A centuries-old mystery behind the shape of a bird’s egg has been solved by scientists at the University of Sheffield as part of one of the longest-running scientific studies of its kind.
The study, led by Professor Tim Birkhead from the University’s Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, has discovered the reason why guillemot eggs have such a peculiar shape – a mystery that has been puzzling biologists for hundreds of years.
Guillemots lay and incubate their single egg on bare cliff ledges close to the sea, which led scientists and nature enthusiasts to believe that the egg’s pointed shape had evolved to help it roll in an arc – thus keeping it from the cliff edge should it become dislodged
However, Professor Birkhead, who has been studying the behaviour of guillemots, puffins and razorbills on Skomer Island in Wales for almost 50 years, has discovered that the egg’s shape has evolved in order to keep the egg in place and prevent it from rolling away in the first place.
US interior secretary Ryan Zinke blames environmentalists for the devastation in California and calls for an increase in logging
A wildfire burns near Yosemite national park. Photograph: US forest service/Reuters
The US interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, has blamed environmentalists for California’s ferocious wildfires and claimed, contrary to scientific research, that climate change had “nothing to do” with them. Instead, he said the fires were worsened because of limits on logging.
“America is better than letting these radical groups control the dialogue about climate change,” Zinke told KCRA, a TV station in northern California, on Sunday. “Extreme environmentalists have shut down public access. They talk about habitat and yet they are willing to burn it up.”
His remarks come on the heels of a USA Today op-ed, published last week, where he held environmentalists partly responsible for the fires because of a stance some have taken against logging. Zinke described it as a responsible means of forest management and called for an increase in timber harvesting, adding that this would also be a boon for the economy.
“This is not a debate about climate change,” he said on a trip to the affected area, the Sacramento Bee reported. “There’s no doubt the [fire] season is getting longer, the temperatures are getting hotter.”
This year 267 tons of marine life, including thousands of small fish and 72 Goliath groupers, have washed up along 150 miles of the Gulf Coast from the unrelenting bloom
With its long, white, sandy beaches, Sanibel Island off the coast of south-western Florida is usually a perfect place for families to enjoy these last days of summer.
This year, however, 267 tons of marine life, including thousands of small fish, 72 Goliath groupers, and even a 21-ft whale shark have washed up on the beach since July – thanks to a a disastrous “red tide” of toxic algae.