Natural Selections

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About
Natural Selections

On Natural Selections each week, join a short conversation on the natural world. Topics range from evolutionary biology to geology and wildlife, from climate science to animal and human behavior.

Ellen Rocco
The program is hosted by NCPR news director Martha Foley joined by naturalist Dr. Curt Stager of Paul Smith's College.

Support for Natural Selections is provided by the Glenn and Carol Pearsall Adirondack Foundation, dedicated to improving the quality of life for year-round residents of the Adirondack Park, and by Paul Smith's, the College of the Adirondacks.

New Book: Deep Future

"The course we take in the coming decades will affect not just the next hundred years, but the next hundred thousand years of life on this planet." --Curt Stager

Deep Future
In bookstores now

Order at: Amazon | Borders
Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | Powell's Books
And please remember your local independent booksellers. Find one near you.

 

Nature features

Curt Stager on On Point

Curt StagerListen to Dr. Curt Stager as the guest on On Point, 3/24/11, talking about his new book, Deep Future: the Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth.

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Natural History
Maybe it was messier than we thought, some scientists now say. Big brains, long legs and long childhoods may have evolved piecemeal in different spots, in response to frequent swings in climate.
 
Passenger pigeons used to be the most abundant bird in North America. But hunters drove them to extinction, and by 1914, only one was left. A century later, that pigeon, named Martha, is on exhibit.
 
This bird likes livers, kidneys, entrails — anything it can pluck that's freshly dead. But what if you served it ... a painting?
 
Museums are filled with dead insects, birds, fish, mammals and reptiles meticulously gathered worldwide in the name of scientific discovery. But some researchers now say scientists should think twice.
 
The Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., got its new <em>T. rex</em> just in time to close its fossil hall for five years of renovations — longer than some dinosaur fans have even been alive.
 
more science news from NPR

Natural Selections with hosts Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager airs Thursday mornings during The Eight O'Clock Hour.

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 Recent Natural Selections programs
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Lamprey control aims at eradicating them in the larva stage (in hand) before they grow into toothy adults (inset) Photo: Sarah Harris
Lamprey control aims at eradicating them in the larva stage (in hand) before they grow into toothy adults (inset) Photo: Sarah Harris

Natural Selections: Lampreys

Lampreys - are they fish or eel? Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager talk about this jawless fish with a head full of teeth and a sucking mouth.  Go to full article

The return of the black fly

This pest of the northern spring can travel up to twenty miles on the wind. How to get away? Dress in yellow, some suggest, or tie a dragonfly to your hat. Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager consult.  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/21585925@N07/3988403205/">Parry</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: Parry, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

The way we understand animals is human-centric

Martha Foley and Dr. Curt Stager talk about how we understand animal behavior and the natural world through the human perspective.  Go to full article
Martha and Curt at a recent Natural Selections call-in. Photo: Dale Hobson
Martha and Curt at a recent Natural Selections call-in. Photo: Dale Hobson

Listen: Natural Selections climate change call-in

Climate change is in the news, from the recent update by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and its detailed report on national and local impacts, to the news of the melting Antarctic ice sheet.

Dr. Curt Stager, author of "Deep Future: the Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth," joins Martha Foley for a special Natural Selections call-in on climate change and other topics.  Go to full article
Octopus vulgaris. Photo: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Octopus2.jpg">Albert Kok</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Octopus vulgaris. Photo: Albert Kok, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Octopuses are amazingly smart, and just amazing

The octopus has held a fascination for people throughout the ages. Martha Foley describes a surfside encounter with beauty, and Dr. Curt Stager talks about the unusual qualities of this shelless mollusk, from its discernible intelligence to its oddball but efficient anatomy.  Go to full article
A kangaroo "joey" has a long way to go before it gets to the cute stage. It begins as a tiny, fragile, hairless newborn in its mother's pouch. Photos: Mother and joey, <a href="https://farm3.staticflickr.com/2215/2179798100_85f711ebfc_o_d.jpg">Subhash Chandra</a>; Newborn joey in pouch: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Joey_in_pouch.jpg">Geoff Shaw</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
A kangaroo "joey" has a long way to go before it gets to the cute stage. It begins as a tiny, fragile, hairless newborn in its mother's pouch. Photos: Mother and joey, Subhash Chandra; Newborn joey in pouch: Geoff Shaw, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

The early life of kangaroos

Kangaroos are marsupials, mammals who have a protective pouch in which they raise their young until they are developed enough to endure conditions in the outside world. What most people might not know is that the birth of kangaroos in a pouch is in some ways more complex than the birth and development of other mammals.

Martha Foley talks with Dr. Curt Stager about kangaroos and their young, known as joeys.  Go to full article
Eastern hognose snake (<em>Heterodon platyrhinos</em>). Photo: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Heterodon_platirhinos_head.jpg">Dawson</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Eastern hognose snake (Heterodon platyrhinos). Photo: Dawson, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Our mildly venomous neighbor, the Hognose snake

The Eastern hognose snake is better known by its nickname, puff adder, derived from its aggressive display when disturbed. Its bite is mildly venomous, capable of sedating small prey, such as toads. Martha Foley and Curt Stager discuss this common northeastern reptile.  Go to full article
A male bumblebee about to alight on an alumroot. Photo: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bumblebee_heuchera.jpg">Sjjubs</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
A male bumblebee about to alight on an alumroot. Photo: Sjjubs, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

How bumblebees keep warm

Bees need to be warm in order to fly. That's usually not a problem, since it takes millions of round trips to flowers to make a pound of honey. But should they fall idle long enough to cool down, bees fire up their wing muscles by shivering. Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley, with more about bees.  Go to full article
Barred owl in the rain. Archive Photo of the Day 12/19/12: Butch Bramhall, Croghan, NY
Barred owl in the rain. Archive Photo of the Day 12/19/12: Butch Bramhall, Croghan, NY

Natural Selections: Barred Owl

The barred owl is often heard but seldom seen. Dr. Curt Stager and Martha Foley discuss the habits of this nocturnal hunter, and Curt demonstrates his own highly-regarded version of its distinctive call.  Go to full article
Estimated change in annual mean sea surface pH between the 1700s and the 1990s. Graphic: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:WOA05_GLODAP_del_pH_AYool.png">Plumbago</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Estimated change in annual mean sea surface pH between the 1700s and the 1990s. Graphic: Plumbago, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Natural Selections: How rising CO2 levels are changing our oceans

Most of the concern about carbon dioxide is focused on the quantity in the atmosphere and its effect on climate. But rising CO2 levels in the oceans can have equally significant effects on the ecosystems of the seas. Martha Foley and Curt Stager discuss the changing aquasphere.  Go to full article

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