Posts Tagged ‘humans’

Trump and the future of

Trump and the future of “America’s best idea.”

By EcoEvo@TCD | News

In 1872 Yellowstone National Park was established as the first National Park not only in the USA, but in the world. President Ulysses S. Grant signed into law the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act, and so the National Parks were born. Today 59 National Parks exist throughout the United States, covering approximately 51.9 million acres with the goal of maintaining in perpetuity both wildlife and their habitat. Since 1916 the National Park Service (NPS) has been entrusted with the care of these National Parks, and this year they celebrate their centenary. The National Parks have been referred [&hellip

Freeing Willy: the $20 million failed experiment

Freeing Willy: the $20 million failed experiment

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

In 1993 Free Willy leapt onto cinema screens around the world. The story about a young boy who saves a killer whale from a run-down theme park was an instant hit for Warner Bros. However for Keiko, the whale who played Willy, the story did not have a Hollywood ending. While Willy jumped to freedom as the credits rolled, Keiko remained in captivity. What followed was a global effort to return Keiko to the wild at all costs, even to Keiko himself. Keiko, a male killer whale (Orcinus orca), was born in the North Atlantic off Iceland, [&hellip

The world economy in a cube

The world economy in a cube

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives, Research

  In 1884, the English theologian and pedagogue Edwin A. Abbott wrote a romance called “Flatland”, in which he described a two dimensional world. The rigid and hierarchically organized society of Flatland develops in the large plane in which it lives, and flat authorities control that no flat citizen (the inhabitants are all flat geometric figures) escapes from the two-dimension reality. The book is a social satire as well as an exploration of the concept of multiple dimensions. Furthermore, it can also be viewed as a critic of narrow worldviews stubbornly based on old paradigms.   The [&hellip

Swan wrangling in the Pale

Swan wrangling in the Pale

By EcoEvo@TCD | Research

For those of us with an interest in the natural world, Mute Swans (Cygnus olor) are a staple of urban wildlife in Dublin, present in many parks and along both canals. However, it has been 25 years since there has been any real assessment of the state of the Mute Swan population in the Dublin region (1). This has been a period of immense change in the urban landscape. Mute Swan © Graham Prole   This summer, the Irish Midlands Ringing Group (IMRG) started a monitoring project to assess the state of the Mute Swan population in [&hellip

Microplastics: a macro-problem for remote islands in the South Atlantic?

Microplastics: a macro-problem for remote islands in the South Atlantic?

By EcoEvo@TCD | Research, Seminars

Dr Dannielle Green from the Biogeochemistry Research Group in Geography is about to return from an adventure in the South Atlantic where she was hunting for microplastics in some of the world’s most remote islands. Plastic debris can be found in every country around the world and larger items like plastic bags and bottles can have obvious impacts, such as entanglement, ingestion and suffocation of seabirds, turtles and mammals. But even when plastic breaks down, it persists as small pieces called “microplastics” and in this form can still cause harm to a wide range of marine organisms [&hellip

The moral of the story

The moral of the story

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

Most of us have some inbuilt sense of right and wrong; don’t steal and don’t murder are as basic to us as our ability to breathe. But where does this moral sense come from? In general, people of a scientific bent don’t attribute it to God nor as some sort of free floating truth that can be grasped by the human intellect. If you hold a materialistic view, that is to say the idea that at its base the universe is composed of energy and matter, then it’s next to impossible to understand morality in those terms. [&hellip

Evolution is  - surprise! - Darwinian!

Evolution is – surprise! – Darwinian!

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives, Reviews

I sometime come across papers that I missed during their publication time and that shed a new light on my current research (or strengthen the already present light). Today it was Cartmill’s 2012 Evolutionary Anthropology – not open access, apologies… Cartmill raises an interesting question from an evolutionary point of view: “How long ago did the first [insert your favorite taxa here] live?”. This question is crucial for any macroevolutionary study (or/and for the sake of getting a chance to be published in Nature). If one is studying the “rise of the age of mammals” (just for [&hellip

Good, Better, Best

Good, Better, Best

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

Many aspects of human nature seem to frustrate our ideal of a modern society. This is especially true of our morality. We seem to have evolved a brain with two systems relevant to moral behaviour. The first, more ancient component is automatic, judging things as disgusting or inherently wrong very quickly; the second is our slower acting higher-level thinking which has a controlled reasoned process. However the two are not independent, with our more modern system taking its cues from the more primitive part. An evolved morality does suggest that there is no absolute right or wrong, [&hellip

People are idiots

People are idiots

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

Apologies in advance for this perhaps unconstructive rant! But I’ve found the process cathartic after spending my whole holiday worrying that someone nearby was going to get kicked, crushed or eaten through their own stupidity! For my summer holiday this year I spent a week in Yellowstone National Park in the USA. It was awesome apart from one thing: the people. Everywhere you go in Yellowstone and the surrounding areas (including a brilliant sign showing you how to bear-proof your bird feeder in the bathrooms of a BBQ joint in Jacksons Hole) you find warnings about bears. [&hellip

The ‘Natural’ World

The ‘Natural’ World

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives

What images come to mind when you think of a field ecologist? Do you see what I see? I see someone, probably in khaki shorts and a broad-brimmed hat,  walking through thick rainforest, listening to the calls of birds, waving off insects determined to find a patch of skin to bite, and smelling the exotic aromas of plants and animals living, dying and decaying. You may well be thinking that this is an idealised image of a field ecologist and while it may have been true 50 years ago, it’s harder to imagine now. After all, every [&hellip