Islands in the Sky

Joan’s latest missive–I share it with you here:


In the rainforest of Venezuela and Brazil rise high mesas called “tepui,” where many unique creatures are found. These creatures were thought to evolve in isolation, perhaps including many “ancient” forms. They are found atop the unique table-like tepuis that rise above the clouds.


The tepui ecosystems may have influenced Avatar as well as Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Lost World. It’s hard to get up there and find out–the only way is to climb.

But the tepui ecology is in fact more complex than was thought. Unique creatures, such as the pebble toad, may be more recent arrivals that evolved in a recent new direction, more like the arrivals in the Galapagos islands. Like islands, each tepui may host unique species found nowhere else.

Sometimes we think that only “native” evolved species are worth study. But every native species had to get there from somewhere. We are all travelers…

View original post 12 more words

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s