Category: Extinction

Creatures Great & Small

Bee on Lavender, Photo by PH Morton

Bee on Lavender, Photo by PH Morton

The tiniest living thing
That soars on feathered wing,
Or crawls among the long grass out of sight
Has just as good a right
To its appointed portion of delight
As any King.

A lovely thought from Chritina Rossetti, to remind us that we should not only be mindful of each other as human beings but we should also think of the plight of other creatures around us.

This thought is especially topical concerning what become of Cecil the Lion from Zimbabwe. Cecil was king of his pride and had a fairly wild time with his kin and only to become a murder victim of a human vanity. Poor Cecil!

What of Walter Palmer? What compels him to kill beautiful wild animals?

What is this about dentists? The electric chair was invented by one; and the sugary cotton candy as well! What goes on in their mind while thinking whether a patient needs an amalgam or not?!!! LOL

busy buzzing bees

The safety of England depends on the number of cats she keeps. He proves his proposition thus: Without the aid of bumble-bees the red clover could not be fertilised. Bumble-bees make their nests on the ground, where they are the prey of mice. Cats destroy the mice and give the bees a chance to live. Hence he reasons, no cats, many mice; many mice, no bumble-bees; no bees, no clover; no clover, no cattle; no cattle, no beef; and without beef where would the Englishman be?

—Prof. W. W. Cooke—(American Bee Journal.)


Busy Bees at Feed

Bees are extremely important to our survival as human beings. They fertilise the flowers of many food resources to naturally produce the goods.

There was a report not long ago that there were fears that bees are heading into extinctions. Well fear no more as our garden has become a haven for busy buzzy hungry bees. It is all the flowers that are growing profusely in our garden, the roses expecially are a great attraction to them!

Go on bees, help yourselves, just try not to sting anyone of us!

Mi jardín es su jardín

27 February 2014

The bee population is dwindling fast. We need to prevent this happening as bees are necessary in the cross pollination and fertilisation of plants.

Below is a cute chart by a very talented lady, Hannah Rosengren, detailing the plants that would best attract the bees in your garden.


Illustration by Hannah Rosengren,

Illustration by Hannah Rosengren,

British taxpayers’ money is being given to French fishing trawlers

We can do our bit to prevent overfishing or giving our British money to the French fishing trawlers who are bent on destroying our deep British seabeds.

If you are not into exposing yourself (especially in this wintry British weather) and then using a fish as a pashmina to highlight your protest then there is an easier step, which I have already taken myself.  Below is a petition that you can sign.  It is really as easy as that and not so cold or slimy! 😉  Just add your email address and you are done!

Please, please let us all do our bit!





Here’s Gillian Anderson wearing just a conger eel

Monday 2 Dec 2013 11:36 am
Here’s Gillian Anderson wearing just a conger eel


Gillian Anderson stripped off to raise awareness about collapsing fish stocks (Picture: Fishlove/Rouvre)

In one of the weirder images we’ve seen today, X-Files and The Fall actress Gillian Anderson poses naked with a massive conger eel thrown round her neck.

The picture forms part of a photographic campaign called Fishlove seeking to highlight the issue of diminishing fish stocks, the message being that British taxpayers’ money is being given to French fishing trawlers to destroy the deep seabed in British waters.

A petition has been launched in support of the campaign, aiming to attract 10,000 signatures.

The collection was taken by French portrait photographer Denis Rouvre and also sees Olivia Williams, Goldie and a number of French celebrities in the nude while holding various fish.


Walking With the Ancestors at the Natural History Museum

This is something for the diary of 2014.  I have always been fascinated with the history of the Neanderthals.  Apparently their lack of language  made them an easy target for the slightly more sophisticated Cro-Magnons.

Love this!



Walking With the Ancestors at the Natural History Museum

Unusual visitors spotted in the Museum

18 November 2013

Homo-sapiens-modelThe grizzled face of a model of a Homo sapiens, seen briefly in the Central Hall.

Models that will take pride of place in the Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story exhibition made their entrance last week.

Two eerily lifelike models of a Neanderthal and a Homo sapiens were delivered to the Museum on Friday, before being whisked off into hiding until early next year.

The specially commissioned models were created by the Kennis brothers, twin artists who specialise in scientifically accurate sculptures of ancient humans and animals.

Models of ancient humansAncient visitors: the Neanderthal, left, is modelled on a Neanderthal who was in his 20s. The artists were surprised by scientific evidence of his anatomy, particularly his flat bottom. The Homo sapiens  is based on a man in his 50s.

The naked models, both with tattoo-like markings, are wizened and look disturbingly similar to modern men. The Neanderthal is lighter-skinned than the Homo Sapiens, based on evidence from recent and ancient DNA.

The Neanderthal figure is modelled on a skeleton found in a cave in Belgium and is short and stocky, whereas the modern human, whose ancestors came from Africa, is much taller.

Drawing on scientific data, the Kennis brothers rebuilt the skeletons of these ancient humans in their studio in Arnhem in the Netherlands built up clay muscle and tendon and took a cast of each body. These were then filled with silicon to create the models.

