Posts Tagged ‘birds’
Women are better than men at recognizing living things and men are better than women at recognizing vehicles.
That is the unanticipated result of an analysis Vanderbilt psychologists performed on data from a series of visual recognition tasks collected in the process of developing a new standard test for expertise in object recognition.
“These results aren’t definitive, but they are consistent with the following story,” said Isabel Gauthier. “Everyone is born with a general ability to recognize objects and the capability to get really good at it. Nearly everyone becomes expert at recognizing faces, because of their importance for social interactions. Most people also develop expertise for recognizing other types of objects due to their jobs, hobbies or interests. Our culture influences which categories we become interested in, which explains the differences between men and women…”
“Our motivation was to assess the role that expertise plays in object recognition with a new test that includes many different categories, so we weren’t looking for this result,” said Professor of Psychology Isabel Gauthier. She directs the lab where post-doctoral fellow Rankin McGugin conducted the study.
“This isn’t the first time that sex differences have been found in perceptual tasks. For example, previous studies have shown that men have an advantage in mental rotation tasks. In fact, a recent study looking only at car recognition found that men were better than women but attributed this to the male advantage in mental rotation. Our finding that women are better than men at recognizing objects in other categories suggests that this explanation is incorrect…”
It took the multi-category analysis to reveal that face recognition abilities are correlated to the ability to recognize different object categories for men and women. For example, men who are better at recognizing vehicles also tend to be better at recognizing faces, while women who are better at recognizing living things tend to be better at recognizing faces…
I’m left without an opinion. I haven’t spent any time on the topic because in general I’ve had to confront teaching an individual a particular skill, bit of knowledge, technique. My focus has always been on utilizing existing understanding, countering incorrect – orten ideologically-derived – comprehension.
Now, my curiosity is piqued.
A jumbo-sized cloud of tiny birds called red-billed queleas surrounds an elephant at the Satao Camp water hole in East Tsavo, Kenya. Photographer Antero Topp said: “There are big trees close to waterhole where the birds landed and at that time we suddenly heard a strong crack. A huge branch had been broken by the weight of these tiny birds despite them only weighing about 10 grams each. All the birds took off and you could hear an unbelievable whoosh…
Amazing photo, stunning.
An avalanche of more than 100 apples rained down over a main road in Keresley, Coventry on Monday night. The street was left littered with apples after they pelted car windscreens and bonnets just after rush-hour. The bizarre downpour may have been caused by a current of air that lifted the fruit from a garden or orchard, releasing it over the junction of Keresley Road and Kelmscote Road.
A North-Sea wind farm has hardly any negative effects on fauna. At most, a few bird species will avoid such a wind farm. It turns out that a wind farm also provides a new natural habitat for organisms living on the sea bed such as mussels, anemones, and crabs, thereby contributing to increased biodiversity. For fish and marine mammals, it provides an oasis of calm in a relatively busy coastal area, according to researcher Prof. Han Lindeboom at IMARES…and several of his colleagues and fellow scientists at Bureau Waardenburg and Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ)…
The research carried out within the OWEZ wind farm revealed little effect during the first few years on the benthic organisms in the sandy areas between the wind turbines. New species establish themselves, and communities of animals arise on the wind turbine piles and the rocks piled around the columns, leading to a local increase in biodiversity. The fish fauna turns out to be very variable, and some minor positive effects have been observed so far. For example, the wind farm seems to provide shelter to cod. Porpoises were also heard more often inside the wind farm than outside it. A striking feature is that various bird species, including the gannet, avoid the wind farm, whereas others, such as seagulls, do not seem to be bothered by the wind turbines. Cormorants were even observed in greater numbers. The number of birds that collided with the turbines was not determined but was estimated to be quite low on the basis of observations and model calculations…
Overall, the OWEZ wind farm functions as a new type of habitat with more species of benthic organisms and a possibly increased use of the area by fish, marine mammals and some bird species, whereas the presence of other bird species is reduced…
In the busy Dutch coastal zone, the wind farm seems to offer a relative oasis of calm, according to the researchers. In the Anthropocene era, the present era during which humans have an impact on almost everything on earth, the effects of intensive fishing, pollution, gas oil and sand extraction, and intensive shipping have already resulted in changes to the ecosystem. Against such a background, a wind farm can contribute to a more diverse habitat and even help nature to recover. However, the rotating blades can also have a significant disruptive effect on some species of birds. The researchers therefore suggest that, for the purpose of generating energy, special areas be designated in the sea for wind farms. Unavoidable effects, such as a local reduction in the numbers of some bird species would then have to be accepted, but by choosing the location appropriately, these effects can be minimised.
I don’t agree with the need for specificity. I worry more about bats than birds around wind generators – a problem virtually non-existent for sea-based wind farms. I worry more about bats because their darting flight after food seems to be less aware of those big slow-moving blades than are birds.
The rest of the positive results shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s investigated the aftereffects of offshore oil production platforms. Some of the best subsistence and sport fishing you’ll ever find. The same kind of questions were being asked when I worked in offshore construction decades ago and beaucoup studies came through with answers as positive as these about offshore structures.
A cheeky young squirrel seems to be making it clear that this bird box is his now. Photographer Christine Haines was confronted by the juvenile grey squirrel in a nesting box in her garden in Spokane in Washington.
She says: “My husband had constructed nest boxes in our yard to attract Northern Flicker birds. One day I heard a strange noise coming from one of the boxes. I looked up and saw a young squirrel peering out. I grabbed my camera and was able to capture a few pictures with its mouth open. I believe the young squirrel was calling for its mother.”
Probably calling for MORE NUTS!
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When I was a young boy, I dreamed of two things: one, to become a paleontologist, and another, to have a pet dinosaur. I have become a paleontologist, and now I strive to figure out a way to bring back or create my living dinosaur…
But even though we didn’t find DNA in an extinct dinosaur, I decided to see if we could retro-engineer a living dinosaur — all birds are living dinosaurs — and make it look like an extinct dinosaur.
My colleague Hans Larsson, using developmental biology techniques at McGill University, was studying the transition between extinct dinosaurs and birds, trying to understand how birds came to lose their tails and transform hands to wings. I figured if he could figure this out, we could reverse the methods and make a bird with hands and a tail. It was the beginning of the “Build a Dinosaur Project.”
The Build a Dinosaur Project continues as researchers attempt to identify two atavistic genes proposed to control the appearance of the three-fingered hand and the primitive tail. This search involves the knocking out of target genes in early developing chicken embryos.
This is a long process that can take years — so as we wait, the prospect of a chicken-dinosaur is being used as a medium to explain developmental biology and evolutionary biology to the general public.
It is a simple way to demonstrate how evolution works, by showing that the genes for these primitive characteristics continue to reside in DNA — even when they are of no particular use at the present, but when they might be useful in the animal’s evolutionary future. The chicken-dinosaur is also an icon for genetic engineering in animals, providing a focus for discussions concerning ethics…
I think of the dino-chicken as a tool to educate people about the extraordinary characteristics of evolution and give them the primer knowledge to make future decisions about these types of biological research.