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Grizzly bears, black bears, wolves, coyotes, cougars/ mountain lions,bobcats, wolverines, lynx, foxes, fishers and martens are the suite of carnivores that originally inhabited North America after the Pleistocene extinctions. This site invites research, commentary, point/counterpoint on that suite of native animals (predator and prey) that inhabited The Americas circa 1500-at the initial point of European exploration and subsequent colonization. Landscape ecology, journal accounts of explorers and frontiersmen, genetic evaluations of museum animals, peer reviewed 20th and 21st century research on various aspects of our "Wild America" as well as subjective commentary from expert and layman alike. All of the above being revealed and discussed with the underlying goal of one day seeing our Continent rewilded.....Where big enough swaths of open space exist with connective corridors to other large forest, meadow, mountain, valley, prairie, desert and chaparral wildlands.....Thereby enabling all of our historic fauna, including man, to live in a sustainable and healthy environment. - Blogger Rick

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Saturday, August 25, 2018

While never thought of as a "plant farmer", a new study is revealing that rattlesnakes(and likely all snakes) are exerting postive "top-down" as well as positive "bottom-up" trophic impacts on our natural systems........As the snakes consume rodents that have recently eaten various plant seeds, those seeds are not broken down in the snakes colon, instead being deposited up to 8 to 10 miles from the point of ingestion back into the environment where they have a chance of germinating.......The snakes do not have the enzymes in their colon to destroy the seeds, therefore, "snake farmers" they become.......Another reason to "keep all the cogs and wheels" from disappearing from our planet........Every creature having a nature engineering function that makes our circle of life diverse and optimum

Groundbreaking Research Shows Rattlesnakes Are Important 'Ecosystem Engineers'

Published: Monday, August 20, 2018 

Bryan Hughes/Rattlesnake Solutions
A speckled rattlesnake found in Maricopa County.
New research shows there’s one unexpected animal that has a very important role by spreading seeds in its ecosystem. They make a sound that strikes fear into many an Arizonan.
But rattlesnakes, like any predator, play a crucial part in a healthy ecosystem. And one way they do, according to 
a paper published by the Royal Society, is through seed dispersal.
“Rattlesnakes should be viewed as more than just predators," said Gordon Schuett, paper co-author. "They’re actually functioning and providing ecosystem services beyond that, so beyond just the seed thing, they’re taking on the role of ecosystem engineer.”
The research showsThe research shows different types of rattlesnakes found in Arizona munch on rodents, many of which still have seeds in their cheeks or gut. Then, the seeds stay whole because snakes do not chew.
The seeds can even germinate while in a snake’s colon, because they don't have the enzymes to break that particular food down. The slithering creatures can travel 8-10 miles before the seeds pass through their digestive system. 
Ultimately, the authors say, this paper is the first to point out rattlesnakes as important seed dispersers.
Schuett says he and his colleagues came to a conclusion that other scientists hadn’t yet discovered.
“They were not connecting the dots and we connected them," Schuett said. "It was to our benefit that it worked out. We just made a connection that other people hadn’t."
Schuett said the potential role of vipers as important seed dispersers, were, before this paper, unrecognized and mostly unexplored.
The paper's researchers studied the insides of preserved, museum specimens of snakes. The research suggests other scientists pick up on this work to do more, empirical studies in the field. Schuett said they've gotten many letters after the paper was published earlier this year of people who want to look more into the idea of rattlesnakes, or any snakes, acting as seed dispersers.

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