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December

Gary Lantz University of North Texas Press PDF

206�

Morning Comes to Elk MouNtain

parents provide care throughout. They’ve been known to scoop

Junior up in their stout mandibles and move to a safer sanctuary.

Overall, Ma and Pa Bess beetle appear to meet the criteria of the region’s often espoused family values.

Bess beetles head for the shelter of a rotting log when winter descends with a more virulent bite, but for now there’s insect business to attend to here in the vicinity of the buffalo trail. Yet other than traffic here on the beetle interstate, there’s not much happening on this chilly gray morning that portends more of the same.

When the sun finally decides to shine about midday, a buffalo bull walks out of the oak grove windbreak and soon slumbers in the open, eager to soak up some winter rays. The massive animal is so relaxed that he doesn’t even open his eyes when I amble past on my way back to the trailhead.

Six days later, the weather is 30 degrees warmer and sunny, yet with a strong north wind. It seems to be the sort of winter day that invigorates canyon wrens, or at least the one I’ve disturbed that keeps up a scolding chatter from a dead post oak tree.

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3 MAMMALIAN DISTRIBUTION

David M. Armstrong University Press of Colorado ePub

The Ecological Context—Mammals are not distributed at random over the Earth. On a broad scale, long-term evolutionary sequences and geologic accidents determine which species occur where. More locally, the most important factor in mammalian distribution is the character of the vegetation. Vegetation provides mammals with cover and food (whether directly or indirectly). The best predictor of the presence or absence of a species at a particular locality is the character of the local plant community. Thus, description of mammalian habitats in Rocky Mountain National Park (as indicated in Table 2) is important. Within the local species population, distribution of mammals is nonrandom also. The area covered by an individual in its daily round of activity is called its “home range.” The home range differs in size from a fraction of a hectare for some small mammals, such as shrews and some rodents, to many square kilometers for some large carnivores, such as mountain lions and grizzly bears.

A part of the home range may be defended against other members of the species. The defended area is termed a “territory.” Two basic kinds of territories are commonly observed: the breeding territory and the foraging territory. Territoriality results in dispersion of individuals over available habitat. Consequently, the resources of the ecosystem are not overtaxed by an over-concentrated population. In Rocky Mountain National Park, where some populations may have access to artificially great resources (campgrounds, picnic areas, and scenic viewpoints, for example), unnatural concentrations of animals may congregate. Under such circumstances normal territorial behavior may break down.

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Insensitivity?

Ron Tatum University of North Texas Press ePub

Insensitivity?

Some customers are more insensitive than others. One particular gentleman called for an appointment for two shoeings. When I asked how the horses behaved, he said, “Well, you can pick up their feet.” That should have been a gigantic red flag to me, but being short of cash, I said I would come out there.

I drive for an hour and a half through some delightful woods and hills and arrive right on time. The ranch is large and well kept. There is a huge barn and a lot of tractors and other farm machinery around the barn and the house. A trampoline is beside the barn. My only greeters, however, are a serious-looking Bull Mastiff who is not wagging his tail, and three barefoot children whose ages turn out to be two, four, and six, who have been jumping on the unsupervised trampoline. Two girls and an older boy. No adults in sight. I do not get out of the truck. The three children and the dog stare at me. I’m obviously some kind of novelty. I wait. Our conversation doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, and the dog has not taken his eyes off of me. I finally ask the boy to go get his mother. He gives it some thought, and finally wanders off in the direction of the house. Eventually, his mother comes back with him, and all four of them and the dog stare at me. The mother turns out to be the daughter of the man who called me, but she knows nothing about any of this. She has no idea who I am or where her father is. I tell her I’m the shoer.

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5. Austin

George Lambert Bristol Texas A&M University Press ePub

CHAPTER 5

Austin

For a twelve-year-old, Austin seemed to have everything: more than a few movie theaters—maybe a dozen, including drive-ins; public parks all over town, capped by Barton Springs, a spring-fed, cold-water gem in the middle of hot Texas; a great university with a then-not-so-great football team; University Junior High School (UJH) at the edge of the college campus; and Baptist churches. Now we attended the University Baptist Church where the great Dr. Blake Smith held forth on Sundays. I was baptized in Weatherford, but I learned true Christianity listening to that thoughtful giant of a man. Not least, politics was everywhere, because Austin was the state capital. Despite my regrets leaving Weatherford, Austin would come to be my home.

We moved in the heat of August. We still didn’t have a car. Our first house was on Seventeenth Street near UJH and Allen Junior High, where Mom was to be the new librarian. As always, Mom made friends quickly and the friends took us places. But Austin in 1952 was a town where you didn’t really need a car. It was bike accessible in almost any direction. And we could walk most places: to school, downtown, church, and swimming pools. Barton Springs was a bit farther—a two-bus-ride adventure. But if we were short of change (and we usually were), we could bike there in less than an hour.

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10 Gaining Ground: The Evolution of Terrestriality

Jennifer A. Clack Indiana University Press ePub

10.1. Occipital views of tetrapods. (A) The embolomere Pholiderpeton. (B) The seymouriamorph Seymouria. (C) The temnospondyl Eryops. (D) The early amniote Paleothyris. Opisthotic/supraoccipital, dark shading; basioccipital, medium shading; exoccipital, light shading.

Steps toward Terrestriality

This extended survey of the anatomy and lifestyles of tetrapods throughout the Paleozoic has explored the evidence and speculation bearing on the advent of tetrapods onto land. This final chapter now goes on to consider the evolution of several key aspects of their biology and how they became truly adapted to terrestriality. The solutions that these early tetrapods arrived at laid the foundations for terrestrial living in a huge group of vertebrates that have ultimately become a highly conspicuous part of the fauna of the planet. How these changes were achieved over that time has influenced the anatomy, morphology, and evolutionary pathways of all subsequent tetrapods and is still reflected in our own anatomy.

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