Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is part of the Western and the Mountain states, it is the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah and New Mexico. Arizona is the 48th state and last of the contiguous states to be admitted to the Union, achieving statehood on February 14, 1912, coinciding with Valentine's Day. Part of the territory of Alta California in New Spain, it became part of independent Mexico in 1821. After being defeated in the Mexican–American War, Mexico ceded much of this territory to the United States in 1848; the southernmost portion of the state was acquired in 1853 through the Gadsden Purchase. Southern Arizona is known for its desert climate, with hot summers and mild winters. Northern Arizona features forests of pine, Douglas fir, spruce trees. There are ski resorts in the areas of Flagstaff and Tucson. In addition to the Grand Canyon National Park, there are several national forests, national parks, national monuments.
About one-quarter of the state is made up of Indian reservations that serve as the home of 27 federally recognized Native American tribes, including the Navajo Nation, the largest in the state and the United States, with more than 300,000 citizens. Although federal law gave all Native Americans the right to vote in 1924, Arizona excluded those living on reservations in the state from voting until the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of Native American plaintiffs in Trujillo v. Garley; the state's name appears to originate from an earlier Spanish name, derived from the O'odham name alĭ ṣonak, meaning "small spring", which applied only to an area near the silver mining camp of Planchas de Plata, Sonora. To the European settlers, their pronunciation sounded like "Arissona"; the area is still known as alĭ ṣonak in the O'odham language. Another possible origin is the Basque phrase haritz ona, as there were numerous Basque sheepherders in the area. A native Mexican of Basque heritage established the ranchería of Arizona between 1734 and 1736 in the current Mexican state of Sonora, which became notable after a significant discovery of silver there, c.
1737. There is a misconception. For thousands of years before the modern era, Arizona was home to numerous Native American tribes. Hohokam and Ancestral Puebloan cultures were among the many that flourished throughout the state. Many of their pueblos, cliffside dwellings, rock paintings and other prehistoric treasures have survived, attracting thousands of tourists each year; the first European contact by native peoples was with Marcos de Niza, a Spanish Franciscan, in 1539. He explored parts of the present state and made contact with native inhabitants the Sobaipuri; the expedition of Spanish explorer Coronado entered the area in 1540–1542 during its search for Cíbola. Few Spanish settlers migrated to Arizona. One of the first settlers in Arizona was José Romo de Vivar. Father Kino was the next European in the region. A member of the Society of Jesus, he led the development of a chain of missions in the region, he converted many of the Indians to Christianity in the Pimería Alta in the 1690s and early 18th century.
Spain founded presidios at Tubac in 1752 and Tucson in 1775. When Mexico achieved its independence from the Kingdom of Spain and its Spanish Empire in 1821, what is now Arizona became part of its Territory of Nueva California known as Alta California. Descendants of ethnic Spanish and mestizo settlers from the colonial years still lived in the area at the time of the arrival of European-American migrants from the United States. During the Mexican–American War, the U. S. Army occupied the national capital of Mexico City and pursued its claim to much of northern Mexico, including what became Arizona Territory in 1863 and the State of Arizona in 1912; the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo specified that, in addition to language and cultural rights of the existing inhabitants of former Mexican citizens being considered as inviolable, the sum of US$15 million dollars in compensation be paid to the Republic of Mexico. In 1853, the U. S. acquired the land south below the Gila River from Mexico in the Gadsden Purchase along the southern border area as encompassing the best future southern route for a transcontinental railway.
What is now known as the state of Arizona was administered by the United States government as part of the Territory of New Mexico until the southern part of that region seceded from the Union to form the Territory of Arizona. This newly established territory was formally organized by the Confederate States government on Saturday, January 18, 1862, when President Jefferson Davis approved and signed An Act to Organize the Territory of Arizona, marking the first official use of the name "Territory of Arizona"; the Southern territory supplied the Confederate government with men and equipment. Formed in 1862, Arizona scout companies served with the Confederate States Army duri
Oaxaca the Free and Sovereign State of Oaxaca, is one of the 31 states which, along with Mexico City, make up the 32 federative entities of Mexico. It is divided into 570 municipalities, of which 418 are governed by the system of usos y costumbres with recognized local forms of self-governance, its capital city is Oaxaca de Juárez. Oaxaca is located in Southeastern Mexico, it is bordered by the states of Guerrero to the west, Puebla to the northwest, Veracruz to the north, Chiapas to the east. To the south, Oaxaca has a significant coastline on the Pacific Ocean; the state is best known for its indigenous cultures. The most numerous and best known are the Zapotecs and the Mixtecs, but there are sixteen that are recognized; these cultures have survived better than most others in Mexico due to the state's rugged and isolating terrain. Most live in the Central Valleys region, an economically important area for tourism, with people attracted for its archeological sites such as Monte Albán, Mitla, its various native cultures and crafts.
