Saturday: Hili dialogue

April 21, 2018 • 6:30 am

by Grania

Good morning! It’s Saturday, with a bit of luck it’s a Saturday with blue skies round your way.

Here’s an eclectic collection of tweets to start your day.


A bird foot of a Syrrhaptes Sandgrouse. Wikipedia says: “The small feet lack a hind toe, and the three front toes are fused together. The upper surface is feathered, and the underneath has a fleshy pad.”

A fearsome adversary.

The post warrior.


Here’s a lovely video of a sugar glider.

Master strategist Hili is trying out a new tactic which may or may not work.

Hili: I have an allergy.
A: To what?
Hili: Just now to everything except cream.

In Polish:

Hili: Mam alergię.
Ja: Na co?
Hili: W tej chwili na wszystko poza śmietanką.

JAC addendum: today’s Google Doodle features Jane Goodall, and if you click on it (click on screenshot first), you’ll see a video and cartoon of her talking about the importance of Earth Day,which is tomorrow.

Hat-tip: Barn Owl, Barry

16 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. I was gonna say something cynical-smarty-pants about the piano one. Like hey they can put the dots wherever they want and make it sound reasonable yada yada. Luckily I clicked on it first before opening mouth lol.

    1. I think Antarctica was infra-sound, it was there, but below our Hearing Threshold.
      Omitting Greenland is unforgivable.
      Now I want to hear it upside down, with South America, Southern Africa, OZ and NZ in the high notes, and Antarctica will probably be ultrasound there. 🙂
      What a wonderful idea this “Sound of Earth on a Piano”!
      Wonder what the quip about Africa was about.

  2. I am mildly distracted by the piano keyboard being reversed with the high notes on the left. However, it does allow for New Zealand to make a groovy little ending.

    1. Nope, you’re ‘sitting’ on the right of the keyboard, look at the position of the ‘ebony’ keys. The North is at the right of the keyboard, the South on the left. No reversal.
      Of course, as I pointed out above, it is arbitrary. Maps that put the north on top is also just an arbitrary convention in the first place.

  3. The Kiwi’s, most mammal-like of birds, did not completely lose their hind toe, although it is small, and did not fuse their three other toes, but they do have a mammal-like footpad allowing them to walk silently.
    The Syrrhaptes sandgrouse’s feet are stunning, an example of convergent evolution, it appears. What pushed them to develop mammal-like paws?
    I mean, the evolution of many mammal-like traits of the Kiwi’s is clear: no indigenous land mammals in NZ (apart from 2 or 3 bats, the most ground dwelling bats of all, btw), so they occupied a mammal niche, but why the Tibetan sandgrouse?

    1. but why the Tibetan sandgrouse?

      Probably traction. A pad conforming to the surface will grip fairly well, especially since the foot can push against stronger projections.

      You see some pads on a ptarmigan’s foot as well, yet they still have three long claws (and a small fourth claw)–but ptarmigans still perch on branches.
      The Tibetan soundgrouse clearly isn’t going to perch, but I don’t think they’d have much opportunity to do so, either.

      I think traction would matter a lot for them, too, especially in fleeing predators. They still fly, but I suspect that they’re using their feet to first accelerate, then to help launch them into the air.

      Glen Davidson

      1. Sounds like a reasonably good hypothesis. Perching is out indeed, I was in the Central Asian high plateau: not a single tree for hundreds of km’s.
        Must also be something that when escaping predators running is energetically cheaper than flying, if you can get away with it.
        In the desert-like plateau, energy must be important, no plethora of food.

  4. Jane Goodall is a great primatologist and a possibly even greater conservationist. I’m great fan. Read most (all I could lay my hands on) of her books. Highly recommended.
    Westerners generally do not realise that more than half of all the great primatology studies were done by Japanese biologists. Frans de Waal (a great primatologist himself) wrote a nice & very readable book about it: “The Ape and the Sushi Master”. Highly recommended.

  5. I apologize for this but I’d like to say:

    I just listened to the entirety of Sam Harris’ latest conversation with Sean Carroll after hoping not to.

    Also loving the travelogues.

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