A detailed shot reveals the fuzzy texturing of Allonautilus scrobiculatus as well as the visible spiral in its shell, and the pinhole eye and thin flexible tentacles emerging from the harder tentacle sheaths shared by other nautiloids as well. Thirty years after the discovery of the fuzzy, slimy, Allonautilus scrobiculatus, I returned to Papua New Guinea to see if this remarkable living fossil had survived the decades of shell hunting and environmental degradation that have driven these living fossils and their closest relatives to the brink of extinction. We not only found them, we captured the first digital images of them alive in the wild, and attached tracking devices that are revealing some of the oldest and deepest secrets of their survival. Among biologists it is this animal that inspires most, for the simple reason that it appears to be one of the great survivors on Planet Earth: a living fossil. Unfortunately, it is the very popularity of their beautiful, iconic, spiraled, and internally chambered shells that threatens them most, more than meteors from space, atmosphere-polluting global volcanoes, or even long-enduring ice ages ever did. A chambered nautilus’s shell reveals its bright red colors when viewed in shallow water from above. At most sites around the Earth, nautiluses can be found at depths between 300 and a thousand feet. In all but one place on Earth, only a single nautilus species can be found at any one site.
Gregory Barord releases two Allonautilus scrobiculatus with ultrasonic transmitters attached to the dorsal sides of their shells. Recently, National Geographic and the US National Science Foundation (Polar Programs) sponsored an expedition back to the site where Allonautilus was last seen, and the team succeeded in finding it anew. Chief Peter of the Mubani Clan, and Chief Protector of Ndrova Island, holds the shell of a Nautilus at left, and Allonautilus at right. My prior field work in the Philippine Islands, done with Greg on four trips from 2011 to early 2014, has already shown that local populations of Nautilus in the Philippines have been fished to extinction, and the fear was that perhaps the same happened to Allonautilus in PNG in the thirty years since it was last seen alive. A further goal was, almost ironically, to use bits of shell taken from living nautiloids in a very warm tropical setting, to better understand ancient nautiloids that lived right before and after the great Cretaceous-Paleogene mass extinction in Antarctica, a very cold setting indeed for us field workers when down there now. On four extended field trips sponsored by Polar Programs, I pondered the problem of why the fossil nautiloids so common at our Antarctic field sites survived the catastrophic mass extinction of 65 million years ago ending the Cretaceous, while their near look-alikes, the ammonites (also cephalopods with chambered shells) utterly died out. The question was made partially tractable by our Antarctic field work, and it was the generosity of National Geographic and the Waitt Foundation as well as NSF Polar Programs that allowed this current trip to be possible, the leadership scientists there understanding that the present is indeed the key to the past; that we also needed to study the living descendants as well as the Cretaceous dead, which took us to this study of extant Nautilus and its cousin, Allonautilus, at the sole known place where both can be found.
Additionally, two other techniques not available in 1985 were brought to the field site: deep water video cameras and small acoustic transmitters that could be attached to the shell.
The great joys were the moments we retrieved our traps to find nautiluses, the times we would swim with them, and especially when we pulled our giant, heavy deep-water video systems from the sea and spread out on the lawn on our small island. Happily (and in spite of the rigors of working from small boats in equatorial heat and humidity, the latter playing havoc with all electronics, computers, and cameras), all goals were met. Bravo to the young people who are working to get the word out concerning the plight of these beautiful creatures. The shell of the Paper Nautilus, a fine pure white shell, is often to be found on the storm-swept beaches of the islands in Bass Strait.
This author might’ve mentioned how the chamber mechanism is used to control depth, also the fractal nature of the chamber layout.
Mention should be made of the first scientist who figured out where to look, and went out and found them: dr.
And also happy answer any questions y’all might have about the trip or nautiluses in general.
So, and now for the important question: what can we do to protect the habitat of these animals?
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Suspicions between China and its neighbours bedevil its boundaries to the east, south and west.
SRINAGAR, INDIAN-ADMINISTERED KASHMIR — Every day, Irfan Ansari sorts through dozens of resumes from young Kashmiris seeking jobs at his call center, seen by many here as a haven from the turmoil caused by militant Islamist forces seeking to uproot the government of Indian-administered Kashmir.
