Trees' wondrous ways of turning over a new leaf

| Jul 18, 2002

Trees' wondrous ways of turning over a new leaf

Now, at the height of summer, when the fresh green of the spring leaves has darkened, I will start this week’s column with a question: “Why is it that northern Japan’s Mongolian oak and Europe’s common beech retain their rustling brown leaves all winter, ...

The ants' workaday world is wherever you look

| Jun 20, 2002

The ants' workaday world is wherever you look

Despite the name, I didn’t see any ants in Antarctica, though it’s the only place I’ve been that I haven’t seen any. Everywhere else, from Alaska to Australia, from Norway to New Zealand, I have encountered them. Ants are an extraordinarily numerous and successful ...

Don't go making a monkey of yourself, man

| Jun 6, 2002

Don't go making a monkey of yourself, man

Monkey, primate, ape; the terms slip so easily off the tongue, but just what do they mean, and how do they differ? And what does it mean to talk of New World and Old World monkeys? Scientists and naturalists love terminology and taxonomy; somehow ...

Puzzling over monkeys' many ways of life

| May 30, 2002

Puzzling over monkeys' many ways of life

It was a faint and far-off sound, barely audible, like the distant rumbling of thunder. Something about it triggered memories, and I asked skipper Mike to cut our outboard motor. Even with the engine off and my hands cupped behind my ears, head turning ...

May 19, 2002

What the label doesn't say

Scandals about deception in product labeling have been in the news of late, with both the expiry dates and the origins of dairy and meat products called into question. While not as big a news item, the labeling standards for whale meat take deception ...

Whaling: A live issue over death

May 19, 2002

Whaling: A live issue over death

Whales dolphins and porpoises, the aquatic mammals collectively called cetaceans, number less than 80 species, or fewer than 2 percent of all mammals. They are, however, probably the most talked about and written about of all wild animals — despite being some of the ...

May 19, 2002

How deep does our knowledge go?

The group of animals we call cetaceans represent but two-thirds of the orders of “whales” that have ever existed. Modern whales belong to the orders Mysticeti (baleen whales) and Odontoceti (toothed whales, dolphins and porpoises), however, there used to be a third order, the ...

20 years of writing on the wild side

| May 2, 2002

20 years of writing on the wild side

The biological exuberance of the equatorial region is staggering to behold. Walking through a temperate forest (as one might find in many areas of northern Japan, the northern United States or across much of central Europe), it is commonplace to have a clear view ...