Archive for May, 2006

“Hobbit” Island Tools Predate Modern Humans, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 31, 2006   View Article

Long before the dawn of modern humans, relatively sophisticated tools were being made on the Indonesian island of Flores, a new study says.

Scientists who believe the creatures to be a separate human species have dubbed them Homo floresiensis. Their Lord of the Rings nickname comes courtesy of their height—about 3.3 feet, or 1 meter.

Mail Order Chickens: USPS Ships Live Birds by the Thousands

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 25, 2006   View Article

Some people want fresh eggs or poultry, others just want a quirky pet. Whatever the reason, just about any U.S. resident can get live young chickens in the mail.

“If you have a zip code, we can get them there,” said Murray McMurray, owner of the McMurray Hatchery in Webster City, Iowa.

Deep Sea Volcano Erupts on Film – A First

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 24, 2006   View Article

Billowing ash plumes, molten sulfur droplets, feisty shrimp feasting on fish killed by noxious gases, red lava jetting from a vent—they’re all part of the action recently filmed at an underwater volcano in the western Pacific Ocean.

The images are the first ever direct observations of an active, submarine arc volcano. These volcanoes grow near trenches that form where one piece of Earth’s oceanic crust slips beneath another.

Lion Killings Spur Fears of Regional Extinction in Kenya

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 22, 2006   View Article

Lions may soon be obliterated from southern Kenya, unless immediate steps are taken to rein in their slaughter, wildlife experts warn.

“Ten years ago there used to be lions everywhere. You’d hear lions at night, find their tracks during the day. That simply is not true anymore,” said Laurence Frank, a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, and an expert on African predators.

Montenegro Splits From Serbia, Redrawing Europe’s Map

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 22, 2006   View Article

Citizens of Montenegro voted Sunday to cut ties with neighboring Serbia, crumbling the last vestige of communist-era Yugoslavia, according to early results released today.

The results, if ratified by Montenegro’s parliament, will draw a new political border between the two Balkan republics.

“Hobbit” Humans Were Diseased, Not New Species, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 18, 2006   View Article

The “hobbit” humans that lived on the Indonesian island of Flores some 18,000 years ago were actually a population of modern humans stricken with a genetic disease that causes small brains, a new study says.

The argument is being made by a group of scientists who have analyzed all the scientific evidence presented so far about the evolution of the proposed species Homo floresiensis.

Humans Are Birdbrained When Learning Speech, Study Hints

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 17, 2006   View Article

Hummingbirds are well known for their ability to flap their wings at an eye-blurring 75 beats or more per second. Less known, perhaps, is the fact that they can learn to sing the hummingbird equivalent of “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.”

Like parrots and sparrows, whales and dolphins, and bats and humans, hummingbirds are part of a select group of animals that possess the ability to imitate and learn sounds—a process known as vocal learning.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach