MemberlistThe Library Index  FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   RegisterRegister   ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 
Crying Wolf (Life Sciences)
Reply to topic Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3 ... , 51, 52, 53  Next
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

We argued in Megalithic Empire that the weasel is a domesticated stoat gone feral. We use the 'world record clause' to help identify forgeries and domesticates are, in a sense, forged versions of wild animals, so it was gratifying to hear that weasels hold two world records: they are the smallest carnivores in the world and they have the most powerful bite, pound for pound, in the world. Of course, strictly, these aren't wholly different world records because small size presumably requires big bite but, on the other hand, this is not the usual pattern since small size would normally just mean small prey.

Which leads on to the next question: why don't stoats prey on weasels? The recent doc on the two animals Weasels: Feisty and Fearless (Natural World BBC2) showed the two species living in close proximity and since they seem to lead the same general lifestyle why on earth are the stoats putting up with the weasels? Why, for that matter, aren't adult weasels preying on baby stoats? It's all very reminiscent of siblings in the nursery. Somehow they have developed a built-in tolerance for one another.
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

A correspondent tells me that in fact stoats do predate on weasels, even systematically, but don't seem to make a big thing about it. Nor do weasels, it seems, have much difficulty in keeping out of the way. Oddly it can be the stoats that relocate. It's all very well being bigger mano a mano but not if the other team are breeding like rabbits, which weasels do. Stoats only once a year. On the other hand it is stoats that have delayed implantation which (I seem to remember) is the domesticate marker. Although I also seem to remember that delayed implantation is something that can be exploited by human domesticators. Anyone remember anything about this?

Still, it can all be read as perfectly natural. Boo-hoo.
Send private message
Hatty
Site Admin

In: Berkshire
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Vast animal herds, at least of bison, not only don't overgraze but encourage spring growth.

bison (or buffalo) don’t follow the waves of new shoots that burst from the ground every spring. This phenomenon, known as surfing the green wave, allows animals to eat plants at their most nutritious, when they’re full of nitrogen and proteins and low in indigestible matter. Such freshness is fleeting, and so grazers undertake large migrations to track the new greenery as it crests across the landscape. Over the past decade, scientists have shown that mule deer, barnacle geese, elk, elephants, Mongolian gazelles, and a dozen other species all do this.


But 'non-surfing' seems to be unique to bison herds and the reasons, according to The Atlantic, are migration + animal numbers.

the team learned that bison graze so intensely that they freeze plants in early spring for weeks at a time, preventing them from maturing and forcing them to continuously produce young shoots. Other North American mammals like mule deer can’t do this, because they travel in small-enough groups that plants can still outgrow the effects of their grazing. Bison, however, gather in the thousands. By moving in synchrony, they don’t have to surf the green wave. Uniquely, they can also create it.

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/11/how-bison-create-spring/602176/

The piece is based on observations from Yellowstone where the bison herds are free-ranging if not migratory in the traditional sense. The article brings to mind the question of grass cultivation outlined in TME. If bison were continually being moved on, presumably to prevent overgrazing, their seemingly natural non-surfing is learned behaviour.
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

By the usual concatenation, this was featured in Countryfile this week. It's called 'mob grazing' and is going to revolutionise animal husbandry (sigh, why don't they ever listen to us). Basically you get a herd of cattle penned into an artificially small paddock (by temporary electrified fencing) and they eat the grass but, crucially, trample what they don't eat back into the soil because there are so many of them in such a restricted space. This trampling effect assists with regrowth and all the other things that normally you would need fertilisers and fallow to engender. The cattle are perfectly happy and, job done and well fed, they are moved on to the next small paddock.

Traditionally, of course, farmers are horrified by their lovely sylvan swards being trampled into something out of the First World War and prefer their cattle to munch the grass down to a uniform lawn fit to play shove h'appeny on (or whatever country people do in their spare time) before moving them on to another (large) field. Which in turn will be unprofitably left as short sward and requiring top dressing before the cattle can return the following year. As opposed to swarming with sheep and then goats and then pigs, as the Megalithic method was.

