The ghosts of famous artists–and of several hundred dinosaurs who perished in disastrous floods–could be roaming the landscape of Ghost Ranch in north-central New Mexico. This high desert region with steep cliffs and colorful rocks has a long and rich history. Finally visiting Ghost Ranch during a recent road trip, I was captivated by the beauty and the history of the place.
California encompasses tremendous diversity, and this includes rocks of virtually every age, reflecting a long and dynamic geologic history. I'm fond of all types of rock, but my favorites are shales, sandstones and limestones that preserve evidence of ancient plant and animal life. The older the fossils, the more interesting.
What do lava flows in Hawaii, eucalyptus trees in the Andes Mountains of Peru, beehive-shaped ovens in Nevada, and a dog’s ticket to a veterinarian office for an emergency visit all have in common? I can explain.
I’ve seen lots of sharks when I’ve been on snorkeling excursions in tropical waters. It always feels a bit creepy to see them – afterall, these animals are top predators! (Maybe I remember too many of Gary Larson’s “natural selection” cartoons....?)
Whenever I visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California, I have to pry myself away from the cuttlefish, nautilus and octopus exhibits. The intelligence, curiosity, and unique body plans of these cephalopods mesmerize me. So it is a big thrill to see these creatures in their natural habitats.....
Can you think of an animal living today whose relatives, some of them gigantic, ruled the seas for hundreds of millions of years – but then became extinct along with the dinosaurs? This survivor, the chambered nautilus (Nautilus pompilius), is little changed from ancestors that flourished more than 400 million years ago.
Did you know that complex behavior and intelligence developed on two very different evolutionary branches? In a fascinating book, Peter Godfrey-Smith* writes that the closest we will come to meeting an intelligent alien is an octopus.
When mammoths, mastodons, ground sloths, horses and other Pleistocene megafauna became extinct in the Americas some 12,000 or so years ago, what happened to the plants those animals were eating? It’s an interesting story, especially [...]
Saber-tooth cats with huge, gaping jaws and slashing canine teeth, were top predators that roamed around California and other parts of the Americas during the Pleistocene Epoch (from about 2.6 million to 11.7 thousand years [...]
Evidence of the Pleistocene “Ice Ages” can be found along the Sonoma Coast north of San Francisco today. On a bone-chilling cold and windy day a few decades ago, two scientists were checking out an [...]