Category: Questions

Why Aren’t There Giant Animals Anymore?

Since I moved to Alaska and learned about the state’s Pleistocene history, I’ve bemoaned the absence of the ice-age mega-megafauna. Here in the interior, 20,000 years ago, mammoths, wooly rhinoceros, giant ground sloths, Smilodon, dire wolves, short-faced bears, American lions, and other now sadly absent animals, roamed. While a few ice-age mammals persist (think musk oxen, bison, and moose), most…

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Endemic Birds of the Desert Southwest: Where are They?

If you’ve been following my Facebook or Instagram feeds, you’ll know that I’ve spent the last several weeks road-tripping through the western states of the lower 48. Along the way, we spent some time in the deserts of the Southwest. We spent a few nights each in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Chiricahua Mountains of southeastern Arizona, and Joshua Tree…

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What Kills a Wolverine?

Spend enough time guiding in Alaska’s backcountry and you are bound to find something you can’t explain. This happened to me recently as I was leading a canoe trip down the upper Noatak River in Gates of the Arctic National Park. My group, a family of four, my co-guide,and I were camped on the shore of the lake where we’d been…

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Beavers Eat Fish. Wait. What?

Beavers do not eat fish. They are herbivores specializing in the bark of a number of different tree species. Period. End of story. Nothing more to see here. Move along. Except that it isn’t. On my Facebook page last week, my friend Jim told me about watching a beaver in Montana Creek, a popular fishing stream in the Matanuska-Susitna River…

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