April 13, 2009
An egg collected by Charles Darwin during his voyage on HMS Beagle has been rediscovered at Cambridge University.
The small dark brown egg, with Darwin’s name written on it, was found by a retired volunteer at the university’s zoology museum. It bears a large crack, caused after the great naturalist put it in a box that was too small for it.
The egg is the only one known to exist from Darwin’s Beagle collection…
It was the collections manager, Mathew Lowe, who first realised the importance of the specimen. “There are so many historical treasures in the collection, Liz did not realise this was a new discovery,” Mr Lowe told BBC News.
“To have rediscovered a Beagle specimen in the 200th year of Darwin’s birth is special enough, but to have evidence that Darwin himself broke it is a wonderful twist.”
Dr Mike Brooke, the museum’s curator of ornithology, traced the specimen’s origin in the notebook of Professor Alfred Newton, a friend of Darwin’s and a professor of zoology in the late 19th century. Newton had written: “One egg, received through Frank Darwin, having been sent to me by his father who said he got it at Maldonado (Uruguay) and that it belonged to the Common Tinamou of those parts.
“The great man put it into too small a box and hence its unhappy state.”
- BBC News
March 26, 2009
Mount Redoubt volcano in the US state of Alaska has erupted for the sixth time in 24 hours, spewing ash and steam 15km (9.3 miles) into the air.
The volcano, 166km (103 miles) south-west of the state’s biggest city, Anchorage, began erupting late on Sunday after a 20-year lull.
Ash has fallen on towns north of Anchorage, but the city itself has not been affected by the eruption.
Alaskan Airlines has cancelled a number of flights because of the ash.
Officials at the Alaska Volcano Observatory were able to monitor the latest eruption live via a webcam.
“We were able to see mudflows, pyroclastic flows and a nice ash column shooting out of the summit,” geologist Janet Schaefer told the BBC. “It was quite spectacular.”
- BBC News
March 16, 2009
…you just have to outswim the other competitors!
Swimmers competing in a race in Sydney, Australia have had a close encounter with two sharks, one of which is believed to have swam directly beneath them.
The 700 swimmers were competing in a Surf Lifesaving race off Cronulla Beach when the two sharks, a hammerhead and a smaller shark, were spotted.
Lifeboats chased the hammerhead in an effort to force it out to sea. It is thought the smaller shark swam away.
This close encounter follows three other shark attacks that have taken place in Sydney waters over the recent weeks.
- BBC News
February 21, 2009
A lamb was seen head-butting a golden eagle, one of Scotland’s largest birds of prey, according to a new report on island birdlife.
The incident is included in the 10th Outer Hebrides Bird Report, which was funded by Scottish Natural Heritage.
The incident involving the lamb and the bird of prey was recorded at Baile Ailean on the Western Isles…
SNH said the book revealed “fascinating insights” into the struggle for survival between birds and animals throughout the islands.
The lamb head-butt incident was recorded in 2006.
- BBC News