Posts

October 30, 2014

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2:00 PM | Jays Find Others’ Food Stashes Through Eavesdropping
Eurasian Jays are known for caching food and remembering its location for later. They’re also known for their tendency to pilfer the caches of other jays. A new study shows jays can find other birds’ food stashes by watching or simply listening to them caching. Read my latest Zoologic post: Sneaky Jays Look and Listen to Steal From Other s.
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4:18 AM | Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Late Season Odonates
I finally made it to the North Carolina Zoo a few days ago!  I had wanted to go since I moved here, largely because they have a Sonoran Desert exhibit with a lot of the species I miss from Arizona, and I was excited I finally had a chance to go.  The Sonoran Desert exhibit […]
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2:28 AM | Turning Waste Into Treasures
[©CSIRO Publishing. This article first appeared in The Helix Issue 158, a science magazine for children produced by CSIRO.] Whenever you throw away something, say an orange peel, you have decided that it is useless to you. It is waste, and you are better off without it. But have you thought if these wastes can […]

October 29, 2014

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5:49 PM | Cultural Biases: The Good Adopter
Something that has come up in a few of our lectures and in one of our Google HangOuts from the MOOC has been the idea that some people who adopt animals from shelters are motivated by the need to adopt, … Continue reading →
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1:46 AM | We need pattern recognition, not proclamations
Two days after serious scientists report that there is no such thing as the evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacteria, see: Team discovers how microbes build a powerful antibiotic Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are right and...Read more

October 28, 2014

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10:40 PM | We need pattern recognition, not a prologue
Prolegomenon “a preliminary discussion…; a prologue.” “… we need a mapping from genotype to phenotype, from phenotype to what is selected, and from what is selected to the new genotype (Lewontin, 1961). — cited in Prolegomenon to patterns in evolution...Read more
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9:00 PM | Sex and power. The reproductive instinct of conquerors
The French writer Alexadre Dumas Sr., who had traveled to Caucasus in the years of 1858 and 1859, was telling in his traveling diary that the best gift that the Georgian and Lezghian youth could give to their fiancées were the chopped hands of the individuals from the neighboring tribe. These hands, brought as trophies, […] The post Sex and power. The reproductive instinct of conquerors appeared first on Social Ethology.

October 27, 2014

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8:13 PM | Who Is Wearing the Pants in this Family?
Here’s my proudest moment in life (so far): It’s 1967, when the idea of women wearing pants was still a tad radical. But “pants suits” had just came out–dressy outfits that put trousers on your legs instead of a skirt, even for eveningwear. I worked as a salesgirl in a boutique in Scottsdale, AZ, and […]
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7:40 PM | Real Zombie-Making Parasites Among Us
The mummified cat and the rat in the crypt of Christ Church in Dublin. Photo by Adrian Grycuk at Wikimedia Commons.The Happening, M. Night Shyamalan’s worst panned movie of all time, is a science fiction thriller about people going into a mysterious trance and committing suicide as a result of other mind-hacking species. One of the leading criticisms raised against this movie is the ridiculousness of the premise. One species can’t cause another to willingly commit suicide! […]

Kaushik, M., Knowles, S. & Webster, J. (2014). What Makes a Feline Fatal in Toxoplasma gondii's Fatal Feline Attraction? Infected Rats Choose Wild Cats, Integrative and Comparative Biology, 54 (2) 118-128. DOI: 10.1093/icb/icu060

Citation
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6:52 PM | The Red Effect, in People and Monkeys
Research shows that people find members of the opposite sex more attractive when they are in close proximity to the color red. Does this reflect cultural influences, or is there a more ancient, evolutionary explanation? Scientists tested monkeys to see how they reacted to photos of opposite sex monkeys on a red or blue background to get to the bottom of the red effect. Read the whole story at Zoologic: The Red Effect, in People and Monkeys .
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3:03 PM | Birdbooker Report 344
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 […]
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3:40 AM | Pharmacogenomics
“The gene, cell, tissue, organ, organ-system pathway is a neuroscientifically established link between sensory input and behavior. Marts and Resnick (2007) stress the importance of this pathway in the context of a systems biology approach to pharmacogenomics.” (Kohl, 2012) “Naftolin...Read more
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1:55 AM | Swarm Sunday: 10/1/14 – 10/26/14
I am all kinds of behind on my weekly swarm reports, but I’m trying to get caught up!  Rather than bombard you all with a bunch of swarm posts all at once, today I am going to focus only on the swarms that have been reported so far this month. I’ll post the other weeks as […]

October 26, 2014

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1:46 PM | Chronicles of Athena – Thirteen Weeks
Athena likes to play on my laptop, and my phone, resetting things and sending strange, garbled messages to all and sundry. The internet really is full of cats, it seems. So if you are a cat and you want to … Continue reading →