A new generation of Kashmiris is weary of five decades of tensions over the future of this Himalayan region, which has been a flash point for India and Pakistan, both nuclear powers that claim Kashmir as their own. But Kashmiris have been caught in the diplomatic dilemma facing the Obama administration as it tries to persuade Pakistan to take on a stronger role fighting Islamist extremists and simultaneously seeks to improve relations with India, Pakistan’s arch foe. Many Kashmiris celebrated when President Obama took office nearly a year ago, because he seemed to favor a more robust approach to bring stability to Kashmir, where human rights groups estimate that as many as 100,000 people have died in violence and dozens of Pakistan-backed militant groups have sprung up. I went to Tibet the summer of 2001 to complete senior field research as part of my geography coursework at Humboldt State University and it was amazing, month-long journey (photo gallery). Last week saw a wave of violence sweep the plateau with anti-Chinese demonstrations escalating into violence in the Tibetan capital as security forces clashed with the protesters.


It looks like the security forces will now proceed with a Myanmar (Burma) style brutal crackdown, complicated by the fact that China’s new president was once governor of the Tibet Autonomous Region and was known to be less than friendly in his tactics then. While researching the map for The Post, I found a neat Wired graphic of the luxery train to Lhasa from the July 2007 issue, below.
The Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest structure made by living organisms, stretches 1,600 kilometers along the northeast coast of Australia.
If half the Grand Canyon crumbled to nothing in less than three decades, would we stand up and pay attention?
A new study released yesterday by the Australian Institute of Marine Science shows that in just the last 27 years, the Great Barrier Reef has lost half of its coral. Yet according to this new study, this degradation is less directly linked to the usual suspects.
Controlling the starfish problem, it turns out, would allow the reef’s degradation — pegged at losses of between four and eight percent of coral cover per year — to reverse. According to the study, the starfish in its larval stage feeds on plankton, populations of which surge when fertilizer runoff floods the coastal ocean waters with nutrients. The last time the starfish bloomed in 2003, the government spent more than $3 million to try to control the population. Oddly, the Australian government is also planning coal and natural gas export facilities that would bring a constant stream of ships across the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
With all these environmental threats and new industrial activity, apparently we’ll have to be content with renaming one of our most spectacular natural wonders the Incredibly Shrinking Barrier Reef.
It is a shocking event, but sadly these reports and pages would be more read by the likes of us, who already understand to some extent the effects of Global Warming.
What is required by WRI and the UN is sustained media campaign on popular TV channels along with explanation of how such changes would directly affect the life we know.
But the most challanging task would be to balance the ecological good with business opportunity saving the planet would harbinger. National Geographic VoicesResearchers, conservationists, and others around the world share stories and commentary on the National Geographic Society's conversation platform Voices. Society Field Inspection 2016: Gulf of CaliforniaDescribed by Jacques Cousteau as the "aquarium of the world," the Gulf of California in Mexico is threatened by coastal development, climate change, and other human activities. Two years after being discovered deep in a South African cave, the 1,500 fossils excavated during the Rising Star Expedition have been identified as belonging to a previously unknown early human relative that National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Lee Berger and team have named Homo naledi. With at least 15 individuals of all ages and both sexes represented, the find adds an unprecedented amount of information to our understanding of early human evolution in Africa. In addition, the absence of any other animal remains or large debris in the fossil chamber strongly suggests that these non-human beings intentionally deposited their dead within this cave. BANABA ISLAND, Kiribati—Asbestos dust covers the floors of Banaba’s crumbling colonial houses, buildings, and schools. Golden jackals of Africa and Eurasia are actually two distantly related speciesa€”and one is a new species of wolf, a new study shows. Africa's golden jackal (pictured, an animal in Tanzania's Ngorongoro Conservation Area) is actually a type of wolf. The golden jackal, which lives in East Africa and Eurasia, is actually two distantly related speciesa€”and one of them is a new species of wolf, a new study says. Dubbed the African golden wolf, it's the first new species of canida€”a group that includes wolves, coyotes, and jackalsa€”discovered in 150 years.
Though golden jackals look mostly the samea€”the Eurasian animals are slightly smaller than the African ones, with a narrower skull and slightly weaker teetha€”in-depth analysis of their DNA revealed two species that have evolved separately for millennia.
Koepfli proposes renaming the African golden jackal the African golden wolf (Canis anthus), while retaining the original species name for the Eurasian golden jackal (C.
In 2012, biologist Philippe Gaubert, of the University of Montpellier in France, published a paper showing that African golden jackals appeared to be a subspecies of gray wolf that's separate from the Eurasian jackal.
Gaubert used snippets of jackal mitochondrial DNA, which is passed on by mothers, for his analysis.
Koepfli found these results interesting, and wanted to verify them using more samples from a broader geographic area and more data from across both the jackal and gray wolf genomes. In doing so, he expected to replicate Gaubert's earlier worka€”but that's not what happened.