As we pointed out (...er... in so many words) the Megalithic reindeer (or as maybe, bison) herders went in for mob grazing on a much larger scale. That's why bison could be shot in their millions because they insisted on being packed together as the Megalithics had bred them to do. [Hatty, we'd better expand on this for the second edition ... er, I mean the fifteenth reprint.]
Send private message
Hatty
Site Admin

In: Berkshire
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Attenborough's survey of Earth's wildlife was about Europe this week. There was a sequence showing cormorants fishing in the Danube estuary being attacked and robbed of their catch by pelicans. If feeding areas ('Venus pools' as we call them) were constructed for cormorants, the birds could be vulnerable to attack from other seabirds unless the pools were protected. That might be why Venus pools are not large and not easy to find, a far cry from a wide river estuary.

Also featured were two of Europe's most elusive predators, grey wolf and lynx, which to the crews' surprise were quite at home in built up areas. And that was it. Noted but nothing further to add.
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

If feeding areas ('Venus pools' as we call them) were constructed for cormorants, the birds could be vulnerable to attack from other seabirds unless the pools were protected. That might be why Venus pools are not large and not easy to find, a far cry from a wide river estuary.

Half right, surely. They must be easy to find to serve their function, or at any rate sufficiently visible that all birds will find them eventually. And nobody turns their nose up to a free lunch unless...

Venus pools are so designed that only cormorants can use them. To a bird, a stretch of water must be a) landable upon and b) take-offable from. That rules out quite a few sea birds and quite a few water fowl. And cormorants. But cormorants aren't bothered because they can land on and climb out onto the apron round the Venus Pool. (They've all got them.) As might other birds unless... well, I don't know enough about birds to work it out but presumably the Megalithics did. And one of you should. It will be all to do with flight paths around the Venus Pool, I should think. (They are all surrounded by rocks.) What aircraft designers call STOL, short take-off and landing.
Send private message
Hatty
Site Admin

In: Berkshire
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Evolutionary biologists are trying to decide if the body of a puppy, found in Siberia and radiocarbon dated to 18,000 years old, should be called a dog or a wolf

A perfectly preserved body found in the ice of the Siberian permafrost could be the oldest ever confirmed dog. The 18,000-year-old pup nicknamed Dogor – a pun on ‘dog or wolf’ – was found in the summer of 2018 and has been studied since then by Love Dalén and Dave Stanton, 34. They have been trying to work out if it is a wolf or a dog because it comes from the point in history where dogs were domesticated.

Who knew it would be so difficult to tell the two apart?

‘We cannot separate it from a modern wolf, Pleistocene [Ice Age] wolf or dog. One reason why it might be difficult to say is because this one is right there at the divergence time.

‘So it could be a very early modern wolf or very early dog or a late Pleistocene wolf.

‘If it turns out to be a dog I would say it is the earliest confirmed dog.’


https://metro.co.uk/2019/11/27/ice-age-puppy-found-18000-years-buried-permafrost-11224528/
Send private message
Hatty
Site Admin

In: Berkshire
View user's profile
Reply with quote

What has emerged so far from findings in the Siberian permafrost is that dogs are coeval with the earliest modern humans i.e. dogs predate wolves.

Human domestication of dogs predates the beginning of agriculture about 10,000 years ago, but when modern dogs emerged as a species distinct from wolves is still unclear. Although some previous studies have suggested that this separation of domestic dogs and wolves occurred over 100,000 years ago, the oldest known fossils of modern dogs are only about 36,000 years old

Scientists analysing a 'Siberian fossil tooth' state this quite baldly

The new research published today evaluates the relationship of a 33,000 year old Siberian fossil to modern dogs and wolves based on DNA sequence. The researchers found that this fossil, named the 'Altai dog' after the mountains where it was recovered, is more closely related to modern dogs and prehistoric canids found on the American continents than it is to wolves.

and admit they've been looking in the wrong place for early origins

They add, ""These results suggest a more ancient history of the dog outside the Middle East or East Asia, previously thought to be the centers where dogs originated."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130306221139.htm

It surely won't be long before wolves are dogs-gone-feral evolves into scientific fact without anyone noticing?
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Yes, and just as Out-of-Africa has been quietly spatchcocked in to 'additionalise' the previous paradigm of everything coming out of the Middle East, so 'the Altai' will be added to orthodoxy's list of places-things-came-from. As I pointed out in THOBR, according to palaeoanthropologists people always come from places they would not dream of going to.

