Thursday, July 27, 2006

For Love of the Dog Blog

In case you wonder where I've been I'm over at Dogster's For Love of the Dog Blog almost every day now blogging the world of dogs and dog lovers. Come join us at what has been called "the world's largest dog park!."

Ancient global warming drove early primates' dispersal

Looking a this article from EurekaAlert!, I wonder the extent of the effects of global warming on us as primates.

Ann Arbor, Mich. -- The continent-hopping habits of early primates have long puzzled scientists, and several scenarios have been proposed to explain how the first true members of the group appeared virtually simultaneously on Asia, Europe and North America some 55 million years ago.

But new research using the latest evidence suggests a completely different migration path from those previously proposed and indicates that sudden, rapid global warming drove the

Researchers from the University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences present their findings in the July 25 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Their work focuses on Teilhardina, an ancient
genus that resembled the saucer-eyed, modern-day primates known as tarsiers. Like tarsiers, monkeys, apes and humans, Teilhardina was a true primate, or euprimate. In both Asia and Europe, the genus is the oldest known primate; in North America, it appears in the fossil record around the same time as another primate, Cantius. Previously, scientists had come up with four ways to explain the geographic distribution pattern.

The first is that primates originated in Africa and spread across Europe and Greenland to reach North America. Another possibility is that they originated in North America and traveled across a temporary land bridge connecting Siberia and Alaska. A third hypothesis is that primates had their origins in Africa or Asia and traveled through North America to reach western Europe.

Finally, it has been suggested that the group originated in Asia and fanned out eastward to North America and westward to Europe.

In the new research, U-M paleontologist Philip Gingerich and coworkers re-evaluated the four hypotheses by comparing with unprecedented precision the times of first appearance of Teilhardina in Asia, Europe, and North America. To achieve such precision, they used a carbon isotope curve recently documented on all three continents. Carbon in the atmosphere, earth and
living organisms differs in the proportion of carbon-12 and carbon-13 present. A flood of carbon-12 is associated with the onset of an event known as the Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum (PETM), one of the most rapid and extreme global warming events recorded in geologic history. It was during the PETM that modern primates first appeared 55 million years ago. Teilhardina in Asia precedes the maximum flood of carbon-12, Teilhardina in Europe coincides with it, and Teilhardina in North America appears just after the maximum. Based on this evidence, the researchers concluded that none of previously proposed scenarios was likely. Instead, they propose that Teilhardina migrated from South Asia to Europe, crossing the Turgai Straits---an ancient seaway between Europe and Asia---and then spread to North America by way of Greenland. The whole dispersal event happened within about 25,000 years.

"It is remarkable to be able to study evolutionary events so deep in the past with such precision," said Gingerich, who is the Ermine Cowles Case Collegiate Professor of Paleontology
and director of the U-M Museum of Paleontology. "The speed of dispersal and the speed of evolutionary change during dispersal are near the maximum for such rates observed today, and the rapid change and dispersal were almost certainly driven by profound greenhouse warming at the Paleocene-Eocene boundary."

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Global Warming Turns Seychelles Coral Into Rubble

This just in from the Independent/UK via Common Dreams.

Published on Tuesday, May 16, 2006 by the Independent / UK
Global Warming Turns Pristine Coral into Rubble

Miles of unblemished coral reefs have been turned to slime-covered rubble because of rising sea temperatures caused by global warming.

A study into the extensive bleaching of the Seychelles corals in 1998 has found that these Indian Ocean reefs failed to recover, with many of them crumbling to broken fragments. Scientists said the findings showed that rising global sea temperatures could have a more devastating impact on the world's tropical corals than previously thought.

"Some of the reefs have collapsed to almost mobile beds of rubble. They are no longer solid structures and some have been overgrown with fleshy green mats of algae," said Nicholas Graham, a coral ecologist at the University of Newcastle. "They have basically turned into reefs of rubble and algae, with very little fish life. It's a depressing story and it's very sad to see what's happened to these reefs," said Mr Graham, a member of the survey team.

The Seychelles once boasted mile upon mile of luxuriant coral reefs but in 1998 the local sea temperatures rose dramatically because of the general rise in global temperatures combined with the effects of a strong El Nino - an occasional reversal of the warm ocean currents in the Pacific Ocean.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Yup the Planet IS Getting Warmer AND It IS Our fault

I really wish I wrote fiction. I keep telling myself I am and then another news report comes through about global warming and I question that assumption all over again. Here's a new article from The Independent on leaked news about global warming and yes Virginia, we are causing it

Here's just the beginning of the article.

Global warming fastest for 20,000 years - and it is mankind's fault
By Steve Connor, Science Editor
Published: 04 May 2006

Global warming is made worse by man-made pollution and the scale of the problem is unprecedented in at least 20,000 years, according to a draft report by the world's leading climate scientists.

The leaked assessment by the group of international experts says there is now overwhelming evidence to show that the Earth's climate is undergoing dramatic transformation because of human activity.

A draft copy of the report by a working group of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases are at the highest for at least 650,000 years.

It predicts that global average temperatures this century will rise by between 2C and 4.5C as a result of the doubling of carbon dioxide levels caused by man-made emissions.

Read the rest of the article.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Pugs DO Eat Peanut Butter

For those of you who wondered where I came up with Pugs making peanut butter, the Three Pug Mugs blog shows that Pugs really LIKE peanut butter. So its not a big step to them making it, is it?

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Time for Something Funny.

