Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Study on Antarctica's Last Vegetation

A new study shows that the last vegetation disappeared from Antarctica approximately 12 million years ago. The study uses pollen fossils found deep in the seafloor. To get the fossils they drilled through 100 feet of the dense sedimentary rock on the seafloor off Antarctica.

The last vegetation in Antarctica was when there was a tundra environment along the northern peninsula of Antarctica. The peninsula was the last part to be covered with ice and the limited amount of tundra environment probably entirely disappeared about 12.8 million years ago.

The new study does show some interesting insight into the climate past of Antarctica, but I am confused about it saying the last vegetation was 12 million years ago. What about lichen? There is still that on the Antarctic peninsula and I was always under the impression that counted as vegetation, but I guess not.

Read more about this topic:
When Antarctica's Vegetation Vanished: Pollen Reveals Glacial History
Why so cold? The Last Refuge of Antarctica's Forests

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Penguin Nicknamed Happy Feet Cannot be Returned to Antarctica

Over the past few days there has been a lot of news about an Emperor Penguin that was found in New Zealand and has undergone surgery at the Wellington Zoo. The penguin has been given the nickname Happy Feet due to him being the same species as the main character of that movie. Happy Feet is on the mend, but there still remains the debate on what to do with him when he has fully recovered.

Regularly injured animals are nursed back to health and released back in their native habitat, but the unique Antarctica environment leads to different issues. Mainly, the Antarctic Treaty prohibits bringing live birds to Antarctica and that includes the native Emperor Penguin. This is to protect the native animals, as he could bring in diseases that could be devastating to the penguin colony. Another problem is even if he does get the special permit to return, they might not return him to his actual colony since there is no way to know where he came from.

So, what do they do? Well, that is still to be determined, but the most likely option seems to be releasing him from southern New Zealand allowing him to perhaps return as he came from Antarctica.

Read more about this here.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Casting Penguins for Mr. Popper's Penguins

I found this article about casting the penguins for Mr. Popper's Penguins an interesting read.  The article talks about selecting what species to use, how the penguins were housed during the shooting, and training them.  Makes me even more interested in seeing the movie, but first I want to get around to reading the book.  Since I have so many books in my to read pile and do not even own Mr. Popper's Penguins, yet, I probably will not be seeing this movie until it is on DVD.

Those that have read the book or do not care to read it before seeing the movie, can enjoy it in theaters beginning June 17, 2011.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Scott's Last Expedition Museum Exhibit to travel to three participating museums

This summer the Scott's Last Expedition exhibit opens in Syndey, Australia, at the Australian National Maritime Museum.  This exhibit brings together various artifacts from Scott's 1910-1913 Terra Nova Expedition in which he died on his way back from the South Pole.  The exhibit opens in Australia at June 17,  2011.

The exhibit will travel on to the two other participating museums with it opening in January 2012 at the Natural History Museum in London and in November 2012 at the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Read more about this exhibit here.