They'll get round to out-of-America eventually. Although my grandchildren won't be around when they do. Even though I have done my best to lengthen the process by not yet getting to the children part which, I am told, is a necessary first step. I am open to offers. From seedbank operators I mean, I won't have any truck with organic methods. It seems disgusting, I was watching a documentary about it the other day on Dutch XXX.
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

My brother stayed last night -- honestly, they treat the place like a free hotel, my sister was here in March -- and in a lull in the conversation I said, "I must tell you about mob grazing." "No," he replied, "I must send you a paper I've written on the subject."

If only they'd listened when I said he should be put up for adoption.
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Historic England announce Top Ten Discoveries of the Decade

More unusual findings include Britain's earliest rabbit, unearthed in Sussex. A tiny rabbit bone found at Fishbourne Roman Palace showed they arrived from France and Spain a thousand years earlier than thought. Guardian

Not earlier than the authors of The Megalithic Empire thought. When we were writing the book rabbits were supposed to have been a Norman introduction. We took no notice. Then they were supposed to have been a Roman introduction. We took no notice. Now they are supposed to be an Iron Age introduction from France and Spain (what, both?). We're still not taking any notice.

Rabbits are a domesticated form of the hare carried out by the Megalithics though where we are not sure. Berkshire has been mentioned, Notting Hill has been mentioned, but it could be France or Spain or indeed elsewhere. Don't tell orthodoxy, they might throw us into the briar patch.
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

One of our theses in Megalithc Empire is the importance of rabbits, especially in mining districts where food was hard to come by on account of the deforestation. The AE aspect of this was our observation that they kept pushing back the dates of rabbits-in-Britain. This paper https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-general/chickens-and-hares-0013546 fills in some more details

New archaeological research demonstrates brown hares and chickens held godly status in Iron Age Britain

Funnily enough I didn't know about chickens. I always thought they were hyper-modern but anyway I shall be ditching them forthwith.

Archaeologists from the universities of Leicester, Oxford, and Exeter, led by Professor Naomi Sykes, Lawrence Professor of Archaeology, set out to investigate the origins of Easter traditions in Britain. They discovered chickens and hares were “buried with great care” during the Iron Age, between 750 BC to 43 AD, suggesting the two species were revered with godlike status.

Let’s not outrun the evidence and just say they were important for some reason. I buried my pet hamster but I didn't revere him. In fact my mum told me to dig him up before he suffocated.

Previous research by the same team of scientists determined that the first rabbits were not introduced to Britain by the Normans, as was previously thought, but by the Romans when they invaded in the 1st century AD.

Well, there seems earlier indications but anyway...

Both species were farmed as food during the Roman occupation of Britain and after their withdrawal in 410 AD chicken and brown hare populations decreased for half a century

Yer what? Surely the rabbits would have nosedived and the hare population zoomed. Still, it's fascinating to hear that archaeologists can estimate the hare and chicken populations within a fifty year period. If only they could do that with the human population in five hundred year windows. Anyway what happened in the next twelve fifty-year windows? Oh, they're not saying.

until they were reintroduced to Britain as an “ elite food ” by the Normans in the 11 th century.

Yeu English, you know nussing about food. Nor do we, being displaced Vikings, but we are a mysterious people. More in a score. After a score, I’m going viral shopping. If they let me. I'm not supposed to go out for a twelve-week window. Being an oldie they think I'll take up one of their precious ventilators on account of I'm high risk. Of fookin' starving to death. Where's my kaftan...
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Historical evidence suggests Britons considered chickens and hares “as too special to eat” and in the researchers post on the Arts and Humanities Research Council website, team leader Professor Naomi Sykes points to Emperor Julius Caesar ’s firsthand account of the Gallic Wars, Commentarii de Bello Gallico. This text says Britons considered it “contrary to divine law to eat the hare, the chicken, or the goose. They raise these, however, for their own amusement or pleasure.”.

