Ogden baseball fans who catch "Raptor fever" this season could learn a lot about a modern-day version of their mascot from Weber State University zoology professor Carl Marti.
Marti is an internationally recognized expert on raptors. He serves as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Raptor Research, distributed to some 1,300 scientists worldwide.But Marti's journal isn't about an extinct ancient dinosaur. It's about birds of prey called raptors.
Marti said the term "raptor" originally referred to a type of claw. He said the fierce dinosaur's curved, grasping claws are similar to the effective hunting tools of today's birds of prey.
"Raptors have highly developed senses," Marti said. "They are among the most finely tuned fowls. That's what makes them interesting."
Like the ancient raptor dinosaur, many species of raptors are headed for natural extinction, Marti said. Meanwhile, scientists are studying raptors with renewed interest out of concern for the environment, he said.
"Raptors are at the top of the food chain," Marti said. "When their number diminishes, this indicates problems in the ecosystem."
Marti said scientists will learn how to better manage the environment as they discover why the world raptor population is declining.