Saturday

PBS President and CEO Paula Kerger announced NATIVE AMERICA , a new four-part series from Providence Pictures that will premiere Fall 2018 on PBS stations nationwide.

Weaving history and science with living indigenous traditions, the series brings to life a land of massive cities connected by social networks spanning two continents, with unique and sophisticated systems of science, art and writing.

Made with the active participation of Native- American communities and filmed in some of the most spectacular locations in the hemisphere, NATIVE AMERICA reveals an ancient and still thriving culture whose splendor and ingenuity is only now beginning to be fully understood and appreciated.

Recent discoveries informed by Native-American oral histories have led to a bold new perspective on North and South America – that ancient people across these two continents may have been part of a single interconnected world. This and other research is leading to revelations that will forever change how we understand Native America.

The series highlights intimate Native-American traditions and follows field archaeologists using 21st-century tools such as multispectral imaging and DNA analysis to uncover incredible narratives of America’s past, venturing into Amazonian caves containing the Americas’ earliest art and interactive solar calendar, exploring a massive tunnel beneath a pyramid at the center of one of ancient America’s largest cities and mapping the heavens in celestially aligned cities.

“NATIVE AMERICA is an extraordinary portal to the past and window to the present,” said Beth Hoppe, PBS Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming. “The latest scholarship and research have shattered earlier conceptions of indigenous culture and civilization, revealing vast social networks and shared beliefs that have bridged the generations and that continue to flourish in Native-American communities today.”


Narrated by Robbie Robertson (Mohawk and member of the famed rock group The Band), each hour of NATIVE AMERICA explores Great Nations and reveals cities, sacred stories and history long hidden in plain sight. In what is now America’s Southwest, indigenous people built stone skyscrapers with untold spiritual power and transformed deserts into fertile fields.


In upstate New York, warriors renounced war and formed America’s first democracy 500 years before the Declaration of Independence, later inspiring Benjamin Franklin. On the banks of the Mississippi, rulers raised a metropolis of pyramids from swampland and drew thousands to their new city to worship the sky. And in the American West, nomadic tribes transformed a weapon of conquest — the horse — into a new way of life, turning the tables on European invaders and building a mobile empire.
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VIDEO

Friday

Animals that live near human activity are becoming nocturnal just to avoid us, and the implications for ecosystems around the world could be huge.

A team of researchers conducted a meta-analysis which included data about 62 species across six continents and found an overwhelming trend: To avoid encountering humans, animals are becoming nocturnal at the expense of their biologically predetermined schedules.

Of the species studied that typically split their activity equally between day and night, more than 80 percent of those living near humans increased their nighttime activity. The new results were published in the journal Science this week.

"Catastrophic losses in wildlife populations and habitats as a result of human activity are well documented, but the subtler ways in which we affect animal behavior are more difficult to detect and quantify," lead author of the study Kaitlyn Gaynor said in a statement.

Rather than spend their days doing tasks relevant to survival, like foraging or hunting, these animals are sleeping.

By forcing their entire day to fit into the night, these diurnal species are restricting their diets, exposing themselves to new predators, and diminishing their ability to hunt.


And while you might expect this change in places where humans are hunting these creatures, increased nighttime activity is found no matter what the humans nearby are up to.

The analysis found evidence that animals alter their daily routines even when humans are doing something seemingly non-threatening, like hiking, near them.

It’s not rare for animals to switch things up so they can avoid potential hazards, but because humans are so widespread, there may be implications for the long-term survival of these species because of their shifting cycles.

"Animal activity patterns reflect millions of years of adaptation—it’s hard to believe we can simply squeeze nature into the dark half of each day and expect it to function and thrive," co-author Justin Brashares in a statement.


But it’s not all bad news. Animals that are able to adapt to a human presence likely have coexistence figured out, at least to some degree.

In fact, it's even possible that these animals may be using us in some way.

“Some animals may choose to associate more closely with humans in order to avoid predators that are more sensitive to human presence,” Clinton Epps, a wildlife researcher from Oregon State University who had no role in the study, explained via email. “This pattern is known as human shielding.”

So while these new findings are groundbreaking, they aren't exhaustive.


“This study is not intended to address every complexity but rather to identify broad patterns in animal responses to human activities,” Epps added.

But the research does pose many questions that will be important for future experiments.

For example, when did the switch to nocturnality occur? Which species are negatively impacted the most? What species benefits from this move the most? The answer to seamless human and animal coexistence might lie within these future results.
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A photographer has captured the heart-warming relationship between baby crowned lemur twins as they kiss and snuggle with their mum.

Adorable snaps taken by a regular wildlife center visitor show the youngsters curled around their mum Tiako’s thigh snoozing, kissing and licking each other.

The photographs were taken earlier this month in the lemur walk at Bristol wildlife center.

The twins were born to mum Tiako and dad Loko at the beginning of May – and it was touch and go for one of them who took longer to be delivered and struggled to breathe at first.

The young lemur was cared for by keepers for the first few hours of its life before being returned to Tiako.

Since then the unnamed twins, whose sex is determined a few weeks after birth, have thrived and are regularly spotted clinging onto their mum in the lemur walk.


The twins, who will be fully grown after a year, share their place with their parents and older brother Nahazo as well as a family of ring-tailed lemurs

Crowned lemurs, who get their name from the distinct crown pattern on the top of their heads, are classified as endangered in their native Madagascar where they are found in just one area in the north of the island, making them susceptible to extinction.


The main threat facing them is habitat loss due to logging, agriculture and forest fires.

Bristol wildlife center’s curator of mammals, Lynsey Bugg, said: “Bristol Zoological Society does a great deal of work with lemurs in the wild and every birth helps towards raising awareness of conservation efforts helping to save them from extinction.”



“Trump is singularly distinctive in the degree of polarization and antipathy he has raised in ways that negatively affect lots of communities at the margins — including native peoples,” said Joseph Gone, the chair of Native American Studies at University of Michigan.

President Donald Trump routinely calls a U.S. senator “Pocahontas.” One time, he did it in front of Navajo code talkers who helped America during World War II.

To decorate the Oval Office, he chose a portrait of Andrew Jackson, the president notorious for the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which set in motion the series of forced migrations that became known as the Trail of Tears.

And his Administration sought to shrink Bears Ears National Monument — an area full of sacred tribal sites — by more than 1.1 million acres.

Actions like these are helping spur a surge in Native American women seeking political office. During recent primaries, three women of Native American descent were seeking gubernatorial seats, four in congressional elections and at least 31 more in state elections.

Sharice Davids, a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation of Wisconsin and a Democrat seeking to represent Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District, has set her sights on becoming the first Native congresswoman.


Davids called the 2016 election “dehumanizing.”

“If someone is running for an office and they are saying things that are dehumanizing to groups of people, we need people who are standing up and running against those folks to say, ‘What these folks are saying is not OK,’” Davids said.

“Literally the only way for us to do that is to run for office.” Historically, Native Americans are among the most underrepresented groups in Washington.


Currently, there are only two Native American members of Congress, both Republican men: Oklahoma Reps. Tom Cole and Markwayne Mullin.

These women are looking to change that.

“We are galvanizing on the momentum of this time in history,” Davids said.

The candidates aren’t just running against Trump, however. All four who spoke with TIME talked about issues ranging from increasing access to affordable healthcare, making quality childhood education more available and protecting the environment.


But experts say it’s hard to miss the effect that Trump has had.

“Trump is singularly distinctive in the degree of polarization and antipathy he has raised in ways that negatively affect lots of communities at the margins — including native peoples,” said Joseph Gone, the chair of Native American Studies at University of Michigan.

Peggy Flanagan, a Democrat running for lieutenant governor in Minnesota and a member of White Earth Nation of Ojibwe, said Native American women are feeling especially isolated after the 2016 election.


“What we saw in the past administration was President Obama very intentionally reached out to tribes [to address our problems],” Flanagan said. “There’s been a bit of whiplash for folks in Indian country with regards to how the president adopted a perspective we haven’t seen in a long time.”

Statistically, Native women are much more likely to suffer from poverty and high rates of violence.

Data from the 2012 American Community Survey indicates 29.1 percent of people who identify as Native American or Alaskan Native as their only race were in poverty. The national average that same year was less than half that, at 14.5 percent.


“Native people in the United States are the canaries in the coal mine for how people at the margins of our society are able to cope and to function,” Gone said. “And so, advocating and attending to the needs and interests of these people is to advocate and attend to the needs of poor people, people of color, women to a certain degree, and lots of other communities who aren’t at the center of power and influence in America.”

Deb Haaland, this month’s democratic primary winner of New Mexico’s dominantly-blue 1st Congressional District, echoed the need for expanding diversity in Congress to include Native Americans and other underrepresented groups.

“I’ve had to struggle like a lot of folks. I’m still paying for student loans. I’m a single mom. I know what it’s like to have to put back food at the checkout line because you don’t have enough money and those kinds of things,” the Laguna Pueblo tribe member told TIME this month. “I think it’s important that we have different perspectives [represented].”


Paulette Jordan, a direct descendant of tribal chiefs and a member of the Coeur d’Alene tribe herself, is running for governor of Idaho.

Jordan’s great-grandfather was the distinguished Chief Moses, the lead negotiator of the Sinkiuse-Columbia tribe. His granddaughter — Jordan’s grandmother — sold her family’s cattle so she could charter flights to Washington, D.C., to lobby on behalf of other Native Americans on tribal sovereignty issues.

Being a leader is literally in her DNA, Jordan said.

While these Native women obviously hope to win their races and achieve historic firsts, they all spoke of hoping to make a difference for the Native women who seek political office next.

“Once I’m serving as the first Native American governor elected in this country, it will serve as an example for others to say, ‘Yes, let’s elect more leaders like her. Let’s elect more Debra Haalands and more Paulette Jordans into office,’” Jordan said.

Flanagan said she “couldn’t begin to start to determine what President Trump thinks frankly and why he believes the things he believes.”

“But my job is to hold that door wide open for the people who come after me.”
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Wednesday

Taken by 24 year old Ricky Patel while he was on safari in Kanha, India, the images show the colourful plumes of a peacock becoming part of a deer.

Originally on the lookout for tigers near the Bahathenga waterhole, Ricky, from Kolkata, saw the male deerwalk in front of a dancing peacock and decided to get his camera out.

He said: “I was waiting for a tiger but saw the deercoming to drink the water and thought I’d try and click something different.

“It took three attempts to get the perfect shot but when I did, it was beautiful!”

Peacocks are large, colorful pheasants (typically blue and green) known for their iridescent tails.

Distinctive Tail Feathers


These tail feathers, or coverts, spread out in a distinctive train that is more than 60 percent of the bird’s total body length and boast colorful "eye" markings of blue, gold, red, and other hues. The large train is used in mating rituals and courtship displays.


It can be arched into a magnificent fan that reaches across the bird's back and touches the ground on either side. Females are believed to choose their mates according to the size, color, and quality of these outrageous feather trains.



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