Small mammals, at times, don’t seem very interesting or informative (like when there is a rat in your apartment and you just want it out.) A lot of paleontologists are keen on studying enormous carnivorous beasts like dinosaurs and sabre-toothed …
I’m usually thinking about eggs. Not chocolate eggs (well, maybe this time of year), but fossil eggs. I am really interested in fossil eggs and what they tell us about behavior, but also the environments they were laid in. I …
It’s time to stop feeling sheepish and discuss poop. That’s right. You may not know this, but both modern and fossil poop can tell us so much information about biology, ecology, and environments that I think we need to talk …
Paleoecology, Paleodiets, and Paleobiology
In my last entry, I explained the basics of stable isotope geochemistry for paleoecology. Now that we have covered what isotopes are and how they work, you may be wondering: what can we use them for …
For the better part of the past three decades, stable isotope geochemistry has become an increasingly common tool vertebrate paleontologists use to find out more about the biology and ecology of extinct organisms. The diet and ecology of an animal …
For my inaugural post here at The Integrative Paleontologists, I am going to discuss a recent paper in PLOS ONE that highlights some of the aspects I love most about being a comparative biologist.
Paleoecology is the area of paleontology …
Teasing out the insulin effect.
On the face of it, the study seems to come out of left field: A group of researchers claimed that marijuana smokers showed 16 per cent lower fasting insulin levels than non-smokers. The study, called “The Impact of Marijuana Use on Glucose, Insulin, and Insulin Resistance among US Adults,” is in press for The American Journal of Medicine. The authors are a diverse group of medical researchers from Harvard, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and […]
Penner E.A., Buettner H. & Mittleman M.A. (2013). The Impact of Marijuana Use on Glucose, Insulin, and Insulin Resistance among US Adults, The American Journal of Medicine, DOI: 10.1016/j.amjmed.2013.03.002
Recently we attended the Medical Library Association conference (#MLAnet13). Librarians are working so hard to wrangle information into usable forms, and to generate new connections among data types to reveal new information and leads for further studies. I ♥ librarians. In one of the sessions I attended on Medical Informatics, I heard several great talks. One [...]
Rabinowitz, P., Scotch, M. & Conti, L. (2010). Animals as Sentinels: Using Comparative Medicine To Move Beyond the Laboratory, ILAR Journal, 51 (3) 262-267. DOI: 10.1093/ilar.51.3.262
Rabinowitz, P., Gordon, Z., Holmes, R., Taylor, B., Wilcox, M., Chudnov, D., Nadkarni, P. & Dein, F. (2005). Animals as Sentinels of Human Environmental Health Hazards: An Evidence-Based Analysis, EcoHealth, 2 (1) 26-37. DOI: 10.1007/s10393-004-0151-1
Rabinowitz, P., Cullen, M. & Lake, H. (1999). Wildlife as sentinels for human health hazards: a review of study designs, Journal of Environmental Medicine, 1 (4) 217-223. DOI: 10.1002/jem.33
Canine cognition is a hot topic these days, using experiments and brain imaging as research tools. The trouble with brain imaging work is that it is invasive, to the extent that animals may have to be sedated or anaesthetized for the study. All that changed with the amazing work of Gregory Berns et al and the first-ever fMRI study on awake, unrestrained dogs last year. Now Miiamaaria Kujala et al in Finland have shown that it is also possible to do a non-invasive EEG with dogs.An EEG
Kujala, M., Törnqvist, H., Somppi, S., Hänninen, L., Krause, C., Vainio, O. & Kujala, J. (2013). Reactivity of Dogs' Brain Oscillations to Visual Stimuli Measured with Non-Invasive Electroencephalography, PLoS ONE, 8 (5) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061818
Ma, H., Qin, L., Dong, C., Zhong, R. & Sato, Y. (2013). Comparison of Neural Responses to Cat Meows and Human Vowels in the Anterior and Posterior Auditory Field of Awake Cats, PLoS ONE, 8 (1) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0052942
When animals live caves full time, their descendents often lose their eyes. It has happened over and over and over and over again, in all different kinds of animals. But how this happens is not obvious. Stephen Jay Gould wrote that some people would use cave fish as an argument that “Lamarck must have been on to something” with his idea that acquired characteristics can be inherited. Well, no, that’s not that case, but it is a good example of how tricky thinking about losses can be.
Carlini D.B., Satish S. & Fong D.W. (2013). Parallel reduction in expression, but no loss of functional constraint, in two opsin paralogs within cave populations of Gammarus minus (Crustacea: Amphipoda), BMC Evolutionary Biology, 13 (1) 89. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-13-89
Can experimental findings look too good to be true?
Last week I wrote a blog post about some experiments showing a counterintuitive finding regarding how the need to urinate affects decision making. It’s since been brought to my attention that these experiments (along with dozens of others) have ...Read More
Francis G. (2012). The Psychology of Replication and Replication in Psychology, Perspectives on Psychological Science, 7 (6) 585-594. DOI: 10.1177/1745691612459520
Francis G. (2012). Publication bias and the failure of replication in experimental psychology, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 19 (6) 975-991. DOI: 10.3758/s13423-012-0322-y