Scientists confirmed the first documented sightings of a black panther in Africa in nearly 100 years. A team from the Institute for Conservation Research of the San Diego Zoo Global and the Loisaba Conservancy in Kenya confirmed the existence of black leopards — as the animals are also known — in Laikipia County, an area north of Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. “It is certain black panthers have been there all along, but good footage that could confirm it has always been absent until now,” said biologist Nicholas Pilfold. “Only about 11 percent of leopards globally are black. But black panthers in Africa are extremely rare.” A few sightings have been reported in Africa, but, until now, only one had been confirmed, in Ethiopia in 1909.
Namibia, Brazil once smashed together
Namibia is famed for its deserts, but around 300 million years ago the area was frozen and located near the South Pole, smooshed against what is now South America within the emerging Pangea supercontinent.
It was a superhighway for fast-moving ice, as glacial fragments slipped away from a colossal ice cap in Africa, and carved signatures in the underlying rock as they sped into what is now Brazil. The countries are now separated by 3,500 miles of Atlantic Ocean. But researchers reported in PLoS One that they had pieced together a picture of this ancient flow of ice between the two landmasses. The key piece of evidence came in the form of lacerated Namibian hills formed long ago by the migration of glaciers and icy rivers. It is the first time these ice-formed sculptures have been described in southern Africa.
Ancient Namibia resembled the upstream portion of an enormous ice flow. Lauren Knight, a glacial geomorphologist, said this ancient ice stream could be compared to those found today in Antarctica and Greenland. Graham Andrews of West Virginia University and a study author, said, “These superhighways of ice are how ice caps actually die.”
Stephen King, wife give to genealogy
The master of the American horror novel has donated $1.25 million to the masters of American genealogical research. Stephen King and his wife, Tabitha, made the gift through their foundation to the New England Historic Genealogical Society, the nation’s oldest and largest genealogical society. The society said the Kings have deep personal interest in family, history and education.