Tasmanian devil

The Tasmanian devil is a carnivorous marsupial of the family Dasyuridae. It was once native to mainland Australia and is now found in the wild only on the island state of Tasmania, including tiny east-coast Maria Island where there is a conservation project with disease-free animals; the size of a small dog, the Tasmanian devil became the largest carnivorous marsupial in the world following the extinction of the thylacine in 1936. It is distantly related to the thylacine, it is characterised by its stocky and muscular build, black fur, pungent odour loud and disturbing screech, keen sense of smell, ferocity when feeding. The Tasmanian devil's large head and neck allow it to generate among the strongest bites per unit body mass of any extant predatory land mammal, it hunts prey and scavenges carrion as well as eating household products if humans are living nearby. Although it is solitary, it sometimes eats with other devils and defecates in a communal location. Unlike most other dasyurids, the devil thermoregulates and is active during the middle of the day without overheating.

Despite its rotund appearance, the devil is capable of surprising speed and endurance, can climb trees and swim across rivers. It is believed that ancient marsupials migrated from what is now South America to Australia tens of millions of years ago during the time of Gondwana, that they evolved as Australia became more arid. Fossils of species similar to modern devils have been found, but it is not known whether they were ancestors of the contemporary species, or whether the current devils co-existed with these species; the date that the Tasmanian devil became locally extinct from the Australian mainland is unclear. A tooth found in Augusta, Western Australia has been dated to 430 years ago, but archaeologist Oliver Brown disputes this and considers the devil's mainland extinction to have occurred around 3000 years ago; this disappearance is blamed on dingoes, which are absent from Tasmania. Devils were hunted and became endangered in Tasmania because they were seen as a threat to livestock and animals that humans hunted for fur.

In 1941, the devils, which were seen as implacably vicious, became protected. Since scientists have contended that earlier concerns that the devils were the most significant threat to livestock were overestimated and misplaced. Devils are not monogamous, their reproductive process is robust and competitive. Males fight one another for the females, guard their partners to prevent female infidelity. Females can ovulate three times in as many weeks during the mating season, 80% of two-year-old females are seen to be pregnant during the annual mating season. Females average four breeding seasons in their life and give birth to 20–30 live young after three weeks' gestation; the newborn lack fur, have indistinct facial features and weigh around 0.20 g at birth. As there are only four nipples in the pouch, competition is fierce and few newborns survive; the young grow and are ejected from the pouch after around 100 days, weighing 200 g. The young become independent after around nine months, so the female spends most of her year in activities related to birth and rearing.

Since the late 1990s, the devil facial tumour disease has drastically reduced the devil population and now threatens the survival of the species, which in 2008 was declared to be endangered. Programs are being undertaken by the Government of Tasmania to reduce the impact of the disease, including an initiative to build up a group of healthy devils in captivity, isolated from the disease. While the thylacine was extant it preyed on the devil, which targeted young and unattended thylacine cubs in their dens. Localised populations of devils have been reduced by collisions with motor vehicles when they are eating roadkill; the devil is an iconic symbol of Tasmania and many organisations and products associated with the state use the animal in their logos. It is seen as an important attractor of tourists to Tasmania and has come to worldwide attention through the Looney Tunes character of the same name. Starting in 2013, Tasmanian devils are again being sent to zoos around the world as part of the Australian government's Save the Tasmanian Devil Program.

Believing it to be a type of opossum, naturalist George Harris wrote the first published description of the Tasmanian devil in 1807, naming it Didelphis ursina, due to its bearlike characteristics such as the round ear. He had earlier made a presentation on the topic at the Zoological Society of London. However, that particular binomial name had been given to the common wombat by George Shaw in 1800, was hence unavailable. In 1838, a specimen was named Dasyurus laniarius by Richard Owen, but by 1877 he had relegated it to Sarcophilus; the modern Tasmanian devil was named Sarcophilus harrisii by French naturalist Pierre Boitard in 1841. A revision of the devil's taxonomy, published in 1987, attempted to change the species name to Sarcophilus laniarius based on mainland fossil records of only a few animals. However, this was not accepted by the taxonomic community at large. "Beelzebub's pup" was an early vernacular name given to it by the explorers of Tasmania, in reference to a religious figure, a prince of hell and an assistant of Satan.

