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Acoustic Divergence in Domestic Horses

Abstract

We tested whether pronounced morphological variability of horses caused by artificial selection was followed also by variation in their vocalization. We compared whinnies of 10 breeds representing horse varieties both in morphology and history using discrimination analyses (Wilks´ lambda = 0.070). Whinnies of Shetland pony were the most distinct from calls of other breeds (74.1% classification success). This result is in agreement with distinction based on morphological features. Whinnies of the primitive Hucul horse belonged among the most correctly classified ones (73.5%). Classification results of both Old Kladruby horse colour forms were very different: whinnies of the grey form revealed the least successful classification (18.9%) whilst calls of the black form showed one of the best classification outputs (72.4%). A surprising result was the extreme vocal distinction between the heaviest breeds, confirmed by discrimination analysis, the Czech-Moravian Belgian (55.5%), and Silesian Noriker (51.4%). This finding was contrary to their morphological similarity.

The relationship between morphological and acoustical variables revealed a significant correlation (r ˂ -0.57). Our results did not confirm the hypothesis of acoustic distinction in horse breeds based simply on their morphology. However, whinnies of an old breed, the Shetland pony, were the most distinct ones from all the others. The other old breeds, the Thoroughbred and the Old Kladruby horses, clustered together with the modern Czech warmblood. Our results seem to not confirm the second hypothesis of vocal distinction based on the length of time since establishment of the respective breed. Significant differences among horse breeds indicate the process of vocal distinction during the process of artificial selection.

Open access
The alchemy of human variation: Race, ethnicity and Manoiloff's blood reaction

The alchemy of human variation: Race, ethnicity and Manoiloff's blood reaction

This paper examines the research on race determination conducted by Russian biochemist E.O. Manoiloff in the 1920s. Manoiloff claimed to have discovered a method which detected racial identity of an individual by a simple chemical reaction performed on a subject's blood sample. The method was published in one of the leading anthropological journals and it was not questioned for some time. It is obvious today that Manoiloff's claims were nothing short of ridiculous. The present study, based on the experimental history of sciences, tries to elucidate Manoiloff's procedures and reasons for his ‘success’. His experiments were repeated using both original and modern equipment. It has been demonstrated that Manoiloff's procedures, although rigorous at first glance, were highly arbitrary and methodologically flawed. It would appear that the socio-political and scientific contexts of the early twentieth century which favoured belief in the existence of clearly distinguishable racial types played a crucial role in the initial positive response to Manoiloff's research.

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Drosophila melanogaster research: history, breakthrough and perspectives

Abstract

The common fruit fly, or Drosophila Melanogaster, has been used as an object of biomedicals studies for over a century. It has been mostly employed in genetic research, as it exhibits several advantages which make its use relatively easy and cheap, with the results widely translatable into further vertebrate studies. This model been the basis of the work of Christiane Nusslein-Volhard, who together with Eric Wieschaus unravelled much of the mystery surrounding early drosophila development in the 1970s-1980s, laying foundations for broader understanding of multicellular organism embryogenesis, which brought them a Nobel prize in Physiology and Medicine in 1995. The knowledge gained from drosophila studies improves the basic understanding of developmental processes, while the model itself is relatively easy to maintain, analyse and translate the results onto other species. While models such as Zebrafish present better with other vertebrates, drosophila remains a very important element of genetic research, finding even more applications with the development of current science and medicine. Hence, in this short review, the outline of the history, breakthroughs and perspectives of the drosophila research has been presented.

Open access
Changes of historical metadata reflected in the wind parameters at Iași meteorological station

Abstract

The metadata are defined as the informations behind the data. The purpose of the metadata in meteorological activity is to represent where, when, how and by whom meteorological data has been obtained, colected and recorded. Ideally, a comprehensive metadata base should contain records of all changes that have occured throughout the entire period in which the meteorological station has functioned, the so called „station history”. This paper renders the preliminary results of the analysed wind parameter values (percentages of wind calm and wind frequency) for the time period between 1961 and 2015 at Iași meteorological station. The data were analysed based on various historical metadata information (e.g. the emergence of new construction(s) around the station, relocation of the station, changes in the equipment used to measure the wind etc.), information that may influence the wind parameters measured at Iași weather station.

Open access
The Genus Bilabrella Lindl. (Orchidaceae, Habenariinae): General Characteristic and Research History of The Genus

Abstract

The genus Bilabrella (Habenarinae, Orchidaceae) was described by Lindley in 1834, but within next years, different authors incorporated it as the section of the genus Habenaria Willd. From 2003, Szlachetko and Kras stated that there were no grounds for distinguishing the sections Bilabrellae and Replicatae. They restored the genus Bilabrella, transfering to it 93 species from the section Replicatae and four species new to science were described. The poor condition of the old plant materials, the lack of some type specimens for many species described by Schlechter and problems with a series of transitional forms between some species are only few reasons, why the revision of the genus has not been published so far. Bilabrella comprises orchids found in Sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Bilabrella differs from other Habenariinae in its unique combination of features

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Late Pleistocene Birds from Binagada (Azerbaijan) in Collection of the National Museum of Natural History (Kyiv, Ukraine)

Abstract

Bird fossils from the Late Pleistocene locality Binagada, deposited kept in the National Museum of Natural History in Kyiv (Ukraine), are described in this paper. Twenty six bird species are identified, including five (Little Stint, Great snipe, Jack snipe, White-winged lark and Rosy Starling) which have not been previously known from this locality. The validity of extinct species Calidris binagadensis (Serebrovsky, 1940) is confirmed and the invalidity of subspecies Anas platyrhynchos paleoboschas Serebrovsky, 1940 is shown. The finding of Rosy Starling fossils in Transcaucasian region confirms the range reduction of this species at the end of Pleistocene.

