If you thought Jaws was bad, an ocean without sharks is infinitely worse.
This is really well put together… and it’s free!
Now reading on a Friday night. I’m having a hard time wrapping my brain around the stat that humans kill 100 million sharks each year.
The report is short, and easy to read. It argues that sharks are essential to ocean health, that diversity creates and supports more resilient ecosystems, and that humans should back the eff off.
A completely wasted opportunity. So thanks, PETA for getting all emotional and blowing your time in the spotlight.
I’m no supporter of PETA, but this is interesting to me because it furthers, or at least tightens, the better arguments that some species are in need of stronger federal protections beyond the Endangered Species Act - especially in the new context of climate change. Antiquated laws need to be updated to address a new, unforeseen reality and accommodate new information. Things like stronger habitat protection with higher fines for violations; clear recovery plans for threatened species; and tighter restrictions on land-use development, especially mining and drilling. More on those issues, here.
PETA lost their case because the 13th amendment clearly establishes rights for people, but not animals. I’m surprised the case got as far as it did…
The case is one of the boldest attempts yet to establish legal rights for animals, and the first to attempt to do so on constitutional grounds. But some groups that support legal rights for animals say PETA’s case may end up hurting the cause.
PETA’s suit, filed in October, argued that the orcas “were forcibly taken from their families and natural habitats” and forced to live in “barren concrete tanks in unnatural physical and social conditions.” Noting that orcas have highly developed brains and complex social lives, PETA argued that the animals deserve the same protection as humans under the 13th Amendment. SeaWorld countered that the 13th Amendment, adopted in 1865, was intended to apply specifically to human beings enslaved by other human beings. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller agreed, ruling that “the only reasonable interpretation of the Thirteenth Amendment’s plain language is that it applies to persons, and not to non-persons such as orcas.”
“It was a foolish suit and a sure loser,” says Steven Wise, president and founder of the Nonhuman Rights Project (NHRP), which seeks to establish personhood and legal rights for animals. Wise argues that bringing a case in federal court on constitutional grounds was a huge mistake.
Species count put at 8.7 million-By Richard Black
The natural world contains about 8.7 million species, according to a new estimate described by scientists as the most accurate ever.
But the vast majority have not been identified - and cataloguing them all could take more than 1,000 years. The number comes from studying relationships between the branches and leaves of the “family tree of life”.
The team warns in the journal PLoS Biology that many species will become extinct before they can be studied.
Back garden life: Grasshopper
Top 10 New species in 2010
A cockroach that exhibits unusual morphology with legs that are highly modified for jumping. Named Saltoblattella montistabularis – Saltoblattella is the Latin translation of “jumping small cockroach” – this critter has jumping ability that is on par with grasshoppers. Prior to its discovery, jumping cockroaches were only known from the Late Jurassic. In addition to the leg modifications, it has hemispherical shaped eyes, rather than kidney shaped eyes, which protrude from the sides of the head, and its antennae have an additional fixation point to help stabilize it during jumping.
Top 10 New Species in 2010
A pancake batfish that lives in waters either partially or fully encompassed by the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Named Halieutichthys intermedius, this bottom-dwelling species seems to hop on its thick, arm-like fins as it moves awkwardly in the water, resembling a walking bat. John Sparks, curator of ichthyology at the American Museum of Natural History, one of the scientists who reported the discovery, said: “If we are still finding new species of fishes in the Gulf, imagine how much diversity, especially microdiversity, is out there that we do not know about.”
A Peruvian leech with gigantic teeth and a mushroom that fruits underwater are among the top picks for the most notable new species that scientists described and named in 2010. The annual list, released by the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University and a committee of taxonomists from around the world, is designed to call attention to Earth’s biodiversity and celebrate the birthday Carolus Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist who was responsible for developing the modern system of plant and animal names and classifications.