Richtersveld National Park

Originally posted on roncorylus:

Our visit to the Richtersveld National Park, close to the Namibian border brought back memories of our time in the Sperrgebied, when I was a geologist at Namdeb’s operations at Oranjemund.  We had never, however, visited this particular area and it was a real eye-opener in terms of its ruggedness and beauty.  Luckily we had Graham Williamson’s excellent book with us and it helped us to gain an understanding of the natural history of the area.  The roads were rough and ready, so only 4X4 vehicles are allowed.  Once in the park, one sees few other people and we were lucky to be completely isolated for much of our time.  The solitude and grandeur of the place soon brings one to realise how insignificant we are.

Below are some images which attempt to portray a bit of what we experienced.

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Not All Ferns Look Like Ferns (botany for paleoartists part I)

Originally posted on Humming Dinosaurs and Nature's Other Small Wonders:

7080457021_8385cb3a1d_zI was recently (and rather persistently) informed that paleoartists might find this sort of articles useful: easily approachable pieces about botany as relevant to paleoart. Most paleoartists are, understandably, primarily interested in prehistoric animals. Unfortunately animals don’t often live on lifeless deserts, so depicting vegetation tends to be essential part of the trade.

Full reconstructions of prehistoric plants or even photographs of plant fossils are often frustratingly hard to find, resulting in quite stereotypical vegetation in much of paleoart. Some ginkgoes, some monkey puzzle trees, cycads that almost always tend to look like Cycas revoluta. And, of course, ferns.

But not all ferns have the nondescript green, bipinnate leaves like the ones we all think of when hearing the word ‘fern’. Paleoartists have a lot more choice than that, even when looking just at the modern diversity. Before the onslaught of hyper-diverse, overly competitive flowering plants and drying climates…

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New York Botanical Garden

Originally posted on livebreathecolor:

Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their Labor Day! I wanted to share with you my Labor Day excursion to the New York Botanical Gardens. First, just let me say what a beautifully enchanted place. As soon as you walk in you smell nothing but fresh, clean air and are welcomed by greenery where every your eye travels. This landmark has been around for over 120 years and supports over one million living plant collections on 250 acres of land.

The New York Botanical Garden is truly a gem and offers a great escape from the busy New York City streets. Coming here allows you to slow down and decompress taking in only beauty. This place is indeed a treat and on my top for recommendations for things to do in NYC. Here are just a few pictures of the beauties I spotted on my visit to this majestic place.

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Botanical Gardens

Originally posted on Nature Cove:

I live within a reasonable distance of at least 4 botanical gardens that have greenhouses. Those are a welcome treat in the winter when everything gets cold, and dreary, to step into a greenhouse where it is warm and steamy, and gaze upon some tropical flowers.

One of the closer ones almost always has orchids in bloom. It’s where I was first introduced, and consequently smitten with Coelogyne pandurata.

Coelogyne pandurata

Coelogyne pandurata

They have lots of other pretty orchids, but they really aren’t my specialty. Here are some gratuitous pics anyways:

This one looks like a vulture to me.

This one looks like a vulture to me.

Failed utterly to take a pic of the label so I would know what this one was.

Failed utterly to take a pic of the label so I would know what this one was.

This one was growing high up in a tree.

This one was growing high up in a tree.

I also got to see the batflower in bloom. Every other time I have gone, I have just missed it:

Bat flower - Tacca integrifolia Bat…

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From Astrobiology: “Exceptionally well preserved insect fossils from the Rhône Valley”

Originally posted on Science Springs:

Astrobiology Magazine

Astrobiology Magazine

Sep 3, 2014
No Writer Credit

First fossil insect discoveries in this area comprise the oldest water treader and traces of activities in sediment and on plants

This is a fossilized aquatic bug from the Orbagnoux outcrop of the Rhone valey: Gallomesovelia grioti (scale bar 1 mm). Credit: Nel Andre

In Bavaria, the Tithonian Konservat-Lagerstätte of lithographic limestone is well known as a result of numerous discoveries of emblematic fossils from that area (for example, Archaeopteryx).

Archaeopteryx Temporal range: Late Jurassic, 150.8–148.5Ma The Berlin specimen (A. siemensii)

Now, for the first time, researchers have found fossil insects in the French equivalent of these outcrops – discoveries which include a new species representing the oldest known water treader.

Despite the abundance of fossils in the equivalent Bavarian outcrops, fewer fossils have been obtained from the Late Kimmeridgian equivalents of these rocks in the departments of Ain and Rhône…

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Flowering plants after dinosaur extinction

Originally posted on Dear Kitty. Some blog:

This video is called Angiosperm (flowering plant) Life Cycle.

From in the USA:

Flowering Plants Appeared in Forest Canopies Just a Few Million Years After Dinosaurs Went Extinct

A new study gives scientists some more insight into the weird history of flowering plants

By Mary Beth Griggs

Taking a minute to smell the flowers isn’t that hard nowadays, but angiosperms (a.k.a. flowering plants) weren’t always as ubiquitous as they are now. They appeared rather suddenly in the fossil record, definitively showing up around 132 million years ago. Their sudden appearance has puzzled scientists from Darwin on to the present day, and while today we understand a bit more about how they diversified, scientists are still learning new things about their history.

In a new study published in Geology, scientists think that they’ve figured out another piece of the angiosperm puzzle. Researchers looked at the patterns…

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