They coloured and specked the silicon from the inside out to recreate accurate skin tone. Both Neanderthals and modern humans probably used pigment to mark their skin.

Getting it right

Museum palaeontologist Prof Chris Stringer, Director of the Ancient Human Occupation of Britain project (AHOB) that inspired the exhibition, provided replica bones and advised the artists on skin pigmentation, markings and hair style.

The AHOB project is a 13-year multidisciplinary collaboration between the Museum and Royal Holloway, Oxford and Cambridge Universities, the British Museum and Queen Mary University.

The exhibition itself has taken three years to create.

Neanderthal DNA

Neanderthals are our closest extinct relatives, and although our species, Homo sapiens, did not evolve from them directly, many of us have a small percentage of Neanderthal DNA as a result of ancient interbreeding.

Neanderthals were skilled toolmakers and hunters, great survivors who colonised Britain many times between 400,000 and 50,000 years ago, at times coping with ever-changing environments, and at other times disappearing.

Ancient artists

Modern humans first arrived in Britain from Africa around 40,000 years ago. Homo sapiens were the first human species to sculpt objects not just for survival but to interpret the world around them, through artistic expression.

The models will take pride of place in the exhibition, Britain: One Million Years of the Human Story, which opens 13 February 2014.

Sue, The T-Rex


Sue, The T-Rex

Meet Sue, the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Sue, a seven tonne t-rex can be seen at the Field Museum in Chicago.  Sue is currently the largest and most complete specimen of the prehistoric predator ever found. The curator paid a record-breaking $8.4m at auction in 1997.

Dinosaur enthusiasts are revising their image of the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex after discovering that the most famous specimen on public display was felled not in mortal combat, but by an infection that causes sore throats in pigeons.

Examination of her remains found that this 65million years old t-rex had suffered and survived turbulent skirmishers that left her with 3 broken ribs, torn tendons and damaged shoulders.

But do you know how Sue died?

Well scientists reckon that Sue died of sore throat.

T-Rex Trivia:

Did you know the nearest living relative to the tyrannosaurus rex is the chicken!

British Fields & Woodlands Wildlife

There is a very worrying news that species of wildlife are declining at a rate of up to 94 per cent in British fields, woodlands and gardens.

It is now known that 1 in 10 species is heading into extinction. The greatest decrease is among insects such as butterflies, moths and beetles.

Reasons for the decrease are loss of habitat, change in the way we manage our countryside and the impact of climate change.

Harbour seals have declined by 31% in the Scottish Water since 1996
Harbour seals have declined by 31% in the Scottish Water since 1996

Garden Tiger Moth has declined by 94% since the 1960s
Garden Tiger Moth has declined by 94% since the 1960s

Turtle doves have declined by 90% since 1970
Turtle doves have declined by 90% since 1970

Hedgehogs have declined by about 33 per cent since the millennium
Hedgehogs have declined by about 33 per cent since the millennium

There has been more than 80% in decline of mature eel globally in the last 60 years
There has been more than 80% in decline of mature eel globally in the last 60 years

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly which were common in gardens have declined by 77% in the last 10 years
Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly which were common in gardens have declined by 77% in the last 10 years

Hedgehogs sadly declining in urban London



I remember as a child, growing up in the 1960s, the garden of our house in NW London used to have regular visits from  hedgehogs.

They are cute harmless to human creatures. They have sharp spines for protection against predators. They eat garden pests such as slugs, snails etc.

We had to be careful, as they tended to hibernate or sleep in places, where we would dig the garden such as heaps or piles  of grass and leaves. Many an unfortunate animals was speared by a garden fork. We would check such heaps before digging.

Also if the garden had a small pond they would sometimes wander and fall into them.  So a garden could be a perilous place for them.

I once rescued a drowning baby hedgehog from our pond, luckily the water was not too deep. I dried the hedgehog (carefully!) put it in cardboard box with a cloth blanket and fed it bread soaked in milk (a traditional remedy for some small sick pets !). After a few days it recovered. I saw another larger hedgehog visit the garden whislt  I was caring for the little one! When the larger hedgehog appeared again after a few days I released the recovered baby and both got together, so I guess mother or father had come looking for their child! It was a nice feeling seeing them scuttle off together into the garden undergrowth. 🙂




Endearing Mrs Tiggy-Winkle

Children’s author Beatrix Potter created a hedgehog character named Mrs Tiggy-Winkle for the famous Peter Rabbit books, I remember the stories well from my childhood.  There is an animal hospital in Buckinghamshire called Tiggy- Winkles that looks after injured hedgehogs and small wild animals.

Endearing Mrs Tiggy-Winkle

Sadly since the early 2000s we rarely if at all see a hedgehog in our urban gardens. It is believed that the hedgehog  population has declined by one-third. A combination of factors have led to their decline such as disease, many gardens being cleared of undergrowth,  hedgerows etc., as home owners want simpler &  easier to maintain gardens.  More roads  & building construction  destroys their habitats.  As they grub around in soil for food, lack of worms & insects  in the earth indicates more serious  environmental issues. Changing weather patterns  with colder weather and deluges of rain have affected hedgehog habitat and food.

