Accipitridae / Accipitrinae / Gampsonyx swainsonii / Pearl Kite
Last year I cover the story of “Macho B”, the sixteen year old male jaguar that was tagged, re-captured and eventually euthanized here in Arizona. A report by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Office of the Inspector General has appeared which states there is evidence that the capture of the cat was probably intentional and violated the Endangered Species Act. Throughout, the Arizona Game & Fish has claimed that the capture was accidental.
Accipitridae / Accipitrinae / Elanoides forficatus / Swallow-tailed Kite
Phil Plait linked to this footage taken by the BBC Wildlife Unit – it’s from tiny cameras on the back on a Golden Eagle while in flight. I’m raising the stakes with the above – a Peregrine falcon as it stoops, and a goshawk doing low-level, hi-speed flying in a forest.
Accipitridae / Accipitrinae / Chondrohierax uncinatus / Hook-billed Kite
Accipitridae / Accipitrinae / Leptodon cayanensis / Gray-headed kite
Accipitridae / Pandioninae / Pandion haliaetus / Osprey
Cathartidae / Sarcoramphus papa / King vulture
(source – where you can also buy a print)
Cathartidae / Gymnogryps californianus / California Condor
From the California Academy of Sciences:
This year, [Zeray] Alemseged and his colleagues report the only new mammal species on the Academy’s list: a raccoon dog (Nyctereutes lockwoodi) from 3.3 million years ago. Described from a nearly complete skull and fragments of others, this small, omnivorous mammal is a member of the canid family, which includes dogs, wolves, and foxes. Fossil raccoon dogs have been uncovered throughout Asia, Europe, and Africa, but only one species remains today (N. procyonoides, native to East Asia). This extant species gets its common name from its raccoon-like coloring but is not closely related to raccoons—its closest living relatives are thought to be foxes. It forms monogamous pair bonds and is the only member of the dog family to hibernate in the winter.
(HT to Afarensis who notes that the species is probably named after my late buddy and collaborator, Charlie Lockwood. As I haven’t seen the paper – apparently in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology – I cannot confirm that).
Cathartidae / Cathartes burrovianus / Lesser Yellow-headed vulture
Cathartidae / Coragyps atratus / Black Vulture
Cathartidae / Cathartes aura / Turkey Vulture
This seemed a apt way to start the series.
After seeing these photos, I ran into the video above. As the YouTube blurb explains:
National Geographic photographer Paul Nicklen shares the incredible story of his personal encounter with a predatory leopard seal in the frigid waters of the Antarctic. These photographs–and many more–appear in his book, Polar Obsession. Available at
Amazing stuff. I guess I never realized how big Leopard Seals actually are.
(HT to Zooillogix)
Catchy title, eh? It is actually the title of a paper in Pediatrics that I co-wrote with one of my honors students, Jessica Joganic. Best part of all is that it stemmed from her honors thesis. Even better is that Reuters has picked up the story. Here’s the summary:
Objective This study was designed to statistically evaluate the independent and interacting effects of biological and environmental risk factors that influence lateralization of deformational plagiocephaly (DP) in an attempt to provide future guidance for clinical treatment.
Methods A database of >20000 children treated for DP was examined by using 2- and 3-way factor analyses for categorical frequency data, representing the largest statistical analysis of DP to date. Data on parity, zygosity, intrauterine presentation, birth number and weight, sleep position, lateralization, and sex were collected from parents of children with DP who were treated at Cranial Technologies, Inc, from 1990 to 2007.
Results As with most DP studies, male patients were significantly overrepresented. Nonetheless, after statistically accounting for sex in our analyses, DP is significantly correlated with primiparity, fewer vertex but more breech and transverse intrauterine presentations, twinning (specifically, dizygosity), and, finally, right-sided lateralization. Additional analyses revealed that several factors correlated with DP, such as intrauterine presentation, sleep position, and lateralization, are not easily explained by an underlying biological factor. Instead, sleep position was the single greatest predictor of lateralization.
Conclusion Although previous studies have argued for both environmental and underlying biological factors associated with DP, we found that lateralization in children with DP could be largely explained by environmental factors such as sleep position.
The full paper is online for those with access (doi:10.1542/peds.2008-2969).