Good news for bats in Europe, if not the US: A species of bat thought to have disappeared from a British island chain 40 years ago has actually been hanging out all along, doing just fine despite habitat loss. Biologists found a pregnant female roosting in a pine tree, and say they might be able to improve the bats' living situation.
Japanese researchers, led by Akira Iritani, professor emeritus of Kyoto University, have begun plans to resurrect the long-extinct (except in our hearts and minds and museums) woolly mammoth through new cloning techniques. The researchers hope to induce the birth of a new woolly mammoth--the first since the last Ice Age--within five or six years.
Biologists are asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine whether the little brown bat — formerly one of the most common mammals in North America — should be added to the endangered species list, bat conservationists said Thursday.
DENVER — Gerald Carter walked over to Dave Dalton's table and paused, listening to a discussion about infrared light. He set down his backpack full of video and audio equipment and smiled. "I love this lamp. I left it running for three months," he said, eyeing a round black object. He has three hard drives' worth of vampire bat videos, all illuminated by the special infrared lamp Dalton sells. It's a fondness only bat researchers could appreciate.
DENVER — What's a crisis if not an opportunity? Scores of graduate students reporting new research at a bat conference this week shows the two are tightly bound.
Students are working on the front lines of one of conservation biology's biggest challenges: The widespread death of bats from white-nose syndrome. The fast-moving fungus, which is expected to infiltrate much of the midwest and west this winter, is causing equally brisk priority shifts in academic institutions across the continent.
Tom Kunz has been studying bats throughout New England for more than four decades. In annual treks to remote caves, he and other researchers from Boston University capture bats, banding them to track their migration patterns and movement over the years. During trips to bat hibernacula—the bats' winter hideouts—he grew accustomed to cave walls covered in huddled masses of bats, tens of thousands strong. Aeolus Cave in Vermont, the largest bat hibernaculum in the northeast, has long been a winter home for more than 100,000 bats. Kunz regards them fondly, like old friends. What he sees today brings him to tears.
For years scientists have debated the cause of the mass extinction that killed off the dinosaurs and a slew of other species on Earth 65.5 million years ago. Now, after reviewing 20 years worth of data and research, an international team of scientists concludes that it was a a huge meteorite strike that triggered the extinction.
In the late 1970s, a geophysicist discovered an impact crater in Yucatán, Mexico, and analysis showed the crater's date of origin to be the end of the Cretaceous. Geologic data indicate that the meteorite that produced the Chicxulub crater -- which lies partially buried beneath the Yucatán Peninsula -- was between 10 and 15 kilometers (6 and 10 miles) in diameter and caused an explosion on Earth that was a billion times more powerful than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.