Another important tourist area is the coast, which has the major resort of Huatulco and sandy beaches of Puerto Escondido, Puerto Ángel, Bahia de Tembo, Mazunte. Oaxaca is one of the most biologically diverse states in Mexico, ranking in the top three, along with Chiapas and Veracruz, for numbers of reptiles, amphibians and plants; the name of the state comes from the name of Oaxaca. This name comes from the Nahuatl word "Huaxyacac", which refers to a tree called a "guaje" found around the capital city; the name was applied to the Valley of Oaxaca by Nahuatl-speaking Aztecs and passed on to the Spanish during the conquest of the Oaxaca region. The modern state was created in 1824, the state seal was designed by Alfredo Canseco Feraud and approved by the government of Eduardo Vasconcelos. Nahuatl word "Huaxyacac" was transliterated as "Oaxaca" using Medieval Spanish orthography, in which the x represented the voiceless postalveolar fricative, making "Oaxaca" pronounced as. However, during the sixteenth century the voiceless fricative sound evolved into a voiceless velar fricative, Oaxaca began to be pronounced.
In present-day Spanish, Oaxaca is pronounced or, the latter pronunciation used in dialects of southern Mexico, the Caribbean, much of Central America, some places in South America, the Canary Islands and western Andalusia in Spain where has become a voiceless glottal fricative. Most of what is known about prehistoric Oaxaca comes from work in the Central Valleys region. Evidence of human habitation dating back to about 11,000 years BC has been found in the Guilá Naquitz cave near the town of Mitla; this area was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010 in recognition for the "earliest known evidence of domesticated plants in the continent, while corn cob fragments from the same cave are said to be the earliest documented evidence for the domestication of maize." More finds of nomadic peoples date back to about 5000 BC, with some evidence of the beginning of agriculture. By 2000 BC, agriculture had been established in the Central Valleys region of the state, with sedentary villages.
The diet developed around this time would remain until the Spanish Conquest, consisting of harvested corn, chocolate, chili peppers and gourds. Meat was hunted and included tepescuintle, deer, peccary and iguana; the oldest known major settlements, such as Yanhuitlán and Laguna Zope are located in this area as well. The latter settlement is known for its small figures called "pretty women" or "baby face." Between 1200 and 900 BC, pottery was being produced in the area as well. This pottery has been linked with similar work done in Guatemala. Other important settlements from the same time period include Tierras Largas, San José Mogote and Guadalupe, whose ceramics show Olmec influence; the major native language family, Oto-Manguean, is thought to have been spoken in northern Oaxaca around 4400 BC and to have evolved into nine distinct branches by 1500 BC. Historic events in Oaxaca as far back as the 12th century are described in pictographic codices painted by Zapotecs and Mixtecs in the beginning of the colonial period, but outside of the information that can be obtained through their study, little historical information from pre-colonial Oaxaca exist, our knowledge of this period relies on archaeological remains.
