December 18, 2014

3:17 PM | Test Your Knowledge of Extinct and Endangered Species
Take the first Zoologic quiz: Extinct or Endangered ? Do you know which species are gone forever, and which still might be saved?  
1:45 PM | Say ‘Hello’ to Professor Wu
A 4-foot long Chinese giant salamander named Professor Wu arrived at London Zoo to serve as an ambassador for his species. The 19-year-old amphibian is named after one of the conservation project’s partners in China. Read more about this critically endangered species and efforts to save Professor Wu’s wild relatives in my latest Nat Geo Weird & Wild post: 4-Foot Salamander Arrives in London as Face of New Conservatin Effort .
10:28 AM | We’re Number One! We’re Number One!
Some great news this week – the joint SRUC and University of Edinburgh submission to the UK’s Research Excellence Framework was ranked as number one in the UK for agriculture and veterinary sciences. There’s a lot of very happy and … Continue reading →

December 17, 2014

5:02 PM | The Year in Review
FluffySciences is now just over a year old! It feels much older for some reason. We average 13 views a day and July was the biggest month. Most people find us on google by searching ‘FluffyScience Blog’ so if that’s … Continue reading →

December 16, 2014

5:44 PM | Communication, not mutations
Communicating Across Kingdoms? Researchers pinpoint microRNAs that could play a role in how Wolbachia bacteria manipulate their arthropod hosts. By Sandhya Sekar | December 15, 2014 Excerpt: “I am not sure that I would call this ‘communication,’ however,” he added,...Read more
3:51 PM | My study species in four facts
The last few months have been a blur of conferences, workshops. I attended a fantastic two week course on sensory ecology in Sweden (read about that here and here), I […]
10:36 AM | The ethology of attraction to bad boys
It was not only the natural selection that favored warlike men, but also the sexual selection. In archaic times, the combative behavior implied not only chances of survival, but also a more significant reproductive success. Women’s preferences for combative individuals have evolved in parallel with men’s aggressiveness. Numerous studies have shown that women manifest a […] The post The ethology of attraction to bad boys appeared first on Social Ethology.
3:25 AM | Science Beat: Round 3
Sometimes science just makes more sense with a beat. Last January, I shared with you some fun music videos on fish genetics, climate science, and sexual reproduction. In Round 2, we saw music videos on the periodic table, cellular respiration and muscles. Here are the competitors for Round 3: Cellular Biology: Anatomy and Physiology:Taxonomy: Vote for your favorite in the comments section below and check out other sciency song battles at Science Song Playlist, The Science Life, Science Beat […]
12:50 AM | Top 4 of 2014: Your Favourite Canine Science Posts
As December rolls into its second half, and the days warm up - or cool down - depending on where you are situated on the globe, we wanted to say thank you for joining us in 2014 - we are continually blown away with the popular and supportive community we have around us at Do You Believe in Dog? here on the blog, on Facebook and also on Twitter. Taking our lead from Companion Animal Psychology, we decided to jump into some statistics (because hey, we are scientists!) to see […]

December 15, 2014

8:49 PM | Your Dogs and the Holidays
Yup, this is the time of year when the rubber hits the road, and the leaping, crotch-sniffing, poop-eating dog that you just rescued from a puppy mill is about to meet Aunt Polly, the only member of the family who is terrified of dogs. Or maybe it’s the dog you’ve had for years, and the […]
7:26 PM | Models by evolutionary biologists are not models
How Networks Are Revolutionizing Scientific (and Maybe Human) Thought By John Edward Terrell, Termeh Shafie and Mark Golitko | December 12, 2014 | Excerpt: “…evolutionary biologists are now modeling series of complex networked relationships at multiple levels ranging from individual “letters”...Read more
6:44 PM | Birdbooker Report 349-351
SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read […]

December 13, 2014

7:50 PM | The future of physics predicts no future for evolutionary theory
The ever-smaller future of physics ‘Theory of everything’ captures Weinberg’s imagination in Lee Historical Lecture Excerpt: “…there are hints that the answers to fundamental questions will reveal themselves at around a million billionths — between 10­-17 and 10-19 — of...Read more
10:59 AM | Chronicles of Athena – 20 Weeks
This is our last week in this flat. The last mesmerising spin in the washing machine, the last few flirtations with the bathtub (I’m tempted to have a bath at some point and see what she does, but I also … Continue reading →
3:36 AM | Model organisms: the birds and the bees
Bird Genomes Abound Scientists complete the largest-ever comparative genomic study of birds. By Ruth Williams | December 11, 2014 Excerpt: “Birds are model organisms for a number of human behaviors and conditions—For example, Jarvis compares vocal learning in birds and...Read more

December 12, 2014

10:46 PM | Chemical ecology and RNA-mediated control of DNA loops
DNA Loop-the-Loops A new full-genome map indicates how DNA is folded within the nuclei of human cells.By Kate Yandell | December 11, 2014 Excerpt: “…many loops were conserved among cell types, and even between mice and humans. But others seemed...Read more
10:22 PM | Insights from an Academic on the Market
The past four months have been a whirlwind. I’ve been mindlessly applying to positions; sending nearly the same generic application to 70-80 schools hoping for at least a phone call. It turns out even this was a poor strategy. Because even though search committees know the market is tight, they want to see some bit […]
1:43 AM | Atoms to ecosystems: Evolutionary theory vs the coelacanth
Biodiversity: Life ­– a status report “Species are disappearing quickly — but researchers are struggling to assess how bad the problem is.” I want to eliminate some of the researcher’s struggles, but a moderator at Nature has blocked all my...Read more

