Good Lord! I Hope They Don’t Team Up With The Cows!

Apparently, Chi ckens have better color vision than humans:

Scientists mapped five types of light receptors in the chicken’s eye. They discovered the receptors were laid out in interwoven mosaics that maximized the chicken’s ability to see many colors in any given part of the retina, the light-sensing structure at the back of the eye.

“Based on this analysis, birds have clearly one-upped us in several ways in terms of color vision,” says Joseph C. Corbo, M.D., Ph.D., senior author and assistant professor of pathology and immunology and of genetics. “Color receptor organization in the chicken retina greatly exceeds that seen in most other retinas and certainly that in most mammalian retinas.”

The Science Daily article reports on this PLoS One paper – which is really quite interesting and applies to avians in general. Birds have five types of cone photoreceptors and the paper examines the way they are distributed in the retina. I’m still in the process of reading the PLoS paper, which looks quite interesting, so I can only say that I hope the chickens don’t team up with the cows!

Aww Spring, When Newspapers Fancy Turns To Thoughts Of…Prairie Chickens?

Greg Laden mentions the plight of the prairie chicken and links to an article in the UW – Madison News. Coincidentally, there was also an article in today’s St. Louis Post-Dispatch on the plight of prairie chickens in Missouri and the plight is dire:

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The Red Knot Needs Your Help

Red Knot Posted by Hello

The Red Knot is a small bird the winters in Tierra del Fuego and Breeds in Canada. Along the way it stops in various places in North America where it feeds on horshoe crab eggs. Unfortunately:

These eggs are being harvested unsustainably (for use as bait for conch and eels), and unless an emergency moratorium on harvesting is implemented, the results could be disastrous for shorebirds, especially the Red Knot.

What can you do?

Go to bootstrap analysis and be educated on the issue, then follow the links and sign the petition – I did!