Posts Tagged 'mammals'

Mammal/Mushroom Combo Monday

A melanistic variation on the ubiquitous Eastern Grey Squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis. These darker ones are said to tolerate colder weather better. Another notion has it that urban environments, with less predators, are also more likely to see greater numbers of both black and white variations of S. carolinensis. Our first example is digging up a nut or berry, but these squirrels are so successful because they’re practically omnivorous. The leftover-monger with snout in the hazelnut spread is from 2015 in Prospect Park. Besides scavenging our ample waste-food, gathering seeds, nuts, and fruits, and the occasional invertebrate and even vertebrate, they also eat mushrooms. Not sure if the small, tentative bite marks here, however, are squirrel. This mushroom was found in Green-Wood, which interestingly doesn’t have as high a density of squirrels as Prospect Park or the botanical garden in the Bronx (first picture).

Mammal Monday: Whistlepig

I’d just passed two woodchuck-sized holes under a tree when the lumbering run of a groundhog-in-the-fur caught my eye. The animal stood up for the best view in front of its burrow. Marmota monax, mammal of many names. Slightly easier to see if you click on this image to make it larger.

The children’s gulag is concentrating.

The lying jurist (I’m pretty sure the FBI thing is just a cover for Flake, Collins, and Murkowski: they’ll ultimately vote yes ~ the whole party is Trump’s now.)

Remains of the Night

Something got this bat, or else something else (a car?) got it and then something ate of it. I’m struck by the delicate structure of the rib cage.

The entomologist and curator Alex Wild said this on Twitter yesterday after the disaster in Brazil: “The loss of the Brazilian National Museum to a preventable fire? This is very much the future of science and museums in the United States if people like Trump succeed in holding power. Every spare cent eventually funneled away from public goods into the oligarchs’ pockets.”

There Were Whales

D. Graham Burnett’s The Sounding of the Whale: Science and Cetaceans in the Twentieth Century is a whale of a book. He traces the… evolution (?) of whale science from the cutting room floor of factory ships by scientists who were more or less creatures of the industry, flensing their way through interesting collections of oils (which lubricated ICBMs, among other things) and data, ever so much more data, as species were hunted to the brink, to a rather sudden transformation, a re-mystification in many senses, of whales in the late 1960s.

By the 1970s, Greenpeace and other factors had made saving the whales a rallying cry, the focus of environmentalism. Weirdo-weird guy John C. Lilly, he of the dolphin “mind” and, uh, other parts, best (?) represents the transition: from Defense Department funded explorer of brain-washing and sensory-deprivation to Navy-funded (briefly) dolphin evangelist to LSD-dropping freak babbling about alien consciousness. (The Navy still exploits dolphins for war.) Lilly gave LSD to dolphins, too, by the way, but, as Burnett points out, researchers were doing to that to a lot of animals, including the two-legged kind.

The wretched International Whaling Commission, an entity of whale industry states designed to perpetuate the industry, was finally beaten to submission to a whaling moratorium (with too many exceptions) in 1982.

I started this book some time ago. Here’s what I wrote about it then. It’s a deep dive. I got out of the water for a while and only just recently returned. I’m glad I did. The last chapter is fascinating. You could do worse than just reading the conclusion, which breachs one of the great questions of history writing.

Et In Arcadia Ego

Mammal Monday

Rat on the rocks.

Mammal Monday

Half a dozen Greys were around or up inside this tree. (Some kind of walnut, I think; fruit looked pecan-y but leaves didn’t.) Also I wasn’t sure if the nuts raining down upon me were intentional. Poetic fallacy and all.

The tree certainly makes the animal work for it.

Update: We ran into Daniel Atha, of the NYC Ecoflora Projet. He had just come from taking a specimen of this tree! It turns out to be butternut (Juglans cinerea), which is also known as white walnut. It’s the only living one in the city he knows of. The specie sis beset by butternut canker; in some states 80% of the butternuts have been killed off.

Reading: Resistance: Reclaiming An American Tradition by Jeff Biggers. (Please don’t use Amazon. The link is to Indiebound. Or your local library.)


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