This raises some important points, quite apart from whether you believe de Bello Gallico a work of Ceasar's or of someone a lot later, on the lookout for a good subject for a historical novel. In the first place we can reasonably conclude that the theory about hares having some kind of special status does not come from the archaeological evidence but from an archaeologist who has read de Bello Gallico.

But what of Caesar himself? In his two brief and action-packed visits to these shores he apparently said to Mark Anthony, "Ants, have a scout round and find out which animals these Brits do or do not worship, but maybe keep around for their pleasure or amusement anyway." "Right-oh, skip, any particular animals?" "Start with hares, chickens and geese, then I'll have a follow-up list for you."

"Oh, and Antony, try to keep your hands off the women, will you?" "But they're gagging for it, Jules, that's the one thing everyone knows about British women." This section has now been removed.
Send private message
Mick Harper
Site Admin

In: London
View user's profile
Reply with quote

Historians know Roman records were often works of propaganda and as such their accounts always require a sizable pinch of salt

I hadn't noticed this pinch of salt before. Perhaps the Romans introduced it and then took it away with them when they left.

but in this instance the researchers established the account to be factual, noting previous archaeological excavation reports that detail chickens and hares having been “carefully buried without being butchered”.

That is not applying a sizeable pinch of salt, that is taking the Roman account as being factual and applying it to something that can be interpreted as confirming the Roman account. My money would be on them being pets. Or prize-winners. Or the buried person's favourite food. But maybe the Romans were right and the Brits were mildly doolally about hares and chickens. And geese. You forgot about the geese.

Furthermore, the team radiocarbon dated hare and chicken skeletons from a number of archaeological sites in Hampshire and Herefordshire showing that these two animals were introduced to Britain between the 5th and 3rd centuries BC.

No jokes about 'hurricanes hardly hever happening' because this is important for us. It would seem to indicate that these important Megalithic animals came late. On the other hand, chickens are useful, hares are not. Not that is until they have been domesticated into rabbits.

Archaeological evidence show rabbits were reintroduced to Britain as an elite food at the beginning of the 13 th century AD

It is pretty extraordinary that archaeology has to be relied on. The elite are responsible for the historical record, and they usually chunder on about their food. Perhaps the historical record is not to be relied on. ("Don't start on that, Mick.")

and that their numbers had boomed by the 19 th century

They've gone feral. But what is it, pray, that makes the rabbit so much more successful when competing with the hare? I suppose it is because the hare is also an introduced species (3rd to the 5th century apparently) but this needs thinking about.

contributing to their replacement of the hare as the Easter Bunny, when the Easter festival's traditions were realigned by Victorians.

Remind me again, what were our Easter festival traditions before they were realigned by the Victorians? And remind me again, why were the Victorians realigning them? I know about Albert and the Christmas tree, was he up to his old tricks again? Message ends.
Send private message
Hatty
Site Admin

In: Berkshire
View user's profile
Reply with quote

In 'The Private Life of Chickens' (BBC4) repeated yesterday evening, we were told that chickens have been domesticated for 8,000 years, presumably coeval with the introduction of agriculture, and that the wild ancestors of the domestic chicken are red jungle fowl from Thailand. As with rabbits, chickens can be reared successfully almost anywhere in the world.

How jungle fowl, which aren't any good at flying, spread from Thailand across the globe wasn't explained though it was explained that the lack of flying ability is the reason for the birds' proven intelligence (on a par with dogs', the testers said) because they have to be aware of predators all the time. No reference made to corvid brains of course.
Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Reply to topic Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3 ... , 51, 52, 53  Next

Jump to:  
Page 52 of 53

MemberlistThe Library Index  FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   RegisterRegister   ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group