Sunday, November 23, 2014

Aquaman Battles The Sea Beasts From One Billion B.C.!

Read it Here

Born This Day: Paula Raymond


Paula (center) played the role of plucky Lee Hunter, assistant to paleontologist Dr. Thurgood Elson (Cecil Kellaway) (right) in Ray Harryhausen's, The Beast of 20,000 Fathoms (1953).

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Died This Day: Aleksandr Kovalevsky

Kovalevsky (Nov. 19, 1840 – Nov. 22, 1901) was the Russian founder of comparative embryology and experimental histology, who first established that there was a common pattern in the embryological development of all multicellular animals. He studied the lancelet, a 5 cm long fish-shaped sea animal. He then wrote Development of Amphioxus lanceolatus (1865).

In 1866, he then demonstrated the similarity between Amphioxus [=Branchiostoma] and the larval stages of tunicates and established the chordate status of the tunicates.

In 1867, Kovalevsky extended the germ layer concept of Christian Heinrich Pander and Karl Ernst von Baer to include the invertebrates, establishing an important embryologic unity in the animal kingdom. image From Today In Science History

Died This Day: Raymond Dart


Dart (Feb. 4 1893 - Nov. 22, 1988) was an Australian-born, South African physical anthropologist. In 1924, working with students in the Taung limestone South Africa, they discovered the first Australopithecus africanus. Dubbed "missing link" at the time, skull is also known as the 'Taung child', and was only three years old at the time of death. More on Dart here

The Drivers of Tropical Speciation

The drivers of tropical speciation. 2014. Smith, B.T., et al. Nature

Yellow bars correspond to the 95% highest posterior density for divergence times of each species. The Quaternary (2.6 Myr ago–present) and the Neogene (23–2.6 Myr ago) periods are shaded in grey and light blue, respectively. Mean stem ages for 25 of the lineages occurred within the Neogene and for two lineages within the Quaternary.
Researching how the history and ecology has affected speciation among the 27 lineages of birds has lead to the discovery that the longer length of time a species can inhabit an area, the more likely it will disperse and diverge. Also, the less mobility a species has, the more likely it will diverge as well.

For example, birds restricted to the forest floor showed significantly higher species diversity than birds that inhabited the forest's open canopy. These findings have conservation ramifications. If a species cannot inhabit the same area for an extended time, it will not have the opportunity to evolve and continue.

"Our results suggest that human alterations of the landscape can effectively kill the speciation process," Brumfield said.

Born This Day: Steve Clemente from Skull Island

Steve Clemente (born Esteban Clemento Morro Nov. 22, 1885—May 7, 1950) was a Mexican actor known for his many villainous roles. He began acting in his teens, signing up for his first movie, The Secret Man, in 1917. His later, numerous roles were usually bit parts and he was an expert knife thrower.

He was a known scene stealer and was famous for his villainous snarl. He later starred in such movies as The Most Dangerous Game (1932), playing Tartar, the second henchman of Count Zarrof and played the Witch King in King Kong (1933). From Wiki

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Born This Day: Robert Armstrong

Armstrong (Nov. 20, 1890 – April 20, 1973) took Fay Wray to Skull Island in 1933. He returned later the same year to find The Son of Kong, only to lose him as the island sank, as these things are prone to doing.

We Were Trapped In The Twilight World! by Jack Kirby (1961)


Read the full story Here

Monday, November 17, 2014

Died This Day: Carl Akeley


Read his story over at Atomic Surgery

The Hall of African Mammals at the American Museum of Natural History exists thanks to the efforts of Carl Akeley (May 19, 1864 - Nov 17, 1926) who was the kind of adventurer that Indy Jones could only dream of being.


He died on an African expedition in 1926, ten years before this hall was completed and was buried in a place depicted in the Hall's famous Gorilla Diorama. Of course we approach collecting and conservation differently today, but Akeley is to be commended for his love of nature and his desire to present its hidden corners to the world.

From Today In Science History:

Carl Ethan Akeley was an American naturalist and explorer who developed the taxidermic method for mounting museum displays to show animals in their natural surroundings. His method of applying skin on a finely molded replica of the body of the animal gave results of unprecedented realism and elevated taxidermy from a craft to an art. He mounted the skeleton of the famous African elephant Jumbo. He invented the Akeley cement gun to use while mounting animals, and the Akeley camera which was used to capture the first movies of gorillas.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Born This Day: Sir Charles Lyell


Nov. 14, 1797 - Feb. 22, 1875
From Minnesota State University at Mankato comes this excellent bio on Lyell:

Sir Charles Lyell attended Oxford University at age 19. Lyell's father was an active naturalist. Lyell had access to an elaborate library including subjects such as Geology.

When Lyell was at Oxford, his interests were mathematics, classics, law and geology. He attended a lecture by William Buckland that triggered his enthusiasm for geology. Lyell originally started his career as a lawyer, but later turned to geology. He became an author of The Geological Evidence of the Antiquity of Man in 1863 and Principles of Geology. Lyell argued in this book that, at the time, presently observable geological processes were adequate to explain geological history. He thought the action of the rain, sea, volcanoes and earthquakes explained the geological history of more ancient times.

Lyell rebelled against the prevailing theories of geology of the time. He thought the theories were biased, based on the interpretation of Genesis. He thought it would be more practical to exclude sudden geological catastrophes to vouch for fossil remains of extinct species and believed it was necessary to create a vast time scale for Earth's history. This concept was called Uniformitarianism. The second edition of Principles of Geology introduced new ideas regarding metamorphic rocks. It described rock changes due to high temperature in sedimentary rocks adjacent to igneous rocks. His third volume dealt with paleontology and stratigraphy. Lyell stressed that the antiquity of human species was far beyond the accepted theories of that time.

Charles Darwin became his dear friend and correspondent. Darwin is quoted saying, "The greatest merit of the Principles was that it altered the whole tone of one's mind, and therefore that, when seeing a thing never seen by Lyell, one yet saw it through his eyes."

Image from King’s College London.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Died This Day: William Lonsdale

Image from PBS.org

Lonsdale (Sept. 9, 1894 - Nov. 11, 1971) was an English geologist and paleontologist whose study of coral fossils found in Devon, suggested (1837) certain of them were intermediate between those typical of the older Silurian System (408 to 438 million years old) and those of the later Carboniferous System (286 to 360 million years old).

Geologists Roderick Murchison and Adam Sedgwick agreed. They named (1839) this new geologic system after its locale—the Devonian System.

Lonsdale's early career was as an army officer (1812-15) and later he became curator and librarian of the Geological Society of London (1829-42). He recognized that fossils showed how species changed over time, and more primitive organisms are found in lower strata. Charles Darwin used this to support his evolution theory. From Today In Science