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Showing posts from March, 2008

Iriomote Wildcat - A Living Fossil in Japan

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Iriomote wildcat The Iriomote wildcat (Prionailurus iriomotensis; Japanese: 西表山猫 Iriomote-yamaneko), is a wild cat about the size of a domestic cat that lives exclusively on the Japanese island of Iriomote. It is considered a "living fossil" by many biologists because it has not changed much from its primitive form. The Iriomote cat is one of the most threatened species of cat (formerly considered a subspecies of the leopard cat), with an estimated population of fewer than 100 individuals. It has dark brown fur, a bushy tail, and it is not able to sheathe its claws. When it was discovered in 1967, it was regarded as a survivor of an extinct line of felines and placed in a separate genus Mayailurus as Mayailurus iriomotensis. It was then assigned as a subspecies of the leopard cat, before being elevated to the species level again within the same genus of the leopard cat, Prionailurus. This view is still being discussed: some authorities still claim to classify the Iriomote

Where are the bees going?

Where are the bees going? Published: Thursday, March 13, 2008 6:58 PM CDT Honey may soon be more valuable than oil. Scientists worldwide are concerned about the disappearance of honeybees. Their concerns are well founded. Bees do a lot more for the food chain than provide honey. Beyond that, they are also important to the overall environment. The United States Department of Agriculture reported that 22 states are reporting vanishing bee populations. Appearing before Congress, a member of the California State Beekeepers Association said about 40 percent of his 2,000 colonies have died. Nationwide, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that there are 25 percent fewer beehives than during the 1980’s. This has caused an impact among beekeepers since they now number half of what they previously have been. What is causing the disappearance of bees? Agricultural experts are largely mystified. During winter many bees usually die. However, that is not necessarily the case now. Accordin