A Tale of Tails
Field Notes from the Montana Natural History Center
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1w ago
Tail feathers, and tails in general, provide a variety of functions for different animal species. The prehensile tails of monkeys in Central and South America are the ultimate fifth appendage. These tails can be used for grasping and hanging from branches and manipulating objects. Curiously, while African monkey species often have similar tails, none have grasping prehensile tails ..read more
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Gus, the Champion Larch
Field Notes from the Montana Natural History Center
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1w ago
Visitors to Montana’s Jim Girard Memorial Tamaracks Grove near Seeley Lake have differing reactions when viewing Gus for the first time. I was awed by the 163-foot height, craning my neck to see the very tippy top and then tilting back even further to view the additional 10 feet of dead tree top ..read more
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Cobble Beaches: The Geology of a Worry Stone
Field Notes from the Montana Natural History Center
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1w ago
The beach in question is characteristic of beaches everywhere there have been glaciers: covered in well-sorted, multi-hued pebbles. There’s a rock on this beach for every personality ..read more
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Oh, Deer
Field Notes from the Montana Natural History Center
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1w ago
They’re in my yard, in a yard two blocks away, or on someone’s front porch chewing pumpkins. It’s rare that I take my daily four-mile trek without seeing these white-tailed wonders, often grazing near the sidewalk, seemingly unafraid ..read more
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Boxelder Bugs: Accessible Ambassadors for Nature
Field Notes from the Montana Natural History Center
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2w ago
There I was, calmly taking a shower, when I realized I was not alone. Sitting on top of a bottle of shampoo waving its antennae and staring at me with its red eyes was a Boisea trivittata. Despite their scientific label, there is nothing trivial about these ubiquitous pests known to us by their common name: boxelder bugs ..read more
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Of Mountains and Snails
Field Notes from the Montana Natural History Center
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2w ago
As we entered a conifer thicket, we happened upon an animal I was not expecting on dry land – a snail – creeping along the curved trunk of a young fir tree ..read more
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Marvelous, Moisture-Loving Moss
Field Notes from the Montana Natural History Center
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2w ago
For millennia mosses have been used as insulation, diapers, and in many other ways that require absorption. I had to know more ..read more
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Reflections on the Ponderosa Pine, Montana's State Tree
Field Notes from the Montana Natural History Center
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2w ago
Their height and orange-brown bark, scaly and large-patterned, drew me to them, but I knew little else about them ..read more
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A Montana Love Story: Trumpeter Swans
Field Notes from the Montana Natural History Center
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2w ago
Historically, Trumpeter Swans covered much of North America, but by 1932, a National Park Service survey found only 69 trumpeters in the entire contiguous United States. This spurred a conservation effort that included a feeding program in the Red Rocks National Wildlife Refuge near Dillon, Montana ..read more
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Staking Out Territory: Loons on Kintla Lake
Field Notes from the Montana Natural History Center
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2w ago
An angry phoenix, the new bird appeared stretching its wings, repeatedly slapping the surface as it kept launching its body upright, almost leaping out of the water. All the while, it called out, the trembling sound of a woodwind instrument bouncing off the dense bowl of that valley ..read more
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