Open access
Water temperature in investigations of Polish lakes

Abstract

Scientists became professionally interested in Polish lakes in the early 1850s. They focused predominantly upon the measurements of depth, observations of water stages, optical properties, and water temperature. The first systematic observations of surface water temperature were carried out in 1956. At present these measurements are conducted in 29 lakes. Investigations of the vertical distribution of water temperature were initiated in the interwar period and they contributed to a better recognition of the processes and factors conditioning dynamics of water masses. In general, measurements of water temperature have constituted fundamental observations with respect to the studies of yearly and daily courses of the temperature of surface water and the entire water mass, the influence of basin morphometry upon water thermal conditions, heat balance and heat resources, thermal conditions of bottom deposits and thermal classification of the lakes. The introduction of automatic gradient probes gave a new impulse to the investigations of water temperature in the lakes. The foundation of the Polish Limnological Society in 2001 and 18 national and international limnological conferences stimulated integration of the circle of limnologists. Specialist journals (Limnological Review, Studia Limnologica et Telmatologica) have presented around 40 publications with the leading theme of water temperature.

Open access
Population surveys of Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) in the Murchison Falls National Park, Victoria Nile, Uganda

Abstract

1. A 12-month-long survey (April 2013 to March 2014) for Nile crocodiles (Crocodylus niloticus) was conducted along a section of the Victoria Nile/Ramsar site of Murchison Falls National Park, in order to update the historic information on crocodile populations in the area, locating nesting areas, determining seasonality patterns and habitat use, and assess the current abundance and the population size trends since the 1960s. The methods employed included visual encounter surveys, transect counts and opportunistic methods, by using boats. 2. In general, there were diurnal and seasonal fluctuations in the number of crocodile sightings. The crocodile sightings peaked between the months of June and August, with the highest mean number of sightings encountered on any single day being 67 (in July 2013), and the second peak was between January and March with the highest mean of 118 recorded in January 2014. The second peak also coincided with the crocodile breeding season. This clearly shows that the distribution of the sub-population sampled followed a climatic regime. 3. Crocodiles were observed most frequently in water (37%). Grassy banks, islands, river mouths and sandy banks constituted about 47% of the habitats utilised by the crocodile population. Although basking was the most frequent type of activity performed by crocodiles (50%) over the entire survey period, their key activities varied significantly from month to month. Nesting was very visible during the last quarter of the year and the first quarter of the New Year. 4. There was a clear decline of the abundance of crocodiles in this population between 1960s and nowadays. This declining trend was obvious also taking into account the various survey methodologies employed over the decades.

Open access
Postmodern landscape architecture: theoretical, compositional characteristics and design elements with the analysis of 25 projects

Abstract

This paper endeavours to highlight three aspects of postmodern landscape design: theoretical basis, composition and design elements. Postmodern theories, philosophy influenced the language of the postmodern landscape architecture and got materialized in the use of narratives, eclecticism, the Rhizome-principle. Postmodern landscape composition can be associated with anti-hierarchy, unusual structures, landforms, and playful moods. Postmodern design elements consist of the strong graphical use of colour and pavements, bizarre water features, unusual structures and buildings, postmodern sculptures and thematic garden details. 25 analysed projects try to capture the essence of postmodernism in landscape architecture as well as to reveal points of intersection within these projects.

Open access
Herbaria of the Prussian physician Boretius (1694-1738) in the Herbarium WA

Abstract

Pre-Linnaean herbaria have a growing value for botanists and historians of science. A unique example is a four volume herbarium from the early 18th century preserved in the archives of the Herbarium of the Faculty of Biology, University of Warsaw. They consist of one, originally five volume set. We proved that the plants had been gathered by the famous naturalist Georg Andreas Helwing (1666-1748), and his son-in-law, Matthias Ernst Boretius (1694-1738), and they annotated and classified the exhibits. Boretius was born in Prussia, in Lec (now: Giżycko). He acquired his academic training in Königsberg and Leiden, and deepened it by scientific travels. He was the first in Masuria to promote vaccination against smallpox. Earning the reputation of a distinguished scholar, he was appointed Royal Physician and Crown Councilor of the Prussian court. He died in 1738 at the age of just 44, leaving the herbarium vivum – a magnificent remnant of his times. There are over 900 cards with glued specimen, signed in three languages: Latin, German and Polish. It includes vascular plants, liverworts, true mosses, clubmosses, algae and macrofungi. Boretius implemented the system made known by the French botanist Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1656-1708). His system divided the plant world into 22 classes, based on flower morphology but also retaining the traditional split into trees, shrubs and forbs. The choice of this arrangement by Boretius was an innovation; the earlier plant collections of his tutor Helwing lacked any attempt to classify plant species.

Open access