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Crying Wolf (Life Sciences)
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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Might the cassowary, a flightless bird but able to protect itself, have been first domesticated in Australia and subsequently stranded in New Guinea following the great calamity?
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Then why isn't it (wasn't it) in Australia? Besides, what animals have been domesticated in Australia? They have a very poor (non-existent?) record.
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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According to Wiki, the cassowary is "native to the tropical forests of New Guinea, Aru Islands, and northeastern Australia".
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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I was thinking about Little Red Riding Hood (aka Little Red Cap) and wondered if a red hood being eaten and vomited could have originated from wolves ingesting fly agaric, most probably from a reindeer carcass. Wolves and ravens, both feeding on reindeer carrion, are known to be highly intelligent, but I don't know if reindeer have ever been considered intelligent. In folklore they are said to fly, on the ground they're credited with the longest migrations of any land animal, perhaps they are literally on a trip.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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Brilliant! Everone else is blaming the Wolf, (this happens alot around here ask Coyote, he is always being sacked) but you have worked out the real danger is The Granny Mushroom, old and wrinkled, and the poisonous Red Capped Hooded variety.

You shouldnt go into the woods without knowing the basics.

No wonder the poor wolf died.

I think collectively we are owed an apology, and reparations.
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Hatty
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In: Berkshire
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Woods are wonderful for getting lost in. It's wise to take a guide when the mushroom season starts.

In our local wood there's a manmade pond now quite overgrown and picturesque with a resident heron standing sentinel. Heron, said to be from 11-12th century 'Old French' (eigron in Occitan), seems to have been called crane in English and crannog apparently means 'crane island' though nobody knows the actual origin of the word crannog. Still, cranes nesting on an islet may have helped maintain the structure as they are known to ingest gizzard stones which they vomit up in locations that lack stones.

In Christian folklore herons have been endowed with some distinctly Hermes-like traits

The heron bird symbol was developed when a heron with a white stone in its beak became a symbol of wisdom that accrues to the Christian virtue of silence.
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Ishmael


In: Toronto
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Hatty wrote:
I was thinking about Little Red Riding Hood (aka Little Red Cap) and wondered if a red hood being eaten and vomited could have originated from wolves ingesting fly agaric,


Oh my god Hatty. So brilliant!
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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No, it's rather a dull red.

I am a bit anti-Hatty at the moment because, having posted up a near-death experience over the weekend, she omitted to enquire how I was during our scheduled Monday morning conference. Such professionalism.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Europe's Wilderness S1 E1: European Bison London Live

"So the bison will probably hang around on the edge of the meadows. Or in the forest, they don't like being exposed to the direct sun. As they cross different types of terrain they make sure they maintain a varied diet. In contrast to agricultural cattle they can digest woody plants well which allows them to access different nutrients."

You would think someone by now might have wondered how such obviously forest creatures could possibly have ended up 99.9% in two discrete populations:
(a) occupying the treeless grassland plains of central Asia and
(b) occupying the treeless prairies of North America.

It would of course be a complete coincidence that the only two bison-based societies known to history are
(a) the grassland plains-dwelling Altaic central Asians and
(b) the closely related prairie-dwelling Plains Indians.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Put-Down of the Week (in his opinion)

Jenni Monet wrote:
Save a Language, Save the Planet
Discussing language preservation as a way to advance climate justice with Oglala Lakota Oyaté environmentalist Anpo Jensen at the U.N.
https://medium.com/indigenously/save-a-language-save-the-planet-8874016f70c3

Mick Harper in medium.com wrote:
Is this the same Oglala people who destroyed half a continent's flora and fauna by turning it into a treeless monoculture (grass) supporting only two vertebrates (bison and Oglala)?
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Oddly, I only read this piece (I try to avoid anything with UN and environmentalist in the strap) because of a little contretemps over Lakotan (the Sioux language) many years ago. SAE for the details. I am unclear whether Oglala, Sioux and Lakotan are differentiable nowadays but I thought 'Plains Injuns' might not get me a hearing.

As you see, I felt it ungermane to mention the third vertebrate, horses.
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Hatty’s been at it again, causing trouble.

Elizabeth Raggi Killorin wrote:
I am thrilled to actually be able to post something in this group! Last week the family and I were fortunate enough to visit Dartmoor on our visit from the US, and our guide led us on a portion of the Mariner’s Way as well as other lovely paths around Kes Tor. What a delight. I hope to someday return.

You wouldn’t think this charming little holiday postcard would be the cause of strife, and at first it wasn't

Shelagh Forward-Cook wrote:
Glad you enjoyed it. The US must have ancient tracks too. There is a proud history of indigenous peoples.

