31 Mar 2008

What happened to the Runswick ratfish?


Blogged about here. Well, it turned out that he (he was a he, both his claspers were on rather prominent display) was a rare find on the North Sea coast.

I was put in touch with the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth which runs the UK Marine Fish Recording Scheme, whose splendid Douglas Herdson emailed a form for me to fill in with details of the rat fish's location and vital statistics.

Chimaera monstrosa - an albino one, remember - is still in the freezer awaiting a £5 million bid, cheques payable to The HMS Beagle Trust. This blog is less than a year old, and already walking this bit of coastline with intent to look and record has given up a fossil which experts still haven't pronounced on and now a fish which is a rare find, along with all the many other delights I have been lucky to see during my more purposeful walks.

In these days of micro-molecular-genomic biology carried out in labs by highly qualified scientists with Equipment, it is good to know that we amateurs can keep our eyes peeled and with a bit off luck and persistance contribute the odd data point.

2 comments:

nunatak said...

This highly qualified scientist with Equipment thinks "citizen science" is going to save the world. There's no way near enough of us highly qualified types to collect the quantity of data required to discover and monitor global biodiversity in an era of climate change. So there.

Richard Carter, FCD said...

'Citizen science': I like that. But I prefer the label 'amateur science' myself - it's time to reclaim the word 'amateur'.

Great photo, Peter, but Darwin's Bulldog can beat that: a photo of a bison with its head stuck up the ass of another bison.

('Ass' is American for 'arse', BTW.)