DYNAMIC AFRICA

Set up in 2010, Dynamic Africa is diverse multi-media curated blog with a Pan-African outlook that seeks to create an expressive platform for African experiences, stories and African cultures.



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Posts tagged "animals"

ART Exhibition: Brooklyn Museum

From domesticated cats to mythic symbols of divinity, felines played an important role in ancient Egyptian imagery for thousands of years. Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt explores the role of cats, lions, and other feline creatures in Egyptian mythology, kingship, and everyday life through nearly thirty different representations of cats from the Brooklyn Museum’s world-famous Egyptian collection. Likely first domesticated in ancient Egypt, cats were revered for their fertility, associated with royalty and a number of deities, and valued for their ability to protect homes and granaries from vermin.

On public view for the first time is a gilded Leonine Goddess (770–412 B.C.E.)—a lion-headed female crouching on a papyrus-shaped base—that entered the Brooklyn collection in 1937 and was conserved specially for this installation. The exhibition’s cats and feline divinities range from a large limestone sculpture of a recumbent lion (305–30 B.C.E.), to a diminutive bronze sphinx of King Sheshenq (945–718 B.C.E.), to a cast-bronze figurine of a cat nursing four kittens (664–30 B.C.E.). Also included are furniture and luxury items decorated with feline features.

Divine Felines: Cats of Ancient Egypt is organized by Yekaterina Barbash, Associate Curator of Egyptian Art, Brooklyn Museum.

Penguin fossils from 10 million to 12 million years ago have been unearthed in South Africa, the oldest fossil evidence of these cuddly, tuxedoed birds in Africa.

The new discovery, detailed in the March 26 issue of the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, could shed light on why the number of penguin species plummeted on Africa’s coastline from four species 5 million years ago to just one today — Spheniscus demersus, or the jackass penguin, known for their donkeylike calls.

Daniel Thomas, a researcher at the National Museum of Natural History, and colleague Daniel Ksepka of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center were studying rock sediments near a steel plant in Cape Town, South Africa, when they uncovered an assortment of fossils, including 17 pieces that turned out to be backbones, breastbones, legs and wings from ancient penguins.

The bones suggested these ancient birds ranged from 1-to-3 feet tall (0.3 to 0.9 meters).  For comparison, Africa’s living jackass penguin, also called the black-footed penguin, stands at about 2-feet tall (0.6 meters) and weighs between 5.5 and 8.8 pounds (2.5 and 4 kilograms). [Happy Feet: A Gallery of Pudgy Penguins]

The discovery pushes back the penguin fossil record in Africa by at least 5 million years.

Because the next oldest fossils from Africa date to 5 million years ago, it’s tricky to determine exactly why most penguin species disappeared from Africa.

"It’s like seeing two frames of a movie," Ksepka said in a statement. "We have a frame at five million years ago, and a frame at 10-12 million years ago, but there’s missing footage in between."

One possibility is that changing sea levels eliminated most of the penguins’ nesting sites.

About 5 million years ago, sea levels were 296 feet (90 m) higher than today, and the low-lying South Africa became a patchwork of islands. Those islands provided beaches for several penguin species to create nests and rear their young while sheltering them from predators.

Once the oceans fell, most of those beaches would become mainland.

Africa’s remaining jackass penguins are also on the decline. Their numbers have plummeted by 80 percent, in part because humans are overfishing their staple foods, sardines and anchovies. African penguins are being bred in captivity; for instance, a successful breeding season at the New England Aquarium in 2010 ended with the birth of 11 new African penguin chicks.

In addition, Bristol Conservation and Science Foundation, along with South African and international partners, is working to establish breeding colonies of the African penguin closer to fish resources, to ensure successful chick-rearing, according to the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Situated across the north-western stretch of Northern Africa, the Idurar n Watla (Atlas Mountains) is a mountain range that spans roughly 2,500 km (1,600 mi) through Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia with the highest peak being Toubkal mountain with an elevation of 4,167 metres (13,671 ft) in southwestern Morocco. The Idurar n Watla range separates the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert.

These mountains have been home to various flora and fauna, many of which are unique to Africa. Many of these plants and animals are endangered any many other plant and animal species have become extinct. Examples include the Barbary Macaque, the Atlas Bear (Africa’s only species of bear; now extinct), the Barbary Leopard, the Barbary stag, Barbary Sheep, the Barbary Lion (extinct in the wild), the Atlas Mountain Badger, the North African Elephant (extinct), the African Aurochs (extinct), Cuvier’s Gazelle, the Northern Bald Ibis, Dippers, the Atlas mountain viper, the Atlas Cedar, the European Black Pine, and the Algerian Oak.

Some of these animals were victims of the illegal animal trade, such as the Barbary macaque, others became extinct due to human interference such as the Atlas bear that was hunted for sport or used in the execution of criminals by the Romans during their expansion into North Africa. Similarly, it is believed that the North African elephant became extinct during the Roman conquest into this part of Africa. Barbary lions were often given as gifts to royals of countries such as Morocco and Ethiopia.

The Atlas are rich in natural resources and contains deposits of iron ore, lead ore, copper, silver, mercury, rock salt, phosphate, marble, anthracite coal, and gas among other resources.

(source)

vintagesomalia:

Somalia has the world’s largest population of camels.
Camel’s have had an important place in Somali life, economy and history and they continue to do so to this day. Camels are remarkable creatures. They are one of the few animals able to survive in harsh climates.
They have strong immune systems and can last days without water because of their ability to store water in their blood system.
They also produce more milk than cows, and have more energy than most animals. They can control their temperature too and not to mention their transportation capabilities.  
 #vintagesomalia  

vintagesomalia:

Somalia has the world’s largest population of camels.

Camel’s have had an important place in Somali life, economy and history and they continue to do so to this day. Camels are remarkable creatures. They are one of the few animals able to survive in harsh climates.

They have strong immune systems and can last days without water because of their ability to store water in their blood system.

They also produce more milk than cows, and have more energy than most animals. They can control their temperature too and not to mention their transportation capabilities.  

 #vintagesomalia  

Giraffes stage a comeback in West Africa

Distinguished by its light coloured spots, the West African giraffe once roamed in pockets across Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Benin, that is until drought and hunting decimated their numbers.

In 1996, with just 50 left in the wild, conservationists in Niger launched a campaign to protect them from poachers.

And as Al Jazeera’s Tarek Bazley explains, their gradual return has been helped in part by a rise in tourists.