Down To Earth brings you the top happenings in the world of global ecology
The Komodo dragon, the world’s largest lizard, could become extinct in the next few decades due to climate change unless measures are taken to change the status quo, a new study has said.
Conducted by the University of Adelaide and Deakin University, both in Australia, the study used models to predict that the dragon could become extinct on three of the five island habitats where it is currently found, a statement by the University of Adelaide said.
Climate change was likely to cause a sharp decline in the availability of habitat for Komodo dragons, reducing their populations, according to the authors of the study.
The study was published in the journal Ecology and Evolution.
Sandalwood trees chopped and stolen in Karnataka taluk
Thieves chopped off and fled with the wood of a number of sandalwood trees in Aurad taluk of Karnataka’s Bidar district last week, a report by The Newsminute said. The incident happened in the early hours of September 14, the report added.
On September 10, smugglers had chopped 150 sandalwood trees belonging to a farmer in a village in Shivamogga district and had fled with the wood.
The sandalwood found in India is considered threatened. The wood is considered to be extremely valuable. One tree can yield a minimum of 15-16 kilograms of wood. Farmers have to spend at least 13-14 years in growing the trees.
South Africa’s springhares better hoppers than Australia’s kangaroos
South Africa’s springhares are better at hopping than Australia’s kangaroos, rat-kangaroos and wallabies, a new study has said.
Scientists from Harvard and Idaho in the United States worked with those from the University of Pretoria and Wits University in South Africa to assess the muscle-tendon design of the hindlimbs of springhares and compare it against those of 16 species of Australian animals that hop, a statement by the University of Pretoria said.
A tendon is a tough band of fibrous connective tissue that connects muscle to bone and is capable of withstanding tension.
The study showed that springhares were equipped with relatively large tendon structures built into the hindlimbs, providing greater agility, manoeuvrability and acceleration capacities. The tendons of springhares are relatively thicker than those of Australia’s hoppers, the study found.
This evolution was mainly because springhares, which are actually rodents, have many more predators than Australia’s hoppers.
The findings were published in the Journal of Anatomy.
Study quantifies Saharan dust in the Amazon
A new study by researchers at the University of Miami in the United States and ATMO Guyane has quantified the amount of Saharan dust reaching the Amazon.
The research team analysed 15 years of daily measurements of African dust transported in trade winds and collected at a coastal research station in Cayenne, French Guiana, a statement by the University of Miami said.
The study found that significant amount of dust from north Africa’s Sahara Desert is deposited every year on the Amazon. The dust contains phosphorus and other important plant nutrients that increase Amazonian soil fertility.
This subsequently leads to better rainfall in north Africa, the study found. It further added that climate change will affect dust transport to South America, which could impact climate.
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