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4. Rhino Roots

Donald R. Prothero Indiana University Press ePub

Before we look at the gigantic indricotheres in greater detail, we need to place them in the context of the evolution of the various types of rhinos (both extinct and surviving). Where did indricotheres come from? What were their closest relatives? What features allows us call these huge creatures without horns rhinoceroses?

The last question is the first misconception that we need to clarify. Horns occur in all five living species of fossil rhino, but they are only rarely found in a few lineages of fossil rhinos. This comes as a shock to most people who think “horn equals rhino” when they see one in the zoo or on TV and never notice the many other features that make rhinos distinct. What is up with that horn, anyway?

A rhino horn is not like that of a cow or sheep or antelope. Those creatures (the ruminants) have a horn made of a solid bony core surrounded by a sheath made from the same protein (keratin) found in your fingernails and hair. Nor are rhino horns like the ossicones of giraffes (which are solid bone with only a fleshy covering), nor like the antlers of deer (which are solid bone, but are grown and shed each year). A rhinoceros “horn” is actually made of dense fibers of hair glued together—there is no true bone within it at all. Thus, it grows throughout the rhino’s life as does your hair or fingernails and breaks and wears down and abrades quite easily. Because it has no bone inside it, only perishable keratin, we almost never find the horn preserved on fossil rhinos. (The exceptions are the few examples of mummified woolly rhinos, which are preserved not only with complete horns, but even stomach contents, skin, and fur.) Instead, we must infer the size and shape of the horn from the roughened area on the top of the skull (nose or forehead or both). This indicates the point where the hairs of the horn glued in to the skull. We can see this pattern quite clearly on both living rhinos and also the extinct rhinos that had horns. Because the size of roughened area indicates where a horn was once present, we are pretty sure that most extinct rhinos had no horn whatsoever. Since the horn is not a crucial feature in recognizing a rhino, we must look at other parts of the anatomy.

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Part 3: The Clades of Dinosaurs

Art Consultant Edited by M Bob Walters Indiana University Press ePub

J. Michael Parrish

Most readers will be familiar with groups such as dinosaurs, pterosaurs, and crocodiles, but the larger group to which all of these organisms belong, the Archosauria, is more obscure. Archosauria was initially erected by Cope (1869) to include dinosaurs, crocodilians, and all their presumed common ancestors. It has been slightly redefined by modern systematists to include the last common ancestor of the two extant groups of archosaurs–the crocodilians and the birds–and all of the descendants of that common ancestor. This is the sense in which I will use the name here.

The amniotes (the evolutionary group containing reptiles, mammals, and birds) have historically been differentiated on the basis of the arrangement of openings in the cheek region of the skull behind the orbit (Fig. 17.1). The pattern that is seen in fishes and amphibians, and that is primitive for the amniotes, is a solid cheek, without any openings. This pattern, termed anapsid, is also seen in early amniotes like captorhinids and pariesaurs, and is retained today in turtles, although some studies suggest that turtles may have acquired this condition secondarily (DeBraga and Rieppel 1997).

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7. Vulnerability of Soil Carbon Reservoirs in the Midwest to Climate Change

Sara C Pryor Indiana University Press ePub


Rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations are the main cause of recent global warming (IPCC 2007). The atmospheric CO2 increase depends on its carbon exchange with oceans and the land that absorbs about half of anthropogenic emission into the atmosphere (Broecker et al. 1979). Soil carbon is the largest terrestrial pool, and its trends directly affect atmospheric CO2 level. Each year the earth’s terrestrial land uptakes about 60 Gt carbon through photosynthesis and at the same time it loses a similar amount of carbon by respiration (Schlesinger and Andrews 2000). Both photosynthesis and respiration are highly sensitive to temperature, precipitation, and other climate variables. The net balance between these two large opposite terms is strongly affected by climate change and is difficult to quantify accurately. Although estimates based on different techniques differ, a range of analyses indicate that North American ecosystems are significant carbon sinks and play a disproportionate role in the global carbon budget. Using an inverse modeling technique, Fan et al. (1998) estimated that the continental U.S. net carbon (C) sink in the early 1900s was 0.81 gigatonne-C per year (Gt-C yr−1) (1.7 Gt-C yr−1 for all North America), whereas Schimel et al. (2000) and Potter & Klooster (1999) used biogeochemical models and obtained a value of about 0.2 Gt-C yr−1 over the United States. Forest inventory data have indicated that the North American forest ecosystem sequestration rate is 0.08–0.28 Gt-C yr−1. Pacala et al. (2001) reconciled these somewhat divergent results by suggesting that the conterminous U.S. carbon sink is 0.30–0.58 Gt-C yr−1 (Bachelet et al. 2004). To provide a context for these fluxes it is worth recalling that current anthropogenic CO2 emissions are ~ 9 Gt-C yr−1, about one-third of which is absorbed by terrestrial ecosystems (IPCC 2007).

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4 Green Mosques

Abdul-Matin, Ibrahim Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The mosque is the center of religious and community life for Muslims. Around the globe, the mosque is primarily where people go to pray, but mosques also serve other functions as well. They are used as community centers where Muslims get married, gather after the sun sets in the holy month of Ramadan to end the daily fasting with a communal meal, and hold classes for youth—what some might call “Sunday school.” Given the centrality of the mosque in Muslim life, it is the perfect place to start promoting a Green Deen.

Remember, living a Green Deen means opening your heart to the possibility of understanding the Oneness of God and His creation (tawhid); seeing the signs of God (ayat) everywhere; being a steward of the Earth (khalifah); honoring the trust we have from God to be a protector of the planet (amana); moving toward justice (adl); and living in balance with nature (mizan).

A Green Deen starts with the greening of your local mosque. Mosques are buildings, and buildings are where we use the most energy and emit the most greenhouse gases. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, buildings use 39 percent of the energy and 74 percent of the electricity consumed each year in the United States.1 In New York City alone, buildings are responsible for nearly 80 percent of the city’s “carbon footprint,” or its total amount of greenhouse gas emissions.2

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6 Bodies of Naples: Stories, Matter, and the Landscapes of Porosity

Serenella Iovino Indiana University Press ePub

Serenella Iovino

IN THE HEART of the city of Naples there is a place with a curious name: Largo Corpo di Napoli. This little square opens up like an oyster at a point where the decumani, the Greek main streets, become a tangle of narrow medieval lanes and heavy gray-and-white buildings. Like an oyster, this square has a pearl: an ancient statue of the Nile, popularly known as Corpo di Napoli, the body of Naples. The story of this statue is peculiar. Dating back to the second or third century, when it was erected to mark the presence of an Egyptian colony in the city, the statue disappeared for a long time and was rediscovered in the twelfth century. Its head was missing, and the presence of children lying at its breasts led people to believe that it represented Parthenope, the virgin nymph to whom the foundation of the city is mythically attributed. In 1657 the statue was restored, and a more suitable male head made it clear that the reclining figure symbolized the Egyptian river and the children personifications of its tributaries. In spite of evidence and philology, however, for the people the sculpture remained the symbol of their city’s body. In this body, as it sometimes happens in local rituals and legends, the boundaries of gender roles, like those of matter and spirit, present and past, are blurred and shifting.

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