Hedgehogs graph2

Did you know?

An average of 275 hedgehogs are killed on British roads daily. 🙁

We only hope that intended conservation programmes happen and once again we may have the privilige of seeing these charming little creatures gracing our gardens.





Nyasasaurus parringtoni

Is Nyasasaurus parringtoni the earliest ever dinosaur to be found? Fossils of an arm bone and pieces of bone from the back and hips, first unearthed in the 1930s in Tanzania and recently unpacked from the drawers of the Museum, suggest that it could be.

Read our news story and attend this Saturday’s free ‘The First Dinosaurs’ Nature Live talks with Museum palaeontologist Paul Barret to find out more:

Image: An illustration of the 245-million-year-old Nyasasaurus parringtoni (foreground) and a herd of digging herbivorous reptiles Stenaulorhynchus.
© Mark Witton/Natural History Museum

Sunda Pangolin

Vital statistics

Pangolin at the Carnivore & Pangolin Conservation Programme, Vietnam (c) Dan Challender

  • Found in: Several countries of Southeast Asia
  • Status: Endangered
  • Population: Unknown

Pangolins are the only mammals in the world to be entirely covered in scales.

They are covered in overlapping horny scales that are made of keratin – like rhino horn or human finger nails.

Their scales and a misplaced belief in their therapeutic value has unfortunately driven a huge demand, which is driving the Sunda pangolin to extinction.

Pangolin scales are used in traditional Chinese medicine – sold with the claim that they tackle a long list of ailments, from helping breastfeeding mothers lactate to curing cancer.

But there is no evidence that the scales help with any human complaint.

Dan Challender from the University of Kent is studying pangolins for his PhD. As well as their unique appearance, he says, the animals are incredibly strong and flexible.

“They’re extraordinary gymnasts,” he said. “I’ve seen mothers climbing upside down on the ceiling while the baby clings on to her back.

As for why the wider public has not taken the pangolin to their hearts, he says they just need a bit of exposure.

“I just don’t think people are aware of these animals,” he says.

“They just so funky – when people see footage of them, they fall in love with them.”

Sunda pangolin (c) Gary Ades/Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Gardens Could you fall in love with a pangolin?

Apocalypse Now?

Apocalypse: Advice Issued For End Of The World

Sky NewsSky News – 5 hours ago

Apocalypse: Advice Issued For End Of The World
Apocalypse: Advice Issued For End Of The World

British authorities have insisted they are prepared for the looming apocalypse and have issued advice on how to cope.

In the event that the world ends on December 21, the public should check the car, fit a smoke alarm and learn to make a fire.

The helpful advice follows an official US government blog this week which insisted that “the world will not end on December 21, 2012, or any day in 2012”.

To quell fears, the UK organisations have issued detailed, if tongue-in-cheek, advice.

A London Fire Brigade spokesman advised: “Fit a smoke alarm on each level of your home, then at least you might stand a chance of knowing that the end of the world is nigh ahead of those who don’t.

“If you survive the apocalypse you’ll be alerted to a fire more quickly should one ever break out.”

The AA warned: “Before heading off, take time to do the basic checks on your car and allow extra time for your journey.

“Local radio is a good source of traffic and weather updates and for any warnings of an impending apocalypse. Should the announcer break such solemn news, try to remain focused on the road ahead and keep your hands on the wheel.”

The assistant director of the Scouts said: “If you are a scout, you know how to light a fire, how to cook, how to make a shelter. Those basic skills are really important and you can learn them very quickly.

“There are probably going to be no computers or electricity in the post-apocalyptic world so get a basic essential guide, there are loads around in the library such as Scouting For Boys –  it was written in 1908 but it will still be relevant after the apocalypse.”

Other bodies including British Transport Police and Dorset Fire and Rescue Service confirmed they were prepared for any event that may occur on December 21.

Speculation that the end of the world really is nigh is rooted in interpretations of the ancient Mayan calendar and has been fuelled by internet speculation.

Professor Mark Van Stone, the author of 2012: Science And Prophecy Of The Ancient Maya, traces the start of the 2012 apocalypse prophecy back to 1904, when German scholars said a Mayan picture of a sky dragon pouring water from above proved they were predicting a great flood.

Other predictions then made it into subsequent academic books on the Maya and soon became enshrined in popular mythology.

Prof Van Stone, who teaches art history at Southwestern College, California, said the speculation comes down to a few inscriptions that indicate the ancient Mayan calendar has been counting down since 3114BC and will hit zero on December 21.

He said: “The Maya indicated there was a 5,000-year cycle that ended on a creation date. Scholars, and eventually everyone else, inferred that when the calendar reached that date again in 2012 that it would stop.”

Among the internet speculation and forecasts, there are suggestions that a small French village called Bugarach is the only place that will survive the apocalypse and hundreds of people have been gathering there.

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