Animals

Despite Prediction, Viagra Hasn’t Stemmed Trade in Threatened Wildlife

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 31, 2001   View Article

When the male potency drug Viagra came on the market in 1998, conservationists and animal protection groups were hopeful it would produce an unintended side effect: an end to world demand for animal parts—often from endangered species —used as aphrodisiacs.

In the case of harp seals, which are not endangered, anecdotal evidence has suggested that Viagra may have helped to shrink trade in seal genitals used in traditional medicines to enhance male virility. But conservationists and others caution against overstating the significance of such evidence, saying the link is tenuous.

Penguin Decline in Antarctica Linked With Climate Change

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 9, 2001   View Article

Emperor penguins like it cold. Now, scientists have determined that the penguins’ susceptibility to climate change accounts for a dramatic decline in their number over the past half century.

Over the past 50 years, the population of Antarctic emperor penguins has declined by 50 percent. Using the longest series of data available, researchers have shown that an abnormally long warm spell in the Southern Ocean during the late 1970s contributed to a decline in the population of emperor penguins at Terre Adelie, Antarctica.

Salamander Origins Pegged to Asia

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 28, 2001   View Article

A day in the life of ancient salamanders was frozen in time when hot ash from a cataclysmic volcanic eruption inundated a pond in northern China 150 million years ago.

More than 500 fossil specimens were collected from the site, some with rare soft-tissue impressions. These fossils fill a huge gap in the fossil record and offer compelling evidence for an Asian origin of the salamanders that roam Earth’s temperate and tropical forests today.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach