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Extinction of large animals could hasten climate change

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London: The extinction of large animals could hasten climate change as their presence in tropical forests help in dispersing tresses with dense wood which are more effective in storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than smaller trees.

The reduction of large animals from tropical forests could make climate change worse as these animals are essential in scattering trees with dense wood.

A decline in fruit-eating animals such as large primates, tapirs and toucans could have a knock-on effect for tree species, the findings showed.

“We show that the decline and extinction of large animals will over time induces a decline in large hardwood trees. This in turn negatively affects the capacity of tropical forests to store carbon and therefore their potential to counter climate change,” said one of the researchers Carlos Peres from University of East Anglia in England.

Large animals disperse large seeded plant species – often associated with large trees and high wood density — which are more effective at capturing and storing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than smaller trees, the researchers explained.

The research team studied data from more than 2,000 tree species in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest, and more than 800 animal species.

They found that frugivores which are not targeted by hunters — such as small birds, bats and marsupials — are only able to disperse small seeds, which are associated with small trees.

Meanwhile large heavy-wooded trees, which can capture and store greater amounts of carbon, are associated with larger seeds. And these are only dispersed by large animals.

“The big frugivores, such as large primates, the tapir, the toucans, among other large animals, are the only ones able to effectively disperse plants that have large seeds. Usually, the trees that have large seeds are also big trees with dense wood that store more carbon,” Prof Mauro Galetti from Sao Paulo State University in Brazil explained.

The findings appeared in the journal Science Advances. (IANS)(image courtesy: timedotcom.files.wordpress.com)

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Scientists Creating Hybrids To Save Rhinos From Extinction

Scientists say they're several steps closer to perfecting a method for saving the northern white rhino from extinction

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A keeper walks with a female northern white rhino as she is let out of her pen to graze at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya, Dec. 2, 2014. VOA

Scientists say they’re several steps closer to perfecting a method for saving the northern white rhino from extinction.

Writing in the journal Nature Communications, researchers said Wednesday that they had succeeded in creating embryos using frozen northern white rhino sperm and eggs from a southern white rhino.

Scientists Creating Hybrids To Save Rhinos From Extinction
Scientists Creating Hybrids To Save Rhinos From Extinction. Pixabay

It’s the first time such hybrid embryos have been created, and the scientists from Europe and the United States hope it will provide a pathway to saving the northern white rhino subspecies, of which only two females remain.

Also read: Captive Rhinos face metabolic disorders despite nutritious food

They plan to harvest the females’ egg cells soon and produce “pure” northern white rhinos to be borne by a southern white surrogate in three years. They’re also working on a second method that would see sperm and eggs produced from preserved cells of northern white rhinos. (VOA)

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