By 500 BC, the central valleys of Oaxaca were inhabited by the Zapotecs, with the Mixtecs on the western side. These two groups were in conflict throughout the pre-Hispanic period. Archeological evidence indicates that between 750 and 1521, there may have been population peaks of as high as 2.5 million. The Zapotecs were the earliest to gain dominance over the Central Valleys region; the first major dominion was centered in Monte Albán, which flourished from 500 BC until AD 750. At its height, Monte Albán was home to some 25,000 people and was the capital city of the Zapotec nation, it remained a secondary center of power for the Zapotecs until the Mixtecs overran it in 1325. The site contains a number of notable features including the Danzantes, a set of stone reliefs and the finding of fine quality ceramics. Starting from AD 750 previous large urban centers such as Monte Alban fell across the Oaxaca area and smaller dominions grew and evolved unti
In biology, a species is the basic unit of classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is defined as the largest group of organisms in which any two individuals of the appropriate sexes or mating types can produce fertile offspring by sexual reproduction. Other ways of defining species include their karyotype, DNA sequence, behaviour or ecological niche. In addition, paleontologists use the concept of the chronospecies since fossil reproduction cannot be examined. While these definitions may seem adequate, when looked at more they represent problematic species concepts. For example, the boundaries between related species become unclear with hybridisation, in a species complex of hundreds of similar microspecies, in a ring species. Among organisms that reproduce only asexually, the concept of a reproductive species breaks down, each clone is a microspecies. All species are given a two-part name, a "binomial"; the first part of a binomial is the genus.
The second part is called the specific epithet. For example, Boa constrictor is one of four species of the genus Boa. None of these is satisfactory definitions, but scientists and conservationists need a species definition which allows them to work, regardless of the theoretical difficulties. If species were fixed and distinct from one another, there would be no problem, but evolutionary processes cause species to change continually, to grade into one another. Species were seen from the time of Aristotle until the 18th century as fixed kinds that could be arranged in a hierarchy, the great chain of being. In the 19th century, biologists grasped. Charles Darwin's 1859 book The Origin of Species explained how species could arise by natural selection; that understanding was extended in the 20th century through genetics and population ecology. Genetic variability arises from mutations and recombination, while organisms themselves are mobile, leading to geographical isolation and genetic drift with varying selection pressures.
Genes can sometimes be exchanged between species by horizontal gene transfer. Viruses are a special case, driven by a balance of mutation and selection, can be treated as quasispecies. Biologists and taxonomists have made many attempts to define species, beginning from morphology and moving towards genetics. Early taxonomists such as Linnaeus had no option but to describe what they saw: this was formalised as the typological or morphological species concept. Ernst Mayr emphasised reproductive isolation, but this, like other species concepts, is hard or impossible to test. Biologists have tried to refine Mayr's definition with the recognition and cohesion concepts, among others. Many of the concepts are quite similar or overlap, so they are not easy to count: the biologist R. L. Mayden recorded about 24 concepts, the philosopher of science John Wilkins counted 26. Wilkins further grouped the species concepts into seven basic kinds of concepts: agamospecies for asexual organisms biospecies for reproductively isolated sexual organisms ecospecies based on ecological niches evolutionary species based on lineage genetic species based on gene pool morphospecies based on form or phenotype and taxonomic species, a species as determined by a taxonomist.
A typological species is a group of organisms in which individuals conform to certain fixed properties, so that pre-literate people recognise the same taxon as do modern taxonomists. The clusters of variations or phenotypes within specimens would differentiate the species; this method was used as a "classical" method of determining species, such as with Linnaeus early in evolutionary theory. However, different phenotypes are not different species. Species named in this manner are called morphospecies. In the 1970s, Robert R. Sokal, Theodore J. Crovello and Peter Sneath proposed a variation on this, a phenetic species, defined as a set of organisms with a similar phenotype to each other, but a different phenotype from other sets of organisms, it differs from the morphological species concept in including a numerical measure of distance or similarity to cluster entities based on multivariate comparisons of a reasonably large number of phenotypic traits. A mate-recognition species is a group of sexually reproducing organisms that recognize one another as potential mates.
