by Claire Eamer
‘Tis the season, yet again, for the world-famous, never-to-be-missed Your Yukon Christmas Quiz! You’ve browsed the columns all year long, spilled coffee on a few of them, used some to line the birdcage, and ... well ... you know the rest. Now it’s time to test your recall.
Here’s a baker’s dozen of 13 (no - we’re not superstitious!) skill-testing questions to determine your standing in the Your Yukon world. Give yourself a point for every correct answer. Count them up to discover whether you’re:
* Whizzus yukonensis (11-13)
* Swattus borealis (7-10)
* Gotta studius (4-6)
* Sayus whattis? (0-3)
And don’t worry. You don’t have to raid the birdcage to check old columns. They’re all online at www.taiga.net/yourYukon/archives2010.html.
1) What is the Blitzkrieg hypothesis?
a. A theory that climate change will lead to severe lightning storms and massive wildfire outbreaks.
b. An alternate-history retelling of the Second World War.
c. The theory that humans hunted to extinction the giant ice-age animals of North America.
d. An approach to ecofriendly home lighting involving a single large light and linked reflectors.
2) Scientists studying the decline of the rusty blackbird face an unusual problem. What is it?
a. The birds are almost impossible to find once leaves turn rust-coloured in the fall.
b. It’s extremely difficult to tell the young and adult birds apart.
c. After years of study, the birds can spot scientists from a distance and have learned to avoid them.
d. The decline is over. They’re gone.
3) One Yukon-led International Polar Year research project is called ArcticWOLVES. What does it stand for?
a. It’s not an acronym. It actually means “arctic wolves.”
b. Arctic Wolf/Owl/Lemming/Vole Ecosystem Studies
c. Arctic Wilderness and Outdoors-Linked Virtual Education Systems
d. Arctic Wildlife Observatories Linking Vulnerable EcoSystems.
4) What do fish biologists call a “sneaker”?
a. A fish poacher.
b. A male freshwater char that sneaks in and fertilizes the eggs of spawning sea-run females.
c. A special kind of rubber boot designed for good grip in places like spawning streams.
d. An optical device used to observe fish underwater.
5) Where do Herschel Island’s snowy owls go in the winter?
a. To Newfoundland, in an extremely rare west-east migration.
b. They don’t go anywhere. They got their name because they hibernate in burrows under the snow.
c. They stick around the western Arctic.
d. Kelowna, British Columbia, where they prey on the city’s huge rabbit population.
6) What’s distinctive about the reindeer of Norway’s Svalbard archipelago?
a. They only speak Norwegian.
b. They’re short-legged and podgy, the Shetland ponies of the caribou-reindeer world.
c. They have black and white stripes to help them blend in with the archipelago’s dominant ice and rock.
d. They migrate by swimming all the way to mainland Norway.
7) What is Snowball Earth?
a. A fancy dessert invented by an Inuvik chef to compete with the famous Baked Alaska.
b. The most northerly theme park in the world, located in Siberia.
c. A curious meteorological phenomenon in which strong winds blow a mix of snow and dust into balls.
d. An extreme cold period that may have covered most of Earth in ice more than half a billion years ago.
8) What is the Little John archeological site near Beaver Creek known for?
a. It’s the only North American site clearly identified with the famous outlaw, Robin Hood.
b. Some of the oldest signs of human habitation in Canada have been found there.
c. Multiple layers of pottery fragments that have allowed researchers to date human use of the site.
d. Discovery of an almost-intact woolly mammoth calf, frozen in the permafrost.
9) What helps the wood frogs of Kluane National Park make it through the winter?
a. They have a kind of antifreeze in their blood.
b. They’re the only amphibians that grow fur in winter.
c. They move into the basements of buildings in Haines Junction.
d. They share the nests of hibernating ground squirrels.
10) What protects the microscopic algae called diatoms?
a. A poisonous coating.
b. Glass cases.
c. Tiny stingers.
d. An iron-clad insurance policy.
11) Spring showers in the Yukon often leave puddles coated with yellow powder. What is it?
a. Long-range pollutants from gas fields in Siberia.
b. Aphid droppings washed off leaves by the rain.
c. Wild lemonade.
d. Pollen from coniferous trees.
12) What’s so special about the Yukon pine, Wayne Strong’s newly named variety of lodgepole pine?
a. It’s a dwarf version of its southern relatives, rarely growing taller than 30 centimetres.
b. It has smooth bark, needles that come in bundles of three or more, and often a double trunk.
c. It’s the only known conifer to grow entirely underwater.
d. It’s the latest creation of the Yukon Department of Tourism and Culture.
13) Many of the Yukon’s spider species don’t have names. Why is that?
a. They haven’t been introduced.
b. They’re members of Spiders Anonymous, a spider self-help group.
c. Very little research has been done on northern spiders.
d. Nobody likes them enough to talk to them.
This column is co-ordinated by the Northern Research Institute at Yukon College with major financial support from Environment Yukon and Yukon College. The articles are archived at www.taiga.net/yourYukon. Happy Holidays from all the Your
Answers: 1c, 2b, 3d, 4b, 5c, 6b, 7d, 8b, 9a, 10b, 11d, 12b, 13c