It’s time for another round of Top 3 Science Links. In the past week, a lot of great science stories have broken, including the announcement of a CERN press conference on July 4th, during which the discovery of the Higgs Boson might be annouced, the publication of results from the Human Microbiome Project, and the release of one of two controversial human-bird flu transmission studies.
Given the popularity of these news stories, it is probable that you might have missed the following three articles. Luckily, you’ve stumbled upon this blog post, thus ensuring that you remain up-to-date on everything science.
Top 3 Science Links
47 millions years ago, these two little guys met, and then, most unfortunately, met their end.
What could have possibly killed these turtles while in the act? Researchers believe that the pair died of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Turtles typically sink down to the bottom while mating, so it is possible that the pair initiated mating in safe waters, and then sunk down to levels where the carbon monoxide levels were lethal.
This is the first pair of mating vertebrate fossils to be discovered.
I could explain all the incredible fishing gear innovations that have taken the fishing world by storm, but I think the last quote of the article best sums it up:
“It is really getting kind of unfair,” says Macquarie’s Dr Brown. “If you are going to use GPS to take you to a location, sonar to identify the fish and a lure which reflects light that humans can’t even see, you may as well just go to McDonald’s and order a fish sandwich.” – The Economist, June 23rd 2012
Lonesome George, the last of the Pinta Island tortoises (Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni) died last Sunday. He was thought to be at least one hundred-years-old at the time of his death. His demise means that we will never see his subspecies walk to planet ever again.
This might sound dramatic to some of you, but I choose to stress this point because this truly is a tragedy, and one that, I believe, could have been avoided. Although his death was natural, he reportedly died of a heart attack, the death of his subspecies definitely was not. Here’s an excerpt from the Scientific American blog post about George’s death:
Pinta Island tortoises were overhunted in the 19th century by protein-hungry fishermen and sailors, and they suffered further during that century as the island was overrun by invasive feral goats, which destroyed the tortoises’ habitat. -John R. Platt
To read more about Galapagos Turtles and their plight, visit click here.
Science Video of the Week
Here’s a BBC video about the obstacles Galapagos Island animals face because of the human populations that inhabit these islands. Jump to 1:47 if you want to hear about Lonesome George.