Expanding on this to allow for post-mating isolation, a cohesion species is the most inclusive population of individuals having the potential for phenotypic cohesion through intrinsic cohesion mechanisms. A further development of the recognition concept is provided by the biosemiotic concept of species. In microbiology, genes can move even between distantly related bacteria extending to the whole bacterial domain; as a rule of thumb, microbiologists have assumed that kinds of Bacteria or Archaea with 16S ribosomal RNA gene sequences more similar than 97% to each other need to be checked by DNA-DNA hybridisation to decide if they belong to the same species or not. This concept was narrowed in 2006 to a similarity of 98.7%. DNA-DNA hybri
Squirrels are members of the family Sciuridae, a family that includes small or medium-size rodents. The squirrel family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, marmots, flying squirrels, prairie dogs amongst other rodents. Squirrels are indigenous to the Americas and Africa, were introduced by humans to Australia; the earliest known squirrels date from the Eocene period and are most related to the mountain beaver and to the dormouse among other living rodent families. The word "squirrel", first attested in 1327, comes from the Anglo-Norman esquirel, from the Old French escurel, the reflex of a Latin word sciurus; this Latin word was borrowed from the Ancient Greek word σκίουρος, which means shadow-tailed, referring to the bushy appendage possessed by many of its members. The native Old English word for the squirrel, ācweorna, survived only into Middle English before being replaced; the Old English word is of Common Germanic origin, cognates of which are still used in other Germanic languages, including the German Eichhörnchen, the Norwegian ikorn/ekorn, the Dutch eekhoorn, the Swedish ekorre and the Danish egern.
Squirrels are small animals, ranging in size from the African pygmy squirrel at 7–10 cm in length and just 10 g in weight, to the Laotian giant flying squirrel at 1.08 m in length and the Alpine marmot, which weighs from 5 to 8 kg. Squirrels have slender bodies with bushy tails and large eyes. In general, their fur is silky, though much thicker in some species than others; the coat color of squirrels is variable between—and even within—species. In most squirrel species, the hind limbs are longer than the fore limbs, while all species have either four or five toes on each paw; the paws, which include an poorly developed thumb, have soft pads on the undersides and versatile, sturdy claws for grasping and climbing. Tree squirrels, unlike most mammals, can descend a tree head-first, they do so by rotating their ankles 180 degrees, enabling the hind paws to point backward and thus grip the tree bark from the opposite direction. Squirrels live in every habitat, from tropical rainforest to semiarid desert, avoiding only the high polar regions and the driest of deserts.
They are predominantly herbivorous, subsisting on seeds and nuts, but many will eat insects and small vertebrates. As their large eyes indicate, squirrels have an excellent sense of vision, important for the tree-dwelling species. Many have a good sense of touch, with vibrissae on their limbs as well as their heads; the teeth of sciurids follow the typical rodent pattern, with large incisors that grow throughout life, cheek teeth that are set back behind a wide gap, or diastema. The typical dental formula for sciurids is 22.214.171.124.0.1.3. Many juvenile squirrels die in the first year of life. Adult squirrels can have a lifespan of 5 to 10 years in the wild; some can survive 10 to 20 years in captivity. Premature death may be caused when a nest falls from the tree, in which case the mother may abandon her young if their body temperature is not correct. Many such baby squirrels have been rescued and fostered by a professional wildlife rehabilitator until they could be safely returned to the wild, although the density of squirrel populations in many places and the constant care required by premature squirrels means that few rehabilitators are willing to spend their time doing this and such animals are euthanized instead.
Squirrels mate either once or twice a year and, following a gestation period of three to six weeks, give birth to a number of offspring that varies by species. The young are altricial, being born naked and blind. In most species of squirrel, the female alone looks after the young, which are weaned at six to ten weeks and become sexually mature by the end of their first year. In general, the ground-dwelling squirrel species are social living in well-developed colonies, while the tree-dwelling species are more solitary. Ground squirrels and tree squirrels are either diurnal or crepuscular, while the flying squirrels tend to be nocturnal—except for lactating flying squirrels and their young, which have a period of diurnality during the summer; because squirrels cannot digest cellulose, they must rely on foods rich in protein and fats. In temperate regions, early spring is the hardest time of year for squirrels because the nuts they buried are beginning to sprout, while many of the usual food sources have not yet become available.
During these times, squirrels rely on the buds of trees. Squirrels, being herbivores, eat a wide variety of plants, as well as nuts, conifer cones, fruits and green vegetation; some squirrels, however consume meat when faced with hunger. Squirrels have been known to eat small birds, young snakes, smaller rodents, as well as bird eggs and insects. Indeed, some tropical squirrel species have shifted entirely to a diet of insects. Predatory behavior has been observed in various species of ground squirrels, in particular the thirteen-lined ground squirrel. For example, Bailey, a scientist in the 1920s, observed a thirteen-lined ground squirrel preying upon a young chicken. Wistrand reported seeing this same species eating a freshly killed snake. Whitaker examined the stomachs of 139 thirteen-lined ground squirrels and found bird flesh in four of the specimens and the remains of a short-tailed shrew in one.
