Month: November 2009

Tuesdays with Turtles – Right Flipperedness Edition

Across a population studied by scientists, more turtles preferred to use their right rear flipper rather than their left when laying eggs.The result, published in the journal Behavioural Brain Research, is the first time a species of turtle has found to prefer one limb over another.The discovery adds to growing evidence that even lower vertebrates prefer to use one side of the body more often.Such preference is known by scientists as a “lateralised functional behaviour”, and it usually indicates that an animal's brain function is also lateralised, with one side of the brain dominating control of certain tasks.

via BBC – Earth News – Turtles are ‘right-flippered’.

Ha, just when you thought Tuesdays with Turtles was gone, it is Tuesday (here in Canada) and a sea turtle post. Turns out, leatherbacks, the biggest of ths sea turtles and critically endangered tend to be right flippered while on land and laying eggs. A slight predilection to right sidedness runs all the way down to reptiles. It is 54%-46%, which does not seem like much, but the report indicates that among humans, it is the same once you control for a cultural right hand bias!

Anyway, got to love those sexy beasts, even if they’re right flippered, right Ned?

The glacier melts away in Ladakh


The enormity of climate change and its impact is on everyone’s lips in this cold desert where over 80 per cent of the farmers depend on the snow melt for their needs. Water is almost a luxury now. There is no authoritative study done so far to estimate the impact of receding glaciers in Ladakh, points out Ms Nisa Khatoon, project officer, of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Leh. Scarcity of water has led to people digging bore wells in Leh, which is likely to have an impact on the underwater springs. Ms Khatoon also notes a reduction in pasture lands affecting the migration routes of the Changpas, a nomadic tribe that lives near the lakes in the upper reaches of Ladakh.

The Hindu : Opinion / Op-Ed : The glacier melt.

I seem to remember a certain Environment minister claiming that climate change mitigation policies were irresponsible because they would lead to a small drop in GDP growth in his country. If only the people of Ladakh had this luxury. Believers in reincarnation may wish that Mr Prentice be reborn as a farmer in Ladakh circa 2060, but there may not be any farmers in Ladakh come 2050, nor any glaciers, so I guess that would make him a lonely man!

Picture courtesy Rich Drogpa’s Flickr Photostream, used under a creative commons license