Welcome to Superoceras, a blog about science and natural history, slightly biased towards paleontology and zoology, but inclusive of all sciences. Started in October of 2009, my goal is to communicate scientific knowledge (and the occasional piece of nonsense) in an informative and entertaining manner. Feel free to contact me with questions, comments, concerns, or criticism at superoceras(at)gmail(dot)com, and follow me on Twitter @Superoceras for all that and more in 140 characters or less!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Goodbye, Lonesome George.

Lonesome George in his corral at the Charles Darwin Research Center on Isla Santa Cruz.
In December 1971 , the last Pinta Island tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra abingdoni) was discovered in the Galápagos.  This solitary male would come to be known as "Lonesome George", and he would spend the rest of his days serving as an international symbol for conservation.  As the last of his subspecies, much effort was put into trying to breed him with females of closely related subspecies, but all eggs laid were infertile.  Today, Lonesome George's life ended, and with it, another (sub)species has gone extinct.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Interweb Science of the Week #11

It's been a long time since I've done an ISW, but this video from MinutePhysics was so great, I had to bring it back.

Open Letter to the Universe, by Minute Physics, from YouTube.

Simple, entertaining videos explaining what can be rather complex ideas about science.  Love it.  This is what the Interwebs were made for.  Just throw a few cats in there, and you're covered.

And while on the subject of Interweb Science, Dr. Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. has entered the Twitterverse, "mostly for instructional purposes".  Dr. Holtz already has a fairly large web presence, so I'm a little concerned his being on Twitter might officially break the internet.  But I still recommend following him @TomHoltzPaleo. I'm sure we'll end up seeing some cats there too.  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Things I Learned This Semester #31

I've been learning since the day I was born, and this semester was no exception.  In my lifetime I've managed to pick up a little bit about a lot of things.  But I'm certainly no expert when it comes to any of it.  And I kind of like that.  This world is a big place, and the vastness beyond it is incomprehensible.  It's hard to focus on any one thing when there is always so much left out there to focus on.  I'm eternally grateful for that.  Because it means that no matter what I learn, there will always be something out there left for me to discover.  We'll never have all of the answers to all of our questions about Life.  None of us can ever learn all there is to know about the Universe.  And when it comes to Everything, well, you can forget it.

Things I Learned This Semester #30

I'll admit, I'm a bit of a collector.  And when it comes to my passion for natural history, there aren't many exceptions.  Fossils, plant specimens for the garden, even toys (I'm not proud... well, maybe a little); all collected.  And I love wildlife and wild places, so I collect them too.  But bringing home the Great Smokey Mountains or an American alligator is a bit of a stretch.  So I collect things like that in pictures.  I know some really talented photographers, and I'm not one of them. In my experience, I've learned it's not the lens or the camera; heck, with me it's not even the photographer.  It's all luck, in more ways than one. Being in the right place, at the right time. Being able to go to those places at all. Being able to see the things I've seen.  And sometimes, being able to bring them home with me. I'm a very lucky person, indeed.

More wildlife than you can shake a stick at, soaking up the sun on the banks of the St. Johns River in Florida.