New Mexico is a state in the Southwestern region of the United States of America. It is one of the Mountain States and shares the Four Corners region with Utah and Arizona. With a population around two million, New Mexico is the 36th state by population. With a total area of 121,592 sq mi, it is the fifth-largest and sixth-least densely populated of the 50 states. Due to their geographic locations and eastern New Mexico exhibit a colder, alpine climate, while western and southern New Mexico exhibit a warmer, arid climate; the economy of New Mexico is dependent on oil drilling, mineral extraction, dryland farming, cattle ranching, lumber milling, retail trade. As of 2016–2017, its total gross domestic product was $95 billion with a GDP per capita of $45,465. New Mexico's status as a tax haven yields low to moderate personal income taxes on residents and military personnel, gives tax credits and exemptions to favorable industries; because of this, its film industry contributed $1.23 billion to its overall economy.
Due to its large area and economic climate, New Mexico has a large U. S. military presence marked notably with the White Sands Missile Range. Various U. S. national security agencies base their research and testing arms in New Mexico such as the Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories. During the 1940s, Project Y of the Manhattan Project developed and built the country's first atomic bomb and nuclear test, Trinity. Inhabited by Native Americans for many thousands of years before European exploration, it was colonized by the Spanish in 1598 as part of the Imperial Spanish viceroyalty of New Spain. In 1563, it was named Nuevo México after the Aztec Valley of Mexico by Spanish settlers, more than 250 years before the establishment and naming of the present-day country of Mexico. After Mexican independence in 1824, New Mexico became a Mexican territory with considerable autonomy; this autonomy was threatened, however, by the centralizing tendencies of the Mexican government from the 1830s onward, with rising tensions leading to the Revolt of 1837.
At the same time, the region became more economically dependent on the United States. At the conclusion of the Mexican–American War in 1848, the United States annexed New Mexico as the U. S. New Mexico Territory, it was admitted to the Union as the 47th state on January 6, 1912. Its history has given New Mexico the highest percentage of Hispanic and Latino Americans, the second-highest percentage of Native Americans as a population proportion. New Mexico is home to part of the Navajo Nation, 19 federally recognized Pueblo communities of Puebloan peoples, three different federally recognized Apache tribes. In prehistoric times, the area was home to Ancestral Puebloans and the modern extant Comanche and Utes inhabited the state; the largest Hispanic and Latino groups represented include the Hispanos of New Mexico and Mexican Americans. The flag of New Mexico features the state's Spanish origins with the same scarlet and gold coloration as Spain's Cross of Burgundy, along with the ancient sun symbol of the Zia, a Puebloan tribe.
These indigenous, Mexican and American frontier roots are reflected in the eponymous New Mexican cuisine and the New Mexico music genre. New Mexico received its name long before the present-day nation of Mexico won independence from Spain and adopted that name in 1821. Though the name “Mexico” itself derives from Nahuatl, in that language it referred to the heartland of the Empire of the Mexicas in the Valley of Mexico far from the area of New Mexico, Spanish explorers used the term “Mexico” to name the region of New Mexico in 1563. In 1581, the Chamuscado and Rodríguez Expedition named the region north of the Rio Grande "San Felipe del Nuevo México"; the Spaniards had hoped to find wealthy indigenous Mexica cultures there similar to those of the Aztec Empire of the Valley of Mexico. The indigenous cultures of New Mexico, proved to be unrelated to the Mexicas, they were not wealthy, but the name persisted. Before statehood, the name "New Mexico" was applied to various configurations of the U.
