Saturday, 15 February 2014

The Bigger Picture

Sometimes when I wildlife-watch, I watch a little too closely.

My focus becomes so swallowed up by living, breathing detail - whiskers, feathers, eyes, scales, form, movement, behaviour - that I miss out on the bigger picture.

The environment in which an animal lives is the canvas upon which its very life is painted into, and observing this relationship can offer as much beauty as the best art gallery.

Yesterday's journey around the shores of Lake Somerset, a 52km long artificial swelling of the Stanley River, allowed me to ponder this bond between wild animals and their surroundings further.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Sinosauropteryx

Animal of the Month
Sinosauropteryx prima; Image courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

What's so special about it?
Though the idea that birds descended from dinosaurs is one that came about as early as the 19th century (through English biologist Thomas Henry Huxley), the best evidence of this link is a fairly recent discovery. In the 1990s, an ancient fossilized lakeshore environment in China revealed many well-preserved animal remains, captured in exquisite detail thanks to the fine grains of lake silt that would have entombed any deceased animal. It was here that Sinosauropteryx was discovered, surprising the world for being the first dinosaur known to be covered almost completely in feathers! Further studies have even been able to ascertain the