Fab Five: Week 3 Answers

Week Commencing 06/04/2020

Species 1: Atlantic salmon

1.What do I eat?

I eat insects, invertebrates and plankton when I am young

2. What do you think I find on my journey to the sea and back?

I swim out to the Atlantic into rich feeding grounds. I primarily feed on fish such as capelin, herring and sand eel.

3. How large do I get?

I can grow up to 28-30 inches after two years at sea.

Species 2: African elephant

1.How big do I grow up to?

I can grow up to 8-13 feet from shoulder to toe!

2. Why do I need to cover myself in mud and dust (apart from it being fun!)?  

I cover myself in mud as it acts as a natural sun cream and stops me from getting burnt

3. What is the name of a female elephant that leads a group of elephants?

She is called a Matriarch

Species 3: Tardigrade

1.How big am I?

I range from 0.3 to 0.55 mm in length, although the largest species may reach 1.2mm

2. Where do I live?

I can be found in almost everywhere on earth. I am often found on lichens and mosses because that’s where I like the most

3. What do I like to eat?

I feed on plant and animal cells. Some of us are known to eat entire live organisms (microbes of course) such as rotifers.

Species 4: Velociraptor

1.What did I eat?

I was a carnivore that hunted and scavenged for food. I spent a lot of time eating small things which included reptiles, amphibians, insects, small dinosaurs and mammals

2. When did I live on the earth?

Fossils of me have been found in the Gobi Desert

3. Where was my first fossil found?

My first fossil was found in Mongolia in 1924!

Species 5: Indian Hornbill

1.What do I eat?

I love to eat fruit! My diet mainly consists of fruit, insects and small mammals  

2. Which countries do I live in?

I can be found in the forest of India, Bhutan, Mainland Southeast Asia, Sumatra and North eastern region of India!

3. How big can I grow?

I grow up to 95-120cm!

Orca

“Colour me in so I can swim!

Happy #MarineMonday everyone! I am an Orca, but often referred to as a Killer Whale. I am the largest of the dolphins and one of the world’s most powerful predators. I send sound waves that travel underwater which is known as echolocation which I use for communicating to my friends and hunting. I have some questions for you:

  1. What do I eat?
  2. Where do I live?
  3. How large do I get?”

Deer

It is finally Friday, and we would like to celebrate our followers by taking species requests on #FollowerFriday. Today’s public choice is a deer! 

“Colour me in so I can graze!

Happy Friday everyone. I am a deer and I am one of more than 40 species that can be found in most parts of the world. I have a great pair of antlers which shed and regrow every year. I am a male as I have these wonderful antlers but my female friend do not. I have some questions for you:

  1. What do I eat?
  2. What do I use my antlers for?
  3. How big can I grow to?”

Dodo

It’s #ThrowbackThursday and we would like to meet our old friend who just to live on Earth.

“Colour me in to preserve me!

Hello, I am a Dodo and I used to live on a lovely island. I am a large, chubby bird that used to live on the ground where I built my nests, as there were not natural predators here during the time I was around. Even though I had wings, I was unable to fly as they were too small to support my round body! I have some questions for you:

  1. What did I eat?
  2. What Island did I live on?
  3. When did I go extinct?”

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

Happy hump day everyone! Today is #WeirdWildlifeWednesday and we would like you to meet our strange friend.

“Colour me in so I can carry fly!

Am I a moth or a bird? I am in fact a hummingbird hawkmoth, and I am a moth that looks like a hummingbird. I can fly up to 12 miles an hour with my very fast moving wings, and my wings can flap up to 70 times per second! I have some questions for you:

  1. How big is my wingspan?
  2. Where do I live?
  3. What do I like to eat?”

Leopard

Today is #TerrestrialTuesday! Terrestrial simply means anything that lives on land, so today we would like you to meet our big cat friend.

“Colour me in so I can find some food!

“Happy Tuesday everyone! I am a leopard, and I am a very dangerous carnivore. I can be really fast when I want to be, I can run up to 31 miles per hour when I hunt my prey. I am also surprisingly springy as I can leap 6 metres forward through the air. When I am not active, I like to spend my time chilling up in trees. I have some questions for you:

  1. Am I diurnal or nocturnal?
  2. Where do I live?
  3. Do I like spending time on my own or in group?”

Manatee

“Colour me in so I can swim!”