S. territory, to a Mexican state, to a province of New Spain, all in the same general area, but of varying extensions. With a total area of 121,699 square miles, the state is the fifth-largest state of the US, larger than British Isles. New Mexico's eastern border lies along 103°W longitude with the state of Oklahoma, 2.2 miles west of 103°W longitude with Texas. On the southern border, Texas makes up the eastern two-thirds, while the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sonora make up the western third, with Chihuahua making up about 90% of that; the western border with Arizona runs along the 109° 03'W longitude. The southwestern corner of the state is known as the Bootheel; the 37°N parallel forms the northern boundary with Colorado. The states of New Mexico, Colorado and Utah come together at the Four Corners in New Mexico's northwestern corner. New Mexico has no natural water sources
Alberta is a western province of Canada. With an estimated population of 4,067,175 as of 2016 census, it is Canada's fourth most populous province and the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces, its area is about 660,000 square kilometres. Alberta and its neighbour Saskatchewan were districts of the Northwest Territories until they were established as provinces on September 1, 1905; the premier has been Rachel Notley since May 2015. Alberta is bounded by the provinces of British Columbia to the west and Saskatchewan to the east, the Northwest Territories to the north, the U. S. state of Montana to the south. Alberta is one of three Canadian provinces and territories to border only a single U. S. state and one of only two landlocked provinces. It has a predominantly humid continental climate, with stark contrasts over a year. Alberta's capital, Edmonton, is near the geographic centre of the province and is the primary supply and service hub for Canada's crude oil, the Athabasca oil sands and other northern resource industries.
About 290 km south of the capital is the largest city in Alberta. Calgary and Edmonton centre Alberta's two census metropolitan areas, both of which have populations exceeding one million, while the province has 16 census agglomerations. Tourist destinations in the province include Banff, Drumheller, Sylvan Lake and Lake Louise. Alberta is named after the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria. Princess Louise was the wife of Marquess of Lorne, Governor General of Canada. Lake Louise and Mount Alberta were named in her honour. Alberta, with an area of 661,848 km2, is the fourth-largest province after Quebec and British Columbia. To the south, the province borders on the 49th parallel north, separating it from the U. S. state of Montana, while to the north the 60th parallel north divides it from the Northwest Territories. To the east, the 110th meridian west separates it from the province of Saskatchewan, while on the west its boundary with British Columbia follows the 120th meridian west south from the Northwest Territories at 60°N until it reaches the Continental Divide at the Rocky Mountains, from that point follows the line of peaks marking the Continental Divide in a southeasterly direction until it reaches the Montana border at 49°N.
The province extends 660 km east to west at its maximum width. Its highest point is 3,747 m at the summit of Mount Columbia in the Rocky Mountains along the southwest border while its lowest point is 152 m on the Slave River in Wood Buffalo National Park in the northeast. With the exception of the semi-arid steppe of the south-eastern section, the province has adequate water resources. There are numerous lakes used for swimming, fishing and a range of water sports. There are three large lakes, Lake Claire in Wood Buffalo National Park, Lesser Slave Lake, Lake Athabasca which lies in both Alberta and Saskatchewan; the longest river in the province is the Athabasca River which travels 1,538 km from the Columbia Icefield in the Rocky Mountains to Lake Athabasca. The largest river is the Peace River with an average flow of 2161 m3/s; the Peace River originates in the Rocky Mountains of northern British Columbia and flows through northern Alberta and into the Slave River, a tributary of the Mackenzie River.
Alberta's capital city, Edmonton, is located at about the geographic centre of the province. It is the most northerly major city in Canada, serves as a gateway and hub for resource development in northern Canada; the region, with its proximity to Canada's largest oil fields, has most of western Canada's oil refinery capacity. Calgary is about 280 km south of Edmonton and 240 km north of Montana, surrounded by extensive ranching country. 75% of the province's population lives in the Calgary–Edmonton Corridor. The land grant policy to the railroads served as a means to populate the province in its early years. Most of the northern half of the province is boreal forest, while the Rocky Mountains along the southwestern boundary are forested; the southern quarter of the province is prairie, ranging from shortgrass prairie in the southeastern corner to mixed grass prairie in an arc to the west and north of it. The central aspen parkland region extending in a broad arc between the prairies and the forests, from Calgary, north to Edmonton, east to Lloydminster, contains the most fertile soil in the province and most of the population.
