About Natural History

Archive for the tag “Nature”

Freshwater fault

There is a fault in Crete where freshwater emerges just at sea-level!



International Conference on Bear Research and Management

International Conference on Bear Research and Management

What a wonderful surprise! Instead of coming across a fossil while surfing at the office, this morning I found this conference that will be held in Thessaloniki this fall. It regards the interactions of humans and bears, and the conservation of species in today’s industries and economies. It also comprises a field trip to one of the most beautiful villages in Greece, Nymfaio, where ex-captive bears live (in the forest nearby).

Nymfaio village

Nymfaio village

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Mount Olympus

So many mountains where you can go hike in Greece!  Here is a video of some friends on Mt Olympus in August!

Greek bears

A few months ago a couple of little orphan brown bears were released in the forest and are still beeing monitored to see if they are making it!

Cuckoo: evolutionary mystery uncovered

A remarkable bird shows how many things were impossible to understand before the Evolutionary theory was fomulated. A few observations that puzzeled naturalists for a long time in the most well known “evolutionary cheat”.

Global warming by Iain Stewart

As a fan of Iain Stewart I’m trying to keep up with his series and documentaries usually by looking for them on youtube. This is how I came across 3 episodes on global warming. It is made very clear how and why the temperature of our planet is rising, the methods that the scientists use for the measurments are also presented.
The first episode shows how specialists came to the conclusion that the earth is getting a little bit warmer, more like a historical review, and the methodological process that led to that conclusion. It is easy to understand the causes and consequences of global warming but it seems to me that it is a bit exagerated as far as the extent of it is concerned as well as Man’s part of responsability of the phenomenon.

Estogenic plants and Monkeys. Who knew!

Apparently, there could be a link between estrogen-like hormones of plants and the behaviour of male red colobus monkeys as it has been observed in Uganda. Who knew that the characteristic female hormone would initiate “typical” male behaviour?

Are all scientists romantics?

I was talking about orogenesis the other day with a fellow geologist, and we both came to the conclusion that it would be quite awesome (and I mean this litterally) to stand on the Appalaches or the Urals ( and realize that during the Primary era these were the highest mountains on Earth. They belong to the first orogenesis event in the history of the Phanerozoic, a time when they weren’t covered in vegetation, but they were culminating higher than this level. We were thinking abou the feeling we’d get by walking on these eroded rocks, that may have been around for more than 250 Ma, but still, they are rather high mountains.
This sort of feeling is something that is always accompanying scientific thought, although not all scientists realize it or understand how deeply romantic it is. Indeed, when one thinks about any problem concerning Nature, the Universe or even about a theoretical problem (i.e. Mathematics), one performs a romantic act since he usually faces a problem with respect to Nature and does not consider his human nature as a factor in his reflection (non anthropocentric vision).
Of course, the Romantic movement of the beggining of the 19th century did influence strongly the scientific tought, and generated the big Naturphilosophie movement in Germany. It represented a scientific view of the world that was at the limits of metaphysics (sometimes well past the limit as well). Despite that, some major discoveries were made by using this kind of philosophy, such as electromagnetism in the field of physics, statistics in the field of mathematics, or the creation of the field of Biology (by Lamarck).
One of the most renouned naturphilosophers is Johann Goethe. His scientific observations are largely poorly known, but he is actually the one who made quite a crutial observation when it comes to angiosperm development. He noticed that the flower of the angiosperms is in fact transfomed leaves. With this simple idea, a very simple yet important observation, he made it possible for other scientists to understand the origin and the development of flowers. The movement came to an end with the rise of Positivism at approximately the middle of the 19th century, which promoted the collection of data and the methodologies used today.

Although the romantic movement has faded away from science (as it has for litterature to tell the truth), there lies in all scientists a deep sense of romanticism in their perception of natural phenomena, in the way they concieve a scientific problem and in their love of nature in general.

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