October 25, 2014

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9:35 PM | Can science and evolution be reconciled?
Biology Professor Tells Students: Science and Religion Cannot Be Reconciled Excerpt 1): “Biology is probably the one science where God’s creation is the most obvious and where evolutionary development makes the least sense.” That fact appears to support teaching the...Read more
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9:16 PM | Sexual differentiation of cell types in plants
Antheridiogen determines sex in ferns via a spatiotemporally split gibberellin synthesis pathway Excerpt: “Homosporous ferns have evolved a mechanism to favor cross-fertilization by controlling the sex ratio among individuals or prothalli within the population with the aid of antheridiogens. Antheridiogens...Read more
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2:34 AM | A model of MHC ‘evolution’
Sexual selection and the evolutionary dynamics of the major histocompatibility complex Excerpt: “Here, we present the results of the first model of MHC evolution incorporating both survival and reproduction, modelling the combined effects of natural selection and MHC-based disassortative mating...Read more

October 24, 2014

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8:00 PM | From deep time into real time: What evolutionary processes?
Rapid evolution of a native species following invasion by a congener Abstract excerpt: “…the lizard Anolis carolinensis moved to higher perches following invasion by Anolis sagrei and, in response, adaptively evolved larger toepads after only 20 generations.” My comment: This...Read more

October 23, 2014

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11:12 AM | Male aggression as a reproductive strategy
Origins of aggression can be better understood if viewed through the lens of sexual benefits that it provides. Combative behavior finds its justification in the need for males to protect their territory and resources, and to conquer the female and to reproduce – these are the adaptive and evolutionary significances of aggression. Namely because of […] The post Male aggression as a reproductive strategy appeared first on Social Ethology.
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3:36 AM | Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: On Mammals and Insects… on Mammals!
Well, life keeps getting in the way of blogging, but I really wanted to get SOMETHING up today!  So, I bring you the noble cotton rat: One of my coworkers at the natural history museum where I work live traps small mammals to monitor their population at the museum’s field station.  I finally had an […]
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1:28 AM | In theory, or supported by experimental evidence?
Carl Zimmer typically makes statements like the one below without prefacing them with “in theory.” That’s how he establishes the bias towards evolutionary theory in nearly everything he reports. For example: “During the development of eggs and sperm, each pair...Read more

October 22, 2014

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6:55 PM | Punishment is Dangerous
Last week I spoke about punishment as a training aid, and denounced the way some people say you should never punish when training. But it’s very important to recognise that punishment is very dangerous and should be used sparingly. I … Continue reading →
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4:52 AM | Snails don’t jump in acidic oceans
Originally posted on Torch:[©CSIRO Publishing. This article first appeared in The Helix Issue 155, a science magazine for children produced by CSIRO.] Gibberulus gibberulus gibbosus (Gastropoda: Strombidae). Also known as jumping snails. YES, these snails have colorful eyes. [photo: Sue-Ann Watson] ? A sea snail, grazing on algae among the corals, smells a predatory…
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1:46 AM | It’s cell type differention, not cell fate determination (2)
See: It’s cell type differention, not cell fate determination High-throughput engineering of a mammalian genome reveals building principles of methylation states at CG rich regions Excerpt: “…deviation from the derived models is a characteristic hallmark of methylation changes associated with...Read more

October 21, 2014

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9:33 PM | Canine Aggression Case Study – Fall 2014
Recently a blog reader wrote in after one of her dogs snapped at her. The incident generated a lively conversation in the comment section, and I thought it was worth writing a post about it. So many of us have been in a similar situation that I thought it would be a valuable discussion for […]
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2:23 AM | Are evolutionary theorists ‘nob ends’?
Interview – Prof Brian Cox and Robin Ince Robin Ince “Am I wrong to sometimes be scared of science idiots?” Brian Cox  “…my favoured response would be: ‘you bunch of utter nob ends’.  See also:  “The problem with today’s world...Read more

October 20, 2014

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5:38 PM | It’s cell type differention, not cell fate determination
“…it was only recently (the past 15 years or so) that scientists discovered that a basic set of the same proteins and mRNAs are involved in all of embryogenesis.” This ignores what we described nearly 18 years ago in the...Read more
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2:03 PM | Caught in My Web: Creepy Animals, Animal Disguises, Pet-Love After Death, and Ebola
For this Halloween edition of Caught in My Web, we check out what the web has to say about creepy animal stories.1. The CDC addresses questions about whether pets can get ebola2. Julie Hecht, the author of Dog Spies at Scientific American blogs explores the love between dogs and their owners from beyond the grave 3. BuzzFeed presents 8 surprisingly creepy animals.4. Dr. Doolittle at ScienceBlogs talks about the eyeless Mexican cavefish 5. Sara Mynott at Saltwater Science, a blog at […]
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7:57 AM | Birdbooker Report 343
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 […]
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6:00 AM | Sex Toy géant de la place Vendôme : comment il dupe notre cerveau
Scandale place Vendôme: l'artiste américain Paul McCarthy expose depuis le 16 octobre une "sculpture" que des esprits innocents pourraient prendre pour un pion d'échecs... Une oeuvre "abstraite" L'auteur de cette oeuvre explique sa démarche intellectuelle : les sapins de Noël de son enfance lui faisaient penser à un plug anal, cet objet que certains utilisent lors de leurs ébats sexuels... Violemment pris à parti au cours d'une séance […]
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