December 11, 2014

3:05 PM | Giant Salamanders Make Dedicated Dads
Amphibians aren’t usually known for their parental care. When an amphibian does look after its eggs or young, it’s usually the mother’s job. But new research suggests the Japanese giant salamander (Andrias japonicus) is no deadbeat dad. Read about how these salamader fathers care for their eggs in my latest Zoologic post: Japanese Giant Salamanders Make Devoted Dads .

December 10, 2014

4:45 PM | Games and Animals
I’ve been an avid gamer for the better part of my lifetime now and part of what I love about the hobby is how a good game can test you in situations you might not experience. This is, after all, … Continue reading →

December 09, 2014

5:53 PM | Why Facebook can be toxic for relationships
I have noticed that many people are involved in quarrels on Facebook, in the way they would have never quarreled during any tete-a-tete conversation. Quarrels caused by trifles, by words said hastily, by small misunderstandings. Quarrels caused by a routine exchange of words and by an outburst of emotions which, once written, exercise their toxic […] The post Why Facebook can be toxic for relationships appeared first on Social Ethology.

December 08, 2014

11:47 PM | Don't miss out! Dogs + Science from November
Catch up! Participate! Plan your conferences for 2015! Check out all the latest in canine science from November here, thanks to the magic of Storify (if you don't see a beautiful array of handy snippets below, please click this link to view)[View the story "Do You Believe in Dog? [01-30 November 2014]" on Storify]Further reading: Cobb M., Paul McGreevy, Alan Lill & Pauleen Bennett (2014). The advent of canine performance science: Offering a sustainable future for working […]

Bradshaw J.W.S. & Rachel A. Casey (2009). Dominance in domestic dogs—useful construct or bad habit?, Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research, 4 (3) 135-144. DOI:

Gosling S.D. & Oliver P. John (2003). A Dog's Got Personality: A Cross-Species Comparative Approach to Personality Judgments in Dogs and Humans., Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85 (6) 1161-1169. DOI:

6:46 PM | The Truth Behind Those Sleeping Bears (A Guest Post)
By Tabitha Starjnski-SchneiderName some animals that hibernate. Was the first one mentioned a bear? That’s understandable…you were probably told that bears go to sleep shortly before winter, stay asleep the entire winter, and wake up in early spring. What if I told you that your teachers lied to you, and that bears don’t actually hibernate?! Not a true hibernation, at least. For an animal to be considered a true hibernator, it actually needs to stay in a sleep state for […]
2:17 AM | My Turn to Write
More accurately, it is my turn to finish writing something I’ve been working on for a few years–a memoir. I’m close to finishing a draft to send off to my agent (the brilliant Jennifer Gates, an angel of an agent to whom I owe the world already). It is tough to split my days working […]

December 07, 2014

3:47 PM | Chronicles of Athena – 19 Weeks
The Christmas season is upon us and it is the time of year where the scientist is lured to the drinking hole and spends much of the day trying to insulate herself from noises and strong smells. In other words, … Continue reading →

December 06, 2014

4:27 PM | Jumping back: Science or Pseudoscience? (2)
See: Jumping back: Science or Pseudoscience? European Science’s Great Leap Backward inferred that evolutionary theory is evidence-based science: Excerpt: “… the U.S. can claim no superiority in our approach to evidence-based science, as demonstrated by the fact that nearly half...Read more
2:23 AM | Jumping back: Science or Pseudoscience?
Daily Comment November 21, 2014 European Science’s Great Leap Backward By Michael Specter Excerpt 1) “When politicians reject verifiable data and reputable research and rely instead on politics or desire, the results can be devastating.” Excerpt 2 with my emphasis)...Read more

December 05, 2014

3:00 PM | New Indonesian Flycatcher Species Confirmed, 15 Years After First Spotted
An international team of researchers confirmed that an Indonesian flycatcher first observed by birdwatchers in the 1990s is, in fact, a species previously unknown to science. An elusive bird first spotted on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi 15 years ago now has an official name: the Sulawesi streaked flycatcher (Muscicapa sodhii). Read more about the discovery on Nat Geo’s Weird & Wild blog: New Bird Species Confirmed in Indonesia, 15 Years After First Sighting .
1:49 AM | Single-cell level assay of protein biosynthesis and degradation
High-throughput detection of miRNAs and gene-specific mRNA at the single-cell level by flow cytometry Excerpt: “We use this technique to show modulation of a microRNA critical for T-cell function, miR-155. We adapt this assay for simultaneous detection of mRNA and...Read more

December 04, 2014

2:23 PM | Meet the Weird and Wonderful Wombat
They have tough rumps, backwards-facing pouches, and poop out cubes. Plus they walk with an adorable waddle. Learn more about wombats in my latest Zoologic post: The Creature Feature: 10 Fun Facts About Wombats .
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