March 21 Postings
Index of postings on this page
- DISCOVER 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
Operation Ruby Throat 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
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 the New York Times
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.