Wild Things: Life as We Know It
Drought crises, Florida panthers, humpback whales and more...
- By T. A. Frail, Jesse Rhodes, Jessica Righthand, Brandon Springer and Sarah Zielinski
- Smithsonian magazine, December 2010
(Flip Nicklin / Minden Pictures)
A female humpback whale first spotted in 1999 off Brazil appeared near Madagascar two years later, according to an analysis of tourist snapshots. That means the whale traveled at least 6,000 miles, a new long-distance record for a wild mammal. Humpbacks migrate thousands of miles between breeding and feeding waters. But this one swam between two far-flung breeding ranges. Either humpbacks are better traveled than scientists believed, or this one took a wrong turn.
"Investigations into the status of a new taxon of Salanoia (Mammalia: Carnivora: Eupleridae) from the marshes of Lac Alaotra, Madagascar," Joanna Durbin et al., Systematics and Biodiversity, September 15, 2010
"Recent decline in the global land evapotranspiration trend due to limited moisture supply," Martin Jung et al., Nature, October 10, 2010
"A quarter of a world away: female humpback whale moves 10,000 km between breeding areas," Peter T. Stevick et al., Biology Letters, October 13, 2010
"Ritualized fighting and biological armor: the impact mechanics of the mantis shrimp's telson," J. R. A. Taylor and S. N. Patek, Journal of Exerimental Biology, October 1, 2010
"Genetic Restoration of the Florida Panther," Warren E. Johnson et al., Science, September 24, 2010