Science is the poetry of Nature.

Contributing Authors
Posts tagged "natural history"


Herbarium of France; (Fungi of France) on Flickr.

By Bulliard, Pierre, 1752-1793,ht
Publication info Paris, Chez l’auteur, Didot, Debure, Belin 0.1780 to 93.,fr
BHL Collections:
New York Botanical Garden


Agaricus ulmarius on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Flora Batava. Picture and description of the Dutch plants. (1901)
This book is part of , the virtual biological libary.
© Kurt Stueber , 2007.

(via afro-dominicano)


Garden ferns; or, Coloured figures and descriptions, with the needful analyses of the fructification and venation, of a selection of exotic ferns adapted for cultivation in the garden, hothouse, and conservatory. on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
by Hooker, William Jackson,
Fitch, W. H.
Publication info London,Lovell Reeve,1862.
Contributing Library: Cornell University Library

(via afro-dominicano)


Persea gratissima- Bot. Reg. 1258, 1829. on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
source delta Keys

(via afro-dominicano)


The Zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Samarang, under the command of Captain Sir Edward Belcher, C.B., F.R.A.S., F.G.S., during the years 1843-1846 on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
By Woodward, B. B.
Adams, Arthur, Berry, S. Stillman
Dall, William Healey, Gray, John Edward,
Great Britain. Hawkins, B. Waterhouse
Linnean Society of London.
Marryat, F., Reeve, Lovell,
Richardson, John, Sowerby, G. B. White, Adam, Wing, W.,
Publication info
London :Reeve and Benham,1850 [i.e. 1848-1850]
BHL Collections:
Smithsonian Libraries


Visualising extinctions over the past million 531 years.  The size of the circle shows how the biodiversity of the earth differs from the long-term trend.  The resulting fluctuations seem to repeat every 62 million years or so, with 5 main extinction events in total.  The most recent was of course the end of the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago.  Does this mean the Earth is due another?! [This follows the analysis of an interesting nature article]  [more] [code]


Visualising extinctions over the past million 531 years.  The size of the circle shows how the biodiversity of the earth differs from the long-term trend.  The resulting fluctuations seem to repeat every 62 million years or so, with 5 main extinction events in total.  The most recent was of course the end of the dinosaurs, 65 million years ago.  Does this mean the Earth is due another?! [This follows the analysis of an interesting nature article]  [more] [code]

(via afro-dominicano)




Ray Troll stratigraphy/geologic time. I’m printing this out and hanging it above my desk. 

Know your geologic history.

And don’t put a nautilus in the back of your pickup truck. That is not how we treat nice fossils.

Actually, there’s a lot wrong with this chart. I see it’s written as the K-T boundary instead of the K-Pg, though I’m still getting used to the change myself. But when it comes to periods and epochs, some are there, and some are not. Here are the issues:

Where’s the Paleogene period on this chart? After the Cretaceous period, it jumps right to the Paleocene, which is the first epoch (of three - followed by the Eocene and the Oliogcene) in the Paleogene period. The Paleogene period is in the Cenozoic era, so why is it missing on this chart?

If you include epochs, you must include what period they reside under, otherwise this chart now makes it out to be that the Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene, Pliocene, Piestocene, and Holocene are all periods when they are in fact epochs.

The other period is missing here that resides in the Cenozoic era as well, the Neogene. The Neogene had two epochs: the Miocene, and Pliocene, which are seen above.

For the Piestocene and Holocene epochs, they reside in the Quaternary period. Yes, all these epochs are within the Cenozoic era, but again, you must include their periods as well, and for the Mesozoic, you should include their epochs, etc. This chart would be confusing to one who does not know the divisions.

This same issue is also occurring at the bottom of the chart. The Palaeozoic era includes all those listed, but instead of having the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian subperiods listed, why wouldn’t one just put the Carboniferious period instead? I know some just use the M and P subperiods, but I prefer the Carboniferious!

To sum it up: epochs and periods are not the same, and even if many of us know our geological time charts, there are many people who would most likely confuse the terms because of this chart’s layout. If you’re still unsure of what I meant by all of what’s stated above, check out this geologic time scale on Wikipedia, which is a more accurate and easier to understand chart.

Badlands, South Dakota (by heosemys)

The term “badland(s)” is not restrained to one specific location, but is the general name (though mostly used in North America) for terrains that are dry and eroded, showing the Earth’s past where sedimentary rocks and clay-rich soils are visible. Over thousands and even millions of years, wind and water erode the land, carving out geological formations like hoodoos, canyons, and gullies. The badlands are known for being rich in fossils as well due to erosion of sedimentary rocks.

So how did this terrain pin the name “Badland”? This landscape is not easy to navigate, as many have found out the hard way. The Lakota called it “Makhóšiča”, which litterally translates to “bad land”, and the French gave it the name “les mauvaises terres à traverser”, which means “the bad lands to cross”.

Entrance at the NHM in London (by C.K.H.)

