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注冊日期 : 2023-05-14

Great Migrations Brrrrr it’s getting cold out Empty Great Migrations Brrrrr it’s getting cold out

周日 五月 14, 2023 11:21 pm
Back in 2019, three Chinese paleontologists were playfighting during a break from working in the Chongqing Province, China. One was kung-fu kicked into a rocky outcrop, causing rubble to tumble down and exposing an opening in the rock face. Inside, a spectacular fossil lay undisturbed, preserved for millions of years.

As a photographer, I love giving myself technical limitations.

Channel Islands National Park is one of the least visited national parks in the United States, yet it is only about 20 miles from the coast of Los Angeles and the bustling surf and sand lifestyle of Southern California.

Despite the tough protections, there has been a spate of tortoises killed in recent months, and officials fear the animals have been slaughtered for their meat.

Our southern sea otters at Georgia Aquarium are furry, energetic, and (of course) adorable. They spend most of their days swimming, playing, and eating, but most importantly they inspire our guests to care for our world’s waters.

Relocated beavers cooled stream temperatures and restored the water levels only a year after their arrival.

Forestation and tree growth are perhaps the most powerful tool for reducing levels of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) in Earth’s atmosphere and tackling climate change. Now genetically modified (GM) ‘supertrees’ that grow faster and rapidly take up CO2 could be used to address the climate crisis.

Dugongs, the peaceful ‘sea cows’ of the ocean have been declared functionally extinct in China. The vegetarian mammal has vanished from the coastlines of Asia and Africa.

From dropping my talented and amazing conservation friend and real-life mermaid Linden Wolbert into the Pacific Ocean with hundreds of (harmless) Leopard Sharks to racing the fastest two-legged animal in the world, the Ostrich, there was no shortage of extraordinary, one-of-a-kind photography opportunities, and plenty of laughs along the way.

In the past I've focused on recapping the outtakes, but this year I want to focus a little bit on the people who made it all happen. This time of year is about more than just celebrating success, but saying thanks to all of those who helped make these episodes possible. When something looks easy, it usually means there are a bunch of talented people behind the scenes making it happen.

One of my favorite places to see this migration in action is in New Mexico at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.

The refuge is famous for being a critical stopover for a number of different migrating species, though for me the sandhill cranes and snow geese are a fan favorite. Their numbers are so great that they blot out the sky. If you are lucky enough to be near an area they are landing to feed, it can almost be overwhelming as their calls can be deafening. The refuge is about 2 hours south of Albuquerque, which is the biggest city in the state.

The days are getting colder and shorter, but if you look up, you can catch a glimpse of four billion birds migrating south for the winter. Nature photographer Ian Shive goes to his favorite spots in New Mexico and Texas to witness these bird migrations.

The fossil was a jawed fish, some 439 million years old, and the findings from the Chongqing site, along with other fossil findings in nearby Guizhou province, have excited the science world, as they are 11 million years older than any fish fossil found before.

It is a significant discovery because paleontologists have suspected that jaws evolved some 450 million years ago in aquatic species, but there had yet to be any fossils that supported this theory. The oldest fossils with articulated jaws found were 439 million years old.

In this discovery, though, there was a new species of ancestral shark that was 439 million years old, with a fully articulated jaw.

This striking discovery included finding a species named Fanjingshania renovata. The site had 1,000 specimens of this species, which did not immediately fit into any species group. The “spiny shark” suggest that the jawed fish emerged many years earlier than previously assumed.

“All [these] things are still like dreams,” said Zhu Min, of the Institute of Vertebrae Paleontology and Paleoanthropology in Beijing, who led the research teams that recently published four papers on the discoveries. “Today we are staring at complete early Silurian fishes, 11 million years earlier than the previous oldest finds. These are both the most exciting as well as the most challenging fossils I have had the privilege to work on.”

The papers details the discoveries made in the two Chinese sites, which were numerous.

Some of the fish that were discovered were placoderms, an extinct class of fish that have hard plates that formed a shielded around the head and trunk, while others were an ancestral type of shark called acanthodians. Scientists also discovered the oldest complete shark-like fish, called Shenacanthus. It has a body shape that is similar to other acanthodians, but has thick plates that form an armor around it, like placoderms. The fact that this Shenacanthus species shares features of both groups suggests that the two species evolved from similar ancestral stock.

For example, sometimes I’ll “assign myself” to only use one kind of lens all day. Perhaps a 50mm, perhaps a zoom, like the 70-200mm. I find that this challenges me to think more about what I’m shooting, versus spending time changing lenses for every single shot. Often I find I am more productive and like my results better.

So I decided to limit myself again, and this is something I have wanted to do for a while but never intentionally did it. I decided to ditch my professional Canon DSLR camera (I use the 5D Mark IV) and a bag of heavy lenses, for nothing but my smartphone. There were a couple of things I immediately knew would benefit me. First, the phone weighs nothing, fits in the front pocket of my hiking pants, and will allow me to move quickly up a mountain trail. Secondly, everything I need is right there. No lens changes in the field, and no decisions to make. As the saying goes, the best camera you have is the one you have with you!



The test went well, and I truly felt liberated. There were some definite pros and cons though, and I broke them down into a list:

The namesake Santa Barbara Channel is a bar of entry, a deep passage for whales, dolphins, sharks, and boats of all sizes, from the leisure sailboat to the massive shipping liners.

When you cross the channel, it feels like you’ve arrived in another world. Massive cliffs rise above the Pacific Ocean unencumbered by the impacts of humans the way much of mainland California’s southern coast has become. The island fox abounds in its stunning recovery from the brink of extinction, scrub jays call out, and bald eagles soar overhead. There are no restaurants, bars, or hotels. Just a campground, minimal access to drinking water, and well-kept outhouses.

It is easy to focus on the islands themselves, but there is another side to the story of these islands. The surrounding waters are a marine sanctuary. It is a protected watery version of the land masses themselves, teaming with life. To understand Channel Islands National Park, you must not only know the islands, but also the waters upon which this delicate ecosystem is connected to.

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary protects 1,470 square miles of ocean waters around each of the five islands in the parks. They are a special place for endangered species, sensitive habitats, cultural resources, and ongoing conservation efforts. On my most recent trip, I explored the kelp forests which surround many of the islands, and always offer new surprises, with this trip being no exception. While on an evening snorkel on Santa Cruz Island, a playful and curious harbor seal decided to try and figure out what this finned creature with a camera was all about…and it was an astonishing close encounter.

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