For almost two years, the honeybees that support almost all human agriculture have fought a plague right out of a sci-fi movie. Varroa mites, a deadly parasite, have hid in the labyrinthine combs of beehives, feeding off the juices of still-living insects, and causing the the problem we know as Colony Collapse Disorder.
To help our bee allies fend off the alien invaders, the Agriculture Research Service division of the Department of Agriculture has created a new breed of super-vigilant bees that will take the fight to the mites.
A decade ago, the bells of doom started to sound for carefree, swinging koalas. A new, HIV-like retrovirus had begun to attack the koala population, decimating its ranks and threatening extinction.
Now, the Australian researchers have launched an effort to stop the spread of the virus before it's too late.
Lazy? Shy? Live in a cave? Those might not be positive attributes for the average human, but they sure are good for animals trying to survive in a changing environment. According to a new study in the journal The American Naturalist, beasts that hibernate, burrow, or crawl into holes in things are less likely to be listed as endangered than those that don’t.
A recent fossil discovery gives renewed credence to a theory of massive and swift extinction
By Marshall ReavesPosted 01.20.2009 at 3:57 pm 6 Comments
New evidence suggests the reign of the dinosaurs ended not with a whimper, but with a bang. Already, previous geological evidence of an apocalyptic meteor impact in what is now Mexico had led some paleontologists to believe in a massive extinction event. Now, the discovery of fossilized dinosaurs and eggshells in northeastern Russia supports the theory of a rapid extinction some 66 million years ago.
Back in pre-historic times, say, 130,000-30,000 years ago, Europe was dominated not by quaint cafes and dainty bakeries, but by a group of not-quite humans called Neanderthals. In the form of a common insult, their legacy lives on today, and perhaps more accurately than we think: new research suggests that the Neanderthal's extinction was not due to climate change (as was previously argued) but rather to their inability to beat the competition, which came in the form of Cro-Magnon—the first anatomically modern human population.
Long gone are the days when woolly mammoths roamed the icy North American and Eurasian turf 10,000 years ago. But in the labs of Penn State University they have been resurrected—well, almost.
While you won't see a shaggy, 12-feet-tall mammoth brought back from the dead any time soon (unlike the 16-year-old frozen mice earlier this month), scientists at Penn State are the first to decode almost the entire DNA set of the now extinct species of elephant.
A recent census shows that more than 125,000 gorillas--more than twice the estimated population--are alive and well in the Congo
By Megan MillerPosted 08.06.2008 at 4:12 pm 0 Comments
Two decades ago, "saving the gorillas" became a cause celebre when researchers announced that western lowland gorilla populations in the Congo had dwindled to critically endangered numbers. Our primate relatives were threatened by a widespread outbreak of the Ebola virus, as well as poachers who hunted the animals for bushmeat.
Estimates at the time of the 1980 gorilla census were in the range of 100,000 individuals, but since then experts believed that the number had dropped to less than 50,000.
Scientists create a new system for modeling risk and discover that some species may be far more endangered than ever imagined
By Molika AshfordPosted 07.03.2008 at 2:45 pm 11 Comments
In Even Deeper Water?
Joel Garlich-Miller, USFWS
Adding insult to injury, many species that are already solidly facing extinction might actually be 100 times more endangered than previously thought, scientists say. A new mathematical model, developed by ecologists at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of California, produces extinction risks that are orders of magnitude higher than conservation biologists estimated in compilations like the IUCN red-list.