Frozen In Time: Breathtaking discovery found in Mongolia of Protoceratops andrewsi nest full with young.
→ By Anne Casselman on National Geographic News

A nest full of fossilized dinosaur babies has been discovered in Mongolia, and the find has paleontologists reexamining styles of parental care among the ancient reptiles.

The approximately 75-million-year-old nest shows 15 juvenile members ofProtoceratops andrewsi — a relative of Triceratops — entombed in ancient sand dune deposits. The nest was recently discovered by Mongolian paleontologist Pagmin Narmandakh in the region’s Djadokhta formation.

The 2.3-foot-wide (0.7-meter-wide) nest is breathtaking, according to David Fastovsky, a co-author on a paper about the dinosaur nest published in the November edition of the Journal of Paleontology.

Unlike other dinosaur nests found with fossil eggs, the babies in this nest appear to have been about a year old when they died.

"We think there’s good evidence for some sort of parental care, because these animals are growing together at the nest," said Fastovsky, a paleontologist at the University of Rhode Island. "They did not come fresh out of eggs two minutes ago."

Asker kororaa Asks:
why did they change the cretaceous-tertiary event to the cretaceous-paleogene event?
scinerds scinerds Said:

(crownedrose here to answer) Fantastic question! It pretty much boils down to the origin of “Tertiary” which was pinned back in the 1700’s by an Italian geologist, Giovanni Ardunio. He had split the Earth’s time into four periods when studying in the Alps: Primitive, Secondary, Tertiary, and the well known Quaternary (the only term to have truly survived/recognised).

When it comes to the term in question, what was once the Tertiary has now been split into the more well known and used terms. You have the Paleogene period (the first in the Cenozoic era), and its three Epochs: Paleocene, Eocene, and Oligocene. Originally the Tertiary was both the Paleogene (aka informal ‘lower Tertiary system’) and Neogene (aka informal ‘upper Tertiary system’) periods, respectively. Because it is not recognised as a formal time unit by the International Commission on Stratigraphy, the change to the Cretaceous-Paleogene (K-Pg) extinction event was imminent.

So when it comes to the change in names, it was all because of the advancement of knowledge, discoveries, and exploration by other geologists and palaeontologists with much more detailed and accurate research from all over the planet. Ardunio’s work (and four names) had only been explored in the Alps where he researched, so when they were applied to other areas outside the Alps, that’s when the terms (Primitive, Secondary, and for the most part - Tertiary) had to be dropped; because - well - everywhere on the planet is not exactly like the Alps! To sum all of this up (it’s ridiculously late where I am so I apologise for the rambling, and hopefully this has all been making sense), the name was changed to be up-to-date with the recognised time units we have now. Most people (including myself), still refer to it as the K-T extinction event, but with time we’ll all probably get used to its new name.


New evidence suggests Archaeopteryx dressed in black.

Scientists have found a way to uncover feathered dinosaurs’ true colors, and one of the first creatures to come under inspection is none other than Archaeopteryx — an iconic but mysterious theropod believed by many to be the “missing link” between dinosaurs and birds.

Now, by examining a single, exceptionally well-preserved feather, one group of paleontologists believes it has the evidence it needs to weigh in on the color of Archaeopteryx’s prehistoric plumage. This bird, say the researchers, wore black.

By comparing the patterns of melanosomes contained within the Archaeopteryx feather (seen above) with the those found in the plumage of 87 similar, modern bird species, the researchers were able to determine that the feather was almost certainly black. What’s more, the researchers say Archaeopteryx’s melanosomes would have provided its wings a structural advantage, as well.

“If Archaeopteryx was flapping or gliding, the presence of melanosomes would have given the feathers additional structural support,” said Ryan Carney, an evolutionary biologist at Brown and the paper’s lead author. “This would have been advantageous during this early evolutionary stage of dinosaur flight.”

Read the full article at io9.

A T. rex named Sue (by yoffie_2000)

If you’re ever up or near Chicago, IL, I suggest going to The Field Museum and visiting the largest, most complete, and most preserved Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered. It’s one of the most breathtaking skeletons you will ever see in person, and definitely a great museum overall to explore!

Some information about Sue (catalog number: FMNH PR 2081):

  • Overall length: 40.5 feet.
  • Height: 13 feet at the hips.
  • Estimated to have weighed over 7 tons when alive.
  • Weight of skeleton: 3,922 lbs.
  • The length of Sue’s skull is 5 feet, and weighing 600 lbs.
  • She is named after the palaeontologist who found her, Susan Hendrickson, in Cheyenne River Indian Reservation, South Dakota on August 12, 1990.
  • Sue’s bones are the biggest of all T. rex skeletons ever found.
  • Sue is estimated to have been 28 years old when she died, making her the oldest Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered.
  • The skeleton is so well preserved that palaeontologists can actually see where muscles, ligaments, and tendons attached, along with the cellular structure within the bones is immaculately preserved.
  • Sue is the first T. rex to have ever been discovered with a furcula (wishbone), gastralia (stomach ribs), and a stapes (ear bone).


Simians by peacay on Flickr.