Related names that were used in the 19th century we

Samalayuca Dune Fields

The Samalayuca Dune Fields, more traditionally known as Los Medanos, or more referenced as Medanos de Samalayuca are a series of large but separated fields of sand dunes located in the northern part of the Mexican state of Chihuahua. The dune fields are scattered over a wide expanse of desert to the south and southeast of Ciudad Juárez; the dune fields are located in a 2000 km2 area known as the Samalayuca Desert. The Samalayuca Desert and its dune fields are part of the much larger Chihuahua Desert region; the best known portion of the Samalayuca Dune Fields lie around the village of Samalayuca. These dune fields are the most noticeable because they lie across the much traveled north–south route between Chihuahua City and El Paso del Norte; this portion of the dunes is the most dramatic, having high dune profiles shaped by the wind in the lee of Cerro de Samalayuca. The dunes are composed of pure quartz, they are tan in appearance. They move with the wind; the wind has formed the dunes by carrying sand until it became deposited and concentrated in natural land depressions.

The action of the wind continues to reshape the dunes. Some of the dunes near Samalayuca are tall and shaped and marked by the wind. For centuries the sands of these dune fields were significant because they lay across the much traveled north–south route between Chihuahua City and "The Pass of the North" at the site of the border cities of Ciudad Juárez and El Paso. Before the era of the modern highway and the railroad, travel by foot, horse or oxen across this extended barrier of some 30 kilometers of loose sand was laborious and dangerous, but travelers had the option of a longer detour around the east side of the dune fields. Today the dune fields are becoming known for their tourist and recreational potential, as a habitat for the many unique endemic species of plants and animals living in a rare ecosystem in the Samalayuca desert; the high silica content of the sands has attracted industrial interest. The sand dune area has traditionally been referred to as "Los Medanos" or the dunes; the name Samalayuca Dune Fields is of more recent origin.

The name "Los Medanos" is more used in historical accounts. And the dune fields are referred by Spanish and non Spanish speakers as Medanos de Samalayuca; the field and the desert gets its name from the town of Chihuahua. There are historic springs in the area; the town is adjacent to the dramatic high dunes that lies some 52 km directly south of Ciudad Juárez just east of Mexico Federal Highway 45. These high dunes are formed by the prevailing winds from the northwest dropping sands in the lee of Cerro de Samalayuca, which lies close to Samalayuca village; the most dramatic portion of the Samalayuca dune fields lie east and west of Mexican Federal Highway 45 and the parallel Mexican Railway in an area 30 to 60 miles south of Juarez. This major north south highway and railroad, between Ciudad Juarez and the city of Chihuahua crosses through this dune area, low dunes are visible for many kilometers on each side of the highway; the dramatic high dunes that exist close to the village of Samalayuca may be seen in the distance from Federal Highway 45.

These dune fields are formed by the prevailing wind from the northwest dropping sand particles in the lee of the Sierra Samalayuca. Besides the high dunes appearing in the area of the village of Samalayuca, the dune fields lie in several other areas of the Samalayuca desert to the southwest and southeast of Ciudad Juarez. A lesser known part of the Salamayuca dune field extends to the west from Samalayuca into the area southwest from Ciudad Juárez; this area is larger than the more dramatic high dune area near Samalayuca, comprise the bulk of the Samalayuca desert area. These dune fields extend to the north where they lie across the right of way of the defunct Mexico North Western Railway and extend into the Chihuahua municipality of Ascension. Smaller dune fields extends to the east from the town of Salamayuca, into the municipality of Guadalupe; the Samalayuca Dune fields lie directly across the main route of the Chihuahua Trail, part of the longer route known as El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, or the royal road of the interior.

The portion of this route known as the Chihuahua Trail went north from Chihuahua City to Sante Fe, in New Mexico. From the time the Spanish colonial city of Sante Fe was founded in 1598 by the Spanish explorer Juan de Oñate there was steady and increasing freight and passenger traffic on this route; the only major river on the trail was the Rio Grande. The trail crossed the river via a ford near the famous pass between the Juarez and Franklin mountain ranges; this ford and pass came to be known as "the Pass" or "The Pass of the North", a town by the same name was first established south of the river, at the site of present-day Ciudad Juarez. A separate community known as El Paso del Norte, was established on the north side of the river in 1849 after the Mexican-U. S. War on United States Territory; the original Mexican community of El Paso del Norte south of the river changed its name to Ciudad Juarez in 1865. However, in the segment of the Chihuahua trail from Chihuahua City and El Paso del Norte, where the trail reached a point some 45 miles south of the Pass of the North, the trail encountered a 15-mile stretch of the Samalayuca dune fields.

