January 15, 2010

Animal Nerd Fest: Actual Nerd Edition

So just where does an animal nerd go to nerd-out? People ask me this all the time. In true nerd fashion, I like to keep my sources to myself and hoard knowledge, facts, and animal attack pics. You know just incase life really does end in an epic, Pokemon-style battle of who knows more crazy facts about unusual creatures. I don't want to call out the Cuban Solenodon for an unsuspected venomous attack by a mammal (right?) only to be countered with anaphylaxis by one of you, dear readers, who I've foolishly informed of the inner elbow secretions of the Slow Loris.


With the Cuban Solenodon I will destroy you!

So it is with some trepidation that I offer sources for animal nerding out...

Arkive: Images of Life on Earth has smartly identified wildlife films and photos as "vital weapons in the battle to savethe world's endangered plants and animals from the brink of extinction." Arkive seeks to build the ultimate endangered species multimedia collection as a way to raise awareness of and concern for biodiversity. Here you can easily search for pics and vids of endangered species without the wacky or incorrect stuff that may come up in a google search and you will find some glorious images. If I haven't convinced you to check out Arkive I bet Sir David Attenborough, every animal-nerd's hero, will.

A new initiative conceived of by Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson, the Encyclopedia of Life, seeks to create a page for each of the 1.8 million documented species on planet Earth. No small task as you can imagine. To this end they are looking for help. If you have images, knowledge, or videos you'd like to contribute to their cause see here for ways you can help to build the Encyclopedia of Life including contributing images to their Flickr Pool. If you'd simply like to nerd out- both the EOL site and their Flickr page will provide you hours of learning.


Horsfield’s tarsier (clearly provides some type of mesmerize-you-with-my-giant-eyeballs attack)

My most favorite source of all? It would also be the most valuable in that epic battle I mentioned earlier. I hate to aid in the demystification of the unusual, but if I were someone looking for some faces only a mother could love I might head to EDGE of Existence. EDGE = Evolutionary Distinct and Globally Endangered. (AKA weird guys) I love the concept behind this organization, their blogs, even their logo is fantastic. Can I please get that echidna on a t-shirt?

From EDGE's site:
Using a scientific framework to identify the world’s mostEvolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered (EDGE) species, theEDGE of Existence programme highlights and protects some of theweirdest and most wonderful species on the planet. EDGE species havefew close relatives on the tree of life and are often extremely unusualin the way they look, live and behave, as well as in their geneticmake-up. They represent a unique and irreplaceable part of the world’snatural heritage, yet an alarming proportion are currently slidingsilently towards extinction unnoticed.

The EDGE blog has posts from EDGE fellows all over the globe, checking in with field updates on their specific species. For extra nerd credit you can even read more about the science behind indentifying EDGE species.

What are your favorite sources for animal pictures and info?

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