I don’t know about Hatty but I’m feeling distinctly ill.

Liz Ditz wrote:
Yes, there were ancient tradeways, but the fact that the indigenous peoples of the Americas did not domesticate hoofed stock means that the archeological evidence is scant if not missing.

She shouldn't ought to have said that.

Harriet Vered wrote:
According to fossil evidence there were large herds of domesticated animals before Europeans got to America. Remember the bison? The horses, before they were killed off? By c. 1800 when Europeans first arrived in the Great Plains of North America, Plains Indians were completely dependent on hunting the bison by riding the horses. So clearly a domesticated situation. Except that everybody (historians, zoologists, palaeontologists) is agreed that this was a completely 'wild' situation, with the only properly domesticated element being the horses.

She shouldn't ought to have said that...
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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I'll re-arrange to make the exchange clearer and incorporate citations (on Lis's part, obviously the Hatty creature has none).

Lis Ditz wrote:
I am afraid you are ill-informed. Native peoples very successfully hunted bison for millennia before 1519. Bison were not domesticated. The various tribes throughout the bison's pre-European invasion hunted them using various methods of stealth and driving. Equines became extinct in North America millennia before the European invasion.

Hatty wrote:
Can you explain how it is possible for the horse to evolve in America, flourish in America and then suddenly go extinct n America? Either Man made it extinct throughout the continent – which would be near-impossible without horses to hunt them to extinction, never mind why they would want to do so, or the fossil record rather than the horse disappeared.

Lis Ditz wrote:
Equus scotti had a wide distribution over the continent. Fossils of this horse first appeared approximately 2 million years ago and went extinct by 10,000 years ago.

Hatty wrote:
When animals are domesticated, they don’t leave fossils.

Lis Ditz wrote:
I do science, not speculation. Domesticated animals do indeed leave skeletal traces.

Hatty wrote:
As you say, every animal leaves skeletal remains. It's only non-domesticated ones that leave fossils.

Lis Ditz wrote:
The modern horse is a re-introduction. In 1493, on Columbus’ second voyage to the Americas, Spanish horses, representing E. caballus, were brought back to North America, first in the Virgin Islands, and, in 1519, they were reintroduced on the continent, in modern-day Mexico, from where they radiated throughout the American Great Plains, after escape from their owners or by pilfering.

Hatty wrote:
You only have to look to see that the native American ‘pinto pony’ bears no resemblance to Spanish horses.

Lis Ditz wrote:
We do not accurately know what the equines brought to the New World by the invading Europeans starting in the sixteenth century looked like. Using type references for modern Spanish horses as proof that "the native American ‘pinto pony'" is not related to its European ancestors is not strong evidence.

Hatty wrote:
We know exactly what Spanish horses looked like from hundreds of paintings, we know the genetic situation from comparing any modern European breed to any Appaloosa-type horse.

How it ended comes next.
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Mick Harper
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Lis Ditz wrote:
The extinction affected not just equids, but most large mammals. About 10,000 years ago at the end of the Pleistocene, most of North America’s large mammals, including Equus species, went extinct. The cause of their extinction is widely debated among the scientific community with a definitive conclusion not yet determined, but several theories exist.

Hatty wrote:
You only have to look about you to know the number one reason for why animal extinctions on a large scale take place.

Lis Ditz wrote:
Some possible explanations include climate change. The end of the Pleistocene, or the last ice age, likely caused a series of major changes to the continent’s habitat and vegetation patterns. You are neglecting the climate change aspect...

Hatty wrote:
Climate change really does not compute. As the ice gradually advanced (or retreated) the herds would just have shifted southwards or northwards. It's doubtful if they'd have even noticed.

Lis Ditz wrote:
... human arrival, an evolution of grassland vegetation, or an extraterrestrial impact. Also, during this time, populations of bison began to grow and spread, competing with horses for food, causing a resource shortage. Fossil records from this time indicate that horses’ ranges were shrinking, and horses themselves were also shrinking in size, likely due to an inadequate food supply. Further pressure was placed on horses when humans arrived, as there is evidence suggesting that these early humans hunted horses.

Hatty wrote:
Not even human beings could hunt horses to extinction without the use of horses. Hunt them, yes. Kill them in appreciable numbers, yes. Render them extinct across the entirety of North America, no.

Lis Ditz wrote:
...the competition for scarce graze aspect -- as the bison herds expanded, the equid herds contracted.

Hatty wrote:
We aren't talking about equid herds contracting, we're talking about equid herds getting wiped out to the last horse.

And there we must leave our two thoroughbreds as they gallop off to the Great Plains of sleepy-bies.
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