Golden jackals from Africa and Eurasia, once thought to be the same species living in different parts of the world, aren't even half-siblings or step-siblings. They're more like the long lost second cousin once removed because, turns out, the African variety isn't even a Jackal at all. Recent DNA analysis has revealed that African buggers are actually more resemblant of wolves and the two golden jackal species, although having remarkably similar morphology - meaning they look almost identical - have evolved separately for millennia. Basically, their genetic stories tell a completely different story while their morphological ones tell the same one. Funny how that happens isn't it. I guess that's why Jackals are depicted as the tricksters in African folklore. Those sneaky bastards.
This Throwback Third Thursday (#tbtt) is a bit different in that it is a throwback to a icon in honor of a couple trips I am making for my research in the next few weeks; first to Fort Worth for some training then to New York City for sample collection.
The photo to the left is of taxidermist, sculptor, biologist, conservationist, inventor, and nature photographer Carl Akeley. He is with one of the lionesses he shot while on an excursion to Africa in 1909 with Teddy Roosevelt which is now housed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City where I will be in just a few weeks collecting historic lion samples. Next week I will be visiting the Institute of Applied Genetics at the University of North Texas Health Science Center to learn DNA collection and extraction techniques from forensics experts. I will be bringing bones from various species with me to "play around with" to become an expert before I start the real work with the few valuable pieces of material I am able to procure from the museum. I am SO excited for what's coming up the next few months. It's going to be VERY busy but VERY exciting.
I forgot to mention I also have my preliminary examinations scheduled for the beginning of September as well. Yeah... this summer is jam packed (and slightly stressful). But it's all going to be awesome!
Along with the ever so important work of its graduate students, the Derr lab is also a core lab providing sequencing services and a service lab which provides bovid DNA testing. And a few months ago, those services were put to the test when the Derr lab took part in some investigative reporting being done by a South Carolina news station involving some bison meat that was suspected to be falsely labeled. Floyd, our trusty lab manager & sequencing master, sequenced some meat for the news station which they obtained and sent to us from the vendor to test what kind of bovid the steaks being sold were. Turns out... they were just your basic beef from cattle, not bison! Busted!!! Check out the story below.
Test results show shoppers not getting what they paid for at local butcher shop
Click "Read More" to read the full article from WBTV - CHARLOTTE, NC
The lions have been almost fully "reintroduced". They have been awakened in Rwanda and initial introductions have been made in the form of quarantine bomas. They will spend 14 days in these bomas acclimating to their new Rwandan home and getting used to the sites, sounds and smells of their new home. Apparently, the local baboon troupe isn't too happy about it.
The non-profit African Parks, an organization charged on taking total responsibility for the rehabilitation and long-term management of national parks in partnership with governments, wildlife organizations and local communities, was responsible for the management of the translocation efforts. They are a management organization with a focus on the generation of sustainable income streams to pay for running costs and capital replacements. Although they seem to have an economic focus, they do have a conservation approach and mention long-term biodiversity restoration in their model. This seems like a great organization, taking on the financial burdens that often plight national parks, my only concern is that with this move of South African lions into Rwanda rather than eastern African lions into Rwanda is that the individuals making the decisions regarding long-term biodiversity restoration may not fully understand what biodiversity and biodiversity restoration means.
I hope I was able to remembered this concoction well enough for others to copy because I sort of made it up as I was going along but it was too yummy not to have a savory dish finally make a recipe debut.....
Poblano, Sweet Potato and Corn Seafood Chowder
Saute the onions, garlic and pepper in olive oil until the onions are soft then add the sweet potatoes. Season with salt and cook for a few minutes, until potatoes start to brown. Cover with chicken broth, add bay leaf and the frozen corn. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are soft. Sprinkle fish and shrimp with Emeril's Essence. Add fish and shrimp and cook for an additional 4 minutes. Remove from heat, remove bay leaf and stir in milk. Serve and ENJOY!
I am a biologist and my life is crap!