A 3-pound (1.4-kilogram) ostrich egg is a tough meal to cracka€”unless you're a tool-wielding vulture with just the right technique. Instead, he discovered the African golden jackal is a new wolf species of its own, and that this species and the Eurasian golden jackal are distant cousins, having last shared an ancestor about a million years ago.
Gaubert stands by his original work, saying that although he finds the new study to be high-quality work, he isn't yet convinced that the African golden wolf is a new species.
So why do the African golden wolf and the Eurasian jackal look the same if they're distantly related? Study leader Koepfli says that the same evolutionary pressures likely influenced the animals' evolution.


And despite all these threats, and the nautiloids’ long history, fascinating discoveries are still being made about them. They live singly (never in schools), they grow slowly (taking up to 15 years to reach full size and reproductive age), and they are never overly abundant as they slowly swim over the deep sea beds searching for carrion on the bottom. It was first seen alive in 1984, and was found to be so astoundingly different in shell and soft part anatomy that it was, in 1997, give a wholly new genus name: Allonautilus (and species name scrobiculatus). But beyond that, if found, the goal was to get the first digital photos, the first live videos, and most importantly, get small snips of flesh, taken in non-lethal fashion, so that the new and powerful DNA techniques of modern genetic science could better understand these animals.
If monitored overhead day and night from small boats fitted with appropriate electronic receivers, these transmitters would obtain priceless information on the habits, depths, and even temperatures at which Nautilus and Allonautilus live on the same shared, deep reef environments.
We worked around the clock, with Rick, Manuai, and Greg taking turns with me as we sat in small boats day and night to retrieve the signals of our tagged nautiluses, living their lives far below but informing us of their depths, position, and temperatures of habitation for six days and five nights straight.
The possible bad news is that their habitat—this part of Papua New Guinea where uniquely in the world two genera of nautiloid cephalopods live—is slated soon for large-scale, deep-water mining that will dredge the sea floor, a seafloor above which these ancient survivors still live.
Nobody appears to hunt them there: they live out their lives unhindered, in water much colder than the tropical nautiloids this article describes.
Gregory Barord) and previous trips, and wanted to tell you also what a couple of 12 year olds have done to help nautilus conservation and how to help. At one point, the Obama administration contemplated appointing former president Bill Clinton as a special envoy to the region.
The impact on this summer’s Olympics in Beijing (such as a boycott by some attending nations because of human rights concerns) remains to be seen. If Teddy and Abe’s heads eroded off Mount Rushmore would we step in to save George and Tom? A 2011 report from the World Resources Institute found that three-quarters of the world’s coral reefs are threatened by increased stress from pollution and climate change. After all, an increase in intensity of coastal storms is undoubtedly a symptom of planetary warming. Because the rate of growth of the truly environmentally aware is very small compared to the time window we have to abate climate change. Posters and commenters are required to observe National Geographic's community rules and other terms of service. To learn firsthand what's going on in and around this marine treasure of global importance, the National Geographic Society sent its top scientists and officials to the region in January 2016.
For instance, he says scientists have yet to tease apart some conflicting results in the DNA analyses. For instance, the canids' harsh desert habitats could have led to their small, lean bodies and light coats, which don't absorb as much sunlight. Surviving the global spread and increasing numbers of humans and our desire for shells and cheap trinkets made from those shells is something else entirely.
As the great, and sadly recently deceased paleontologist David Raup famously asked, “Was it good genes? The heat was a force—oppressive, the afternoons barely breathable; and it is in such times that companions can make the hardship bearable—others living the same hardships and not complaining.
At the same time, I also feel sad that these amazing creatures may not survive human’s greed.
A lot are just unenlightened or unaware of the dwindling state and finality of extinction for most endangered species in our realm. Corals are very sensitive to temperature, but because they are stationary, they cannot migrate to find their prime habitat. The study found coastal storms were the leading culprit that caused 48 percent of the damage, and the remaining 42 percent was a result of an exploding population of the crown of thorns starfish that preys on coral.
The starfish problem may be slightly easier to manage than reversing global emissions of greenhouse gasses, but it will require action sure to be unpopular with agricultural interests.
They toured the desert islands off the southeastern coast of the Baja Peninsula and they listened to presentations by more than a dozen experts, including several whose Baja California research is funded by the Society. So as ocean temperatures warm, the coral organisms die, leaving just the white skeletal structures, a phenomenon known as bleaching. In addition to the inherent value of protecting a tremendous natural resource, and the environmental benefits it provides from fish habitat to protection against storm surges, the reef is also a major economic engine in northeast Australia. We have so little forest cover now, What forests are left are usually sterile, with large mammals, birds and reptiles almost all missing.



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