Happy #MarineMonday everyone! I am a Manatee and I am a gentle, slow moving mammal and often known as a ‘sea cow’. My body is described as being ‘egg-shaped’ and I have large wide tails that are actually very strong. My closest relative is actually an elephant! I have some questions for you:

  1. What do I eat?
  2. Where do I live?
  3. How large do I get?”

Indian Hornbill

It is finally Friday, and we would like to celebrate our followers by taking species requests on #FollowerFriday. Today’s public choice is a hornbill!

“Colour me in so I can fly!

Happy Friday everyone. I am a Great Hornbill, also known as great Indian Hornbill. I have a very impressive bill which I use to show how great I am to attract females. I can live very long in the wild, some of my friends lived up to 50 years! I have some questions for you:

  1. What do I eat?
  2. Which countries do I live in?
  3. How big can I grow?”

Velociraptor

It’s #ThrowbackThursday and we would like to meet our old friend who just to live on Earth.

“Colour me in to preserve me!

Hello, I am a Velociraptor and I am a dinosaur! People think I am a larger than a human (because I am famous in the film Jurassic Park) however, I was around the size of a turkey! I could run very fast on my two feet, up to 40 miles per hour! I have some questions for you:

  1. What did I eat?
  2. When did I live on the earth?
  3. Where was my first fossil found?”
Study reveals tropical rainforests covered much of Antarctica 90 million years ago, during time of the Dinosaurs

Study reveals tropical rainforests covered much of Antarctica 90 million years ago, during time of the Dinosaurs

Antarctica is arguably one of the most barren, extreme environments on the planet, with only one permanent terrestrial resident – the Emperor penguin. However, wind the clock back 90 million years, and the continent was far from a frozen wasteland. New evidence has suggested that this icy continent was largely covered in tropical swamp forest, during the time of the Dinosaurs.


The cretaceous period, which spanned from approximately 145 to 66 million years ago, was a very warm period in earth’s history, with an almost worldwide greenhouse climate, and an abundance of vegetation and tropical forests. Antarctica at this time was mostly covered in a swampy, tropical forest and there were no glaciers at the south pole.

An artist’s impression of the ancient swamp forests of Antarctica (© James McKay)


Scientists at the Alfred Wegener institute, Germany, made this discovery by analysing sediment cores drilled from the seafloor in West Antarctica. These cores show a glimpse of the past environment in Antarctica, with sediments nearer to the bottom of the core representing older geological time. At three metres down on the core, representing the late cretaceous period, the sediment composition changed drastically, composed mainly of a coal-like material, soil, roots and pollen. The team identified over 65 types of plant material, indicating the presence of an ancient conifer forest.

The ancient Antarctic forests would have been dominated by cycad plants such as this one (© J. Dazley)


So, what exactly lived in these forests? The forests would have likely been very similar in plant structure to some of the forests in modern-day New Zealand, dominated by towering tree ferns, cycads and coniferous trees. At this time in history, flowering plants had only recently evolved so were likely rare in these forests. Biogeochemical evidence from the sediment cores also revealed that microscopic photosynthetic life such as algae and cyanobacteria were common in warm lakes and rivers.

Australovenator was one of several carnivorous dinosaurs to roam prehistoric Antarctica (© L. Xing)


These forests were dominated by a variety of dinosaur species, which filled many of the ecological roles of forest ecosystems today. There were giant herbivorous dinosaurs such as the long necked Austrosaurus, and Muttaburrasaurus, a close relative of the Iguanadon, whose remains are commonly found on the Isle of Wight. There were also carnivorous dinosaurs such as Cryolophosaurus and Australovenator, and the tiny herbivorous Leaellynasaura, which likely lived in small groups in the forest. Primitive mammals shared the forests with the dinosaurs; they were furry, egg laying species which were likely similar to modern echidnas and platypus. It is also known that the river networks around these forests were home to a giant salamander-like amphibian called Koolasuchus, belonging to an ancient lineage of animals over 250 million years old.

The giant amphibian Koolasuchus was one of the last surviving of it’s kind, and probably fed on smaller dinosaurs (© BBC)


The discovery of these polar forests is not only an exciting advance for palaeontology, but also shows us how key carbon dioxide levels are in the shaping of an environment. It is known that the tropical climate during the cretaceous period could have only been possible if carbon dioxide levels were much higher than today, so this discovery could give an insight into the future environmental implications of increased carbon dioxide levels in the near future.