Much of the unforested part of Alberta is given over either to grain or to dairy farming, with mixed farming more common in the north and centre, while ranching and irrigated agriculture predominate in the south. The Alberta badlands are located in southeastern Alberta, where the Red Deer River crosses the flat prairie and farmland, features deep canyons and striking landforms. Dinosaur Provincial Park, near Brooks, showcases the badlands terrain, desert flora, remnants from Alberta's past when dinosaurs roamed the lush landscape. Alberta has a humid continental climate with cold winters; the province is open to cold arctic weather systems from the north, which produce cold conditions in winter. As the fronts between the air masses shift north and south across Alberta, the temperature can change rapidly. Arctic
A cone is an organ on plants in the division Pinophyta that contains the reproductive structures. The familiar woody cone is the female cone; the male cones, which produce pollen, are herbaceous and much less conspicuous at full maturity. The name "cone" derives from the fact; the individual plates of a cone are known as scales. The male cone is structurally similar across all conifers, differing only in small ways from species to species. Extending out from a central axis are microsporophylls. Under each microsporophyll is several microsporangia; the female cone contains ovules. The female cone structure varies more markedly between the different conifer families, is crucial for the identification of many species of conifers; the members of the pine family have cones. These pine cones the woody female cones, are considered the "archetypal" tree cones; the female cone has two types of scale: the bract scales, the seed scales, one subtended by each bract scale, derived from a modified branchlet. On the upper-side base of each seed scale are two ovules that develop into seeds after fertilization by pollen grains.
The bract scales develop first, are conspicuous at the time of pollination. The scales open temporarily to receive gametophytes close during fertilization and maturation, re-open again at maturity to allow the seed to escape. Maturation takes 6–8 months from pollination in most Pinaceae genera, but 12 months in cedars and 18–24 months in most pines; the cones open either by the seed scales flexing back when they dry out, or by the cones disintegrating with the seed scales falling off. The cones are conic, cylindrical or ovoid, small to large, from 2–60 cm long and 1–20 cm broad. After ripening, the opening of non-serotinous pine cones is associated with their moisture content—cones are open when dry and closed when wet; this assures that the small, wind disseminated seeds will be dispersed during dry weather, thus, the distance traveled from the parent tree will be enhanced. A pine cone will go through many cycles of opening and closing during its life span after seed dispersal is complete; this process occurs with older cones while attached to branches and after the older cones have fallen to the forest floor.
The condition of fallen pine cones is a crude indication of the forest floor's moisture content, an important indication of wildfire risk. Closed cones indicate damp conditions; as a result of this, pine cones have been used by people in temperate climates to predict dry and wet weather hanging a harvested pine cone from some string outside to measure the humidity of the air. Members of the Araucariaceae have the bract and seed scales fused, have only one ovule on each scale; the cones are spherical or nearly so, large to large, 5–30 cm diameter, mature in 18 months. In Agathis, the seeds are winged and separate from the seed scale, but in the other two genera, the seed is wingless and fused to the scale; the cones of the Podocarpaceae are similar in function, though not in development, to those of the Taxaceae, being berry-like with the scales modified, evolved to attract birds into dispersing the seeds. In most of the genera, two to ten or more scales are fused together into a swollen, brightly coloured, edible fleshy aril.
Only one or two scales at the apex of the cone are fertile, each bearing a single wingless seed, but in Saxegothaea several scales may be fertile. The fleshy scale complex is 0.5–3 cm long, the seeds 4–10 mm long. In some genera, the scales are minute and not fleshy, but the seed coat develops a fleshy layer instead, the cone having the appearance of one to three small plums on a central stem; the seeds have a hard coat evolved to resist digestion in the bird's stomach. Members of the cypress family differ in that the bract and seed scales are fused, with the bract visible as no more than a small lump or spine on the scale; the botanical term galbulus is sometimes used instead of strobilus for members of this family. The female cones have one to 20 ovules on each scale, they have peltate scales, as opposed to the imbricate cones described above, though some have imbricate scales. The cones are small, 0.3–6 cm or 1⁄8–2 3⁄8 inches long, spherical or nearly so, like those of Nootka cypress, while others, such as western redcedar and California incense-cedar, are narrow.
The scales are arranged either spirally, or in decussate whorls of two or three four. The genera with spiral scale arrangement were treated in a separate family in the past. In most of the genera, the cones are woody and the seeds have two narrow wings, but in three genera, the seeds are wingless, in Juniperus, the cones are fleshy and