The wind shifted and renewed the deep and finely gain


Suijin is the Shinto god of water in Japan. The term Suijin refers to the heavenly and earthly manifestations of the benevolent Shinto divinity of water. However, it refers to a wide variety of mythological and magical creatures found in lakes, ponds and wells, including serpents, fish and the flesh-eating kappa; as Mizu no Kamisama, Mizugami, or Suijin, this kami is revered in Japan, being a big part of Japanese culture, is worshiped in temples. Suijin is known as the Water god and Sui-ō/Suiu. Suijin is sometimes conflated with Ryūjin, the dragon kami, associated with water. Fudō Myōō is sometimes termed Suijin because of his association with the waterfall. In most cases, Suijin appears as a stone plaque, or a simple small stone set upright near a spring’s emergence; the Water Kami is the guardian of the fishing folk, a patron saint of fertility and easy childbirth. One reason people worship and praise the Water Kami and give offerings to it is to hope for pure and unpolluted water for human consumption, as well as for other uses like agriculture and sanitation.

Other reasons of worship include praying for success in fishing trips, praying for successful and good fertility and motherhood, as well as for easy childbirth. Shrines devoted to the worship of the Water Kami are called "Suitengū Shrines". One example is the Suitengū Shrine in Kurume, the main shrine of all Suitengū Shrines in Japan, it is known to those praying for safe and easy childbirth. Another famous Suitengū Shrine is the Tsukiji Suijin Shrine, located near the Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo, in order to protect and watch over the fishers and their businesses. Throughout Japan, this deity is worshipped at Suitengū Shrines and through the means of votive stone markers devoted to the Water Kami throughout the countryside. Most of these stone markers can be found enshrined at dikes of agricultural irrigation canals, along rice paddy fields, at mountain springs, normal springs, rivers, household wells, inside sewage water and septic tanks; when a Suijin stone marker is enshrined at mountain springs, that form sources for agricultural waterways, it is labeled as Water distributing kami, in which cases they may be associated with the kami of the mountain.

There is a vast number of festivals that are dedicated to the Water Kami, most of them being concentrated in summer and winter, though emphasis is placed on observances in summer. The core of the summer festival is found at the Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto and at the Tsushima Shrine in Tsushima; the observances have the significant role of exorcism of bad spirits and purification aimed at dangerous epidemic diseases and water-related disasters which happen during the summer. An example list of some of the festivals based on worshipping Suijin: Suijin Matsuri, December 1 and June 15 — On these days in Japan, various locations hold the Suijin Matsuri, a Shinto celebration and ceremony to honor the Kami of Water. Kamakura Matsuri, Akita Prefecture, Around February 15–17 each year — Igloos are built with a small alcove inside dedicated to Suijin, honored during this festival to ensure good crops in the coming year; this festival has a history of over 400 years. Suijin-sai, April 3, Funabashi Fishing Harbor — A festival to pray for a good fishing haul and safety at sea.

All fishing boats from the area gather in the harbor with their flags streaming in the wind, a "Kagura" ritual, dedicated to the god of the sea, is performed on board the vessels. An important ritual since the Edo Period, the festival is called Funa-sai for short. Suitengū Spring Festival, Kurume City, May 3–5 — This annual festival, held at the Suitengū Shrine in Kurume City, is over 800 years old. Participants pray for safe and easy child birth, for protection from drowning, to ask for the safety and health of children; this festival is held at other Suitengū sites in Japan on May 5. Another major festival in Kurume City is the Water Festival, which takes place from August 3 to 5. Okinohata Suitengu Festival, May 3–5 — Held on the canal by the shrine for three days and nights, with about 30,000 visitors. Many pray for their children to be protected from drowning. Gion Festival, Around July 25, Near Tsukuba — Anniversary feast of Suijin-gū Shrine of Tsuchiura City. Water is splashed over the portable shrine.

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