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Archive for the ‘conservation’ Category

 

Nature holds great many secrets, which we make use of and it can lead us for greater understanding of our place in the scheme of things. Growth rings of trees help us reconstruct climate conditions of a bygone age; marine animals like nautilus are marked similarly and shall we say we are custodians of time?  So much so we can say with the Preacher emphatically: Yes He has set eternity in our hearts! (Eccl.3:11). Our heatbeats are one way of counting it in terms of eternity. Who but a fool shall assume such a service that Nature does is to enable some fill their coffers with silver by exploiting the natural resources, and in the process make the world far less fortunate for future?

In our uniqueness we carry our condemnation that we neglected while we have had time to improve the lot of those who merited our support. Conservation is one way we point our kinship with our Maker.

ii

 

Researchers used radiocarbon dating to determine the ages of 28 of the sharks, and estimated that one female was about 400 years old. The results are published in the journal Science (science.sciencemag.org).

Lead author Julius Nielsen, a marine biologist from the University of Copenhagen, said: “We had our expectations that we were dealing with an unusual animal, but I think everyone doing this research was very surprised to learn the sharks were as old as they were.”

The team found that the sharks grow at just 1cm a year, and reach sexual maturity at about the age of 150. Greenland sharks are huge beasts, that can grow up to 5m in length.

For some fish, scientists are able to examine ear bones called otoliths, which when sectioned, show a pattern of concentric rings that scientists can count as they would the rings in a tree.

Sharks are harder, but some species, such as the Great White, have calcified tissue that grows in layers on their back bones, that can also be used to age the animals.

“But the Greenland shark is a very, very soft shark – it has no hard body parts where growth layers are deposited. So it was believed that the age could not be investigated,” Mr Nielsen told the BBC

However the team found a clever way of working out the age.

“The Greenland shark’s eye lens is composed of a specialised material – and it contains proteins that are metabolically inert,” explained Mr Neilson.

“Which means after the proteins have been synthesised in the body, they are not renewed any more. So we can isolate the tissue that formed when the shark was a pup, and do radiocarbon dating.”

The team looked at 28 sharks, most of which had died after being caught in fishing nets as by-catch.

Using this technique, they established that the largest shark – a 5m-long female – was extremely ancient.

Because radiocarbon dating does not produce exact dates, they believe that she could have been as “young” as 272 or as old as 512. But she was most likely somewhere in the middle, so about 400 years old.

It means she was born between the years of 1501 and 1744, but her most likely date of birth was in the 17th century.

“Even with the lowest part of this uncertainty, 272 years, even if that is the maximum age, it should still be considered the longest-living vertebrate,” said Mr Nielsen.

Trivia:

The former vertebrate record-holder was a bowhead whale estimated to be 211 years old.

But if invertebrates are brought into the longevity competition, a 507-year-old clam called Ming holds the title of most aged animal.( ack: By Rebecca Morelle

Science Correspondent, BBC News/Aug.11, 2016)

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Boredom is the enemy #1 to every serious occupation in life. A story which concerns St. John, a favorite disciple of Jesus is that he was once seen sporting with a tame partridge, by an archer who thought that the holy man should not waste his time in such frivolities; The apostle replied that if the archer did not at times relax his bow, it would lose spring.

Can there be time out for holiness? For a saint like St. Francis even frivolities shall prove his human quality in its naturalness. Addressing the sun as Brother Sun or the birds the revered figure of Assissi proved his time out was in fitness of God’s kingdom. He could forgive since he knew the essence of his place among wonders that were for all. The sun shines for good and the evil alike; similarly rain. Merely because he was a man of God and the other a wicked man he need not curse him for his evil deeds. For him forgiving comes easier because he is not only thinking of himself but also of another. Tyrants at home demand service and not understand those who serve also have sometimes difficulties in meeting their demands. They have simply forgotten others since they are full of themselves. Those who slash and burn rain forests do so because they want to aggrandize themselves at the expense of others. How can such fellows call themselves as human or decent?

The great Caesar as Plutarch tells us, on one occasion sought shelter under the roof of a rustic shepherd. At dinner time the meal cooked in rancid oil and served to him made the companion bristle with indignity. Caesar could accept the humble meal and thank him for his hospitality. Caesar proved his greatness even under straitened circumstances. He did not forget where he was and his place. He was a guest and having forced himself on another man’s hospitality knew how to behave. Like Caesar each of us is a guest here on earth. There are unwritten house rules. You may be overqualified with degrees and to your own hurt if your educated guess of your place on the earth is to take the food out of mouths of your offspring. In order to ensure their wellbeing, let your humanness show.

Can there be time out for holiness? Or let us rephrase it like thus: Can there be time out from being human?

Tailpiece: there is nothing that can fix a problem like capitalism than fixing who we are and our decency to others who also have found sharing the space. None of us owns the earth. Perhaps education that we tout as cure-all is a travesty of true purpose of education. Think of damage done under initiative and free enterprise! Colossal damage done by cretins in the name of bold initiative, Pshaw! Education on these fellows seems to fit the proverb: ‘casting pearls before swine’.

(This is a modified version of an earlier post-An Apocryphal Story published in my blog 2012)

benny

 

 

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