Okay, maybe the following is more true than funny. Make that funny AND true:

Dog Rules
1. The dog is not allowed in the house.
2. Ok, the dog is allowed in the house, but only in certain parts.
3. The dog is allowed in all rooms, but has to stay off the furniture.
4. The dog can get on the old furniture only.
5. Fine, the dog allowed on all the furniture, but is not allowed to sleep with the humans on the bed.
6. Ok, the dog is allowed on the bed but by invitation only.
7. The dog can sleep on the bed whenever he wants, but not under the covers.
8. The dog can sleep under the covers by invitation only.
9. The dog can sleep under the covers every night.
10. Humans must ask permission to sleep under the covers with the dog.

Excerpted from Ain't Too Proud to Beg by John T. Olson.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Visit me at Dogster Blog!

That's right, I'm now blogging over at I'll be back over here to talk about what's happening with the Haint sequel and other issues like global warming. But come on over to Dogster and join the big pack!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

10 part quiz on global warming

Wonder how your knowledge of global warming stacks up? Take the 10 part quiz set up by the Environmental Defense Fund.

Dangerous Foods

We've all heard about chocolate being bad for dogs. But what else should be on the no-no list? Here's a list from the Cold Nose News.

Thank you Fisher at the Wacky Weim Group on for bringing this info to my attention.

Why are grapes harmful?
As far as grapes and raisins go, no one is sure why they're harmful. It's been confirmed that even grapes grown without fertilizers or pesticides can be toxic to dogs. But not to every dog, and not every time. It's also not known whether small amounts eaten over a long time period could have a cumulative effect.What we do know is that the end result in nearly all reported cases of grape or raisin toxicity is acute kidney failure. (The term "acute" means that the condition is severe and comes on quickly.)

The dog ultimately can't produce urine, which means they can't filter toxins out of their systems -- a process essential to life.During the twelve-month period in which the effects of grapes were studied, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center handled 140 cases involving one or more dogs. Over a third of the dogs developed symptoms ranging from vomiting to kidney failure, and seven dogs died.

The ASPCA based their study on reported cases, so naturally there may be cases where a dogs health is entirely unaffected by eating grapes. But until they know all the facts, the Society advises against feeding pets grapes or raisins in any amount. An ounce of prevention...

So, your dog just scored himself a big box of raisins or some Valentines chocolates. What's a pet owner to do?The first line of defense, if the grapes or raisins were eaten recently, is to induce vomiting and administer activated charcoal (it absorbs toxins in the GI tract). Vomiting is also the first sign that your dog is in trouble, so skip right to the activated charcoal if vomiting has already occurred. (In a pinch you can make your own activated charcoal by burning a piece of toast until it's charred and crumbles easily.) Then call your vet right away.The vet will keep your dog on intravenous fluids for at least 48 hours and monitor blood chemistry daily. Normal blood work after 3 days usually means your dog is in the clear.Keeping a watchful eye out, of course, is the best way to keep your pet out of trouble. Like children, dogs (and other pets) have a knack for getting into mischief when we're not looking.

It's Not Just the Grapes...There are other foods your dog should be kept away from, and some of them may surprise you:
Who can resist chocolate? Like it your not, your dog.Chocolate is made with cocoa beans and cocoa beans contain a chemical called Theobromine, which is toxic to dogs. So on Valentine's Day, you're actually being kind to your best buddy if you eat all the chocolates yourself!Read my special report on chocolate to learn more, and see how different types of chocolate have varying effects on dogs health.

Cocoa Mulch
Mulch isn't food, but there's one type tempting enough for dogs to eat. Cocoa bean shells are a by-product of chocolate production (which is how mulch made it into the "foods" category) and are popular as mulch for landscaping. Homeowners like the attractive color and scent, and the fact that the mulch breaks down into an organic fertilizer. The coca bean shells can contain from 0.2% to 3% theobromine (the toxin ) as compaired to 1-4% in unprocessed beans.

Fatty foods
Fatty foods are hard for a dog to digest and can can overtax the pancreas, leading to pancreatitis. This can threaten your dogs health and is potentially fatal.NutsMacadamia nuts should be avoided. In fact most nuts are not good for the dogs health since their high phosporus content is said to lead to bladder stones.

Onions, and especially raw onions, have been shown to trigger hemolytic anemia in dogs. (Stephen J Ettinger, D.V.M and Edward C. Fieldman, D.V.M. 's book: Textbook of Veterinary Internal Medicine vol. 2 pg 1884.) Stay away from onion powder too.

Potato poisonings among people and dogs are rare but have occurred. The toxin, solanine, is poorly absorbed and is only found in green sprouts (these occur in tubers exposed to sunlight) and green potato skins. This explains why incidents seldom occur. Note that cooked, mashed potatoes are fine for a dogs health, actually quite nutritious and digestible.

Artificial Sweeteners
iXylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, especially sugarless gum and candies. Ingesting large amounts of products sweetened with xylitol may cause a sudden drop in blood sugar in dogs, resulting depression, loss of coordination, and seizures. According to Dr. Eric K. Dunayer, a consulting veterinarian in clinical toxicology for the poison control center, "These signs can develop quite rapidly, at times less than 30 minutes after ingestion of the product" states Dr. Dunayer, "...therefore, it is important that pet owners seek veterinary treatment immediately."

Turkey skin is currently thought to cause acute pancreatis in dogs, partly due to it's high fat content.

Here are the rest of the foods listed by the ASPCA as harmful:
Alcoholic beverages Avocado (the only "fatty" member of the vegetable family)
Coffee (all forms of coffee)
Moldy or spoiled foods

The Bottom LineThanks to a more educated public, fewer fatalities from foods like chocolate are being reported these days. But it's important to keep up with what's currently known about foods and their effects on dogs health. Grapes and cocoa mulch, for example, were only discovered very recently to have harmful effects.

Check frequently with sources like the ASPCA, or sign up for the "Cold Noses News" to have information like this delivered to your inbox. (You'll also get a bunch of cool dog stuff along with your free registration).