one of the project, beginning this spring in South Carolina , North Carolina and New York, but anyone is welcome to sign up at any time. Home-schooled children and adults are also encouraged to participate. If you think you might be interested, check out the site. It provides a wealth of information.”
Editor’s note: With a little practice you can identify Ruby Throats by sound easily. My first one of 2000 was heard and identified before being seen. Let me know if you can get the hummingbird website, though. It crashes one of my browsers.
- According to of 3/21,762,000 acres of “some of the wildest land in Maine, a total area larger than Rhode Island, will be protected forever from development under a deal that experts call the largest forestland conservation easement in American history.”
Owners of the land,the Pingree family which has owned large tracts of Maine woodland for seven generations, “agreed in 1999 to provide the conservation easement on the land by selling the development rights to a private nonprofit group, the New England Forestry Foundation. But it then remained to be seen whether the foundation would manage to raise approximately $37 per acre to buy the rights.”
On March 20, “the foundation transferred $28,142,316 to Pingree Associates, the organization that represents the family; and it registered new deeds to the 762,192 acres, specifying that the land can never be developed, in six Maine counties. You’ll have to register online to get the article.