Posts

October 19, 2014

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11:41 PM | Is your toddler really smarter than a chimpanzee?
It sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s not clear that young children are any more intelligent than chimpanzees. Check out my latest article over at BBC Earth where I try to figure out if my toddler is smarter than a chimpanzee
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11:41 PM | Is your toddler really smarter than a chimpanzee? (BBC Earth)
It sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s not clear that young children are any more intelligent than chimpanzees. Check out my latest article over at BBC Earth where I try to figure out if my toddler is smarter than a chimpanzee
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11:33 PM | Top 4 dolphin science discoveries you might have missed this year
If you follow along with dolphin science news, you probably know about a recent study showing that whale and dolphin (cetacean) pelvic bones, which were once considered ‘evolutionary leftovers’, are now thought to be a vital component of their sexual reproduction equipment. Scientists discovered that bigger pelvic bones in cetaceans correspond to bigger testicles, and also [&hellip
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10:57 AM | Chronicles of Athena – Twelve Weeks
I don’t know how to say this in a not-bragging way, but I think I got one of the clever ones. It’s not necessarily a good thing (unless, like me, you place an unreasonable amount of value in cleverness). At … Continue reading →

October 18, 2014

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10:09 PM | Fieldwork – highlights
Now that I’ve gotten a lot of some much needed rest since the end of the 2014 Gotland fieldwork season, I thought I’d share some of my favourite moments from those 3 months.Filed under: My Research Experience Tagged: Animal Behaviour, Birds, Fieldwork, Gotland, Sweden
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9:53 PM | ALPHA GENOMIX
ALPHA GENOMIX LABORATORIES INC Alpha genomics (for those unfamiliar with their spelling) Re: Dr. Hani El Shawa, who is first author of Prenatal Ethanol Exposure Disrupts Intraneocortical Circuitry, Cortical Gene Expression, and Behavior in a Mouse Model of FASD. The...Read more

October 17, 2014

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6:46 PM | Sport and violence. Why some athletes behave aggressively?
“Titushky” (“титушки”) is a word which came thundering into the socio-political vocabulary of the former Soviet Union countries. In Ukraine, this word labeled young boxers and fighters, who were recruited from various sports around the country and were later mobilized and incited against opposition during the EuroMaidan, January 2014. These athletes were named “titushky” after […] The post Sport and violence. […]
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10:50 AM | Quand Nadine Morano s’énerve gare de l’Est
Hier, à la gare de l'Est, l'eurodéputée et ex-ministre de Nicolas Sarkozy, Nadine Morano, sort de son TGV lorsqu'elle aperçoit une femme voilée portant un niqab, tenue qui masque tout le corps et le visage à l'exception des yeux. Le scandale n'attend pas : elle demande à la femme d'enlever son voile, puis ameute des policiers pour la faire obtempérer. Ceux-ci ne donnent pas suite à sa requête, la jugeant […]

October 16, 2014

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8:51 PM | Biologically functional protein folding
Misfolded proteins clump together in a surprising place Excerpt 1): “Our findings have challenged the notion of the aggregation process as a passive consequence of accumulating misfolded proteins,” says Stowers Investigator Rong Li, Ph.D., who led the study. Using budding...Read more
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3:31 AM | Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Sluuuuuurp!
I was out with my intern a few weeks ago looking for caterpillars and showed her some spicebush swallowtail and black swallowtail caterpillars before we made our way to the pipevine to look for pipevine swallowtail caterpillars. She hadn’t ever seen the pipevines, so I pointed out a few and we started looking around to see how many we […]
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1:18 AM | No excuses: Creation and the meaning of organismal complexity
E.O. Wilson On ‘The Meaning Of Human Existence’ Excerpt: “We’re one species — glorious though we are — we are just one species out of an estimated eight million,” Wilson said. “At the present time, we only know almost exactly...Read more

October 15, 2014

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11:37 PM | Start signal for RNA-mediated events
Start signal for transcription of stressed genes identified Excerpt 1): “…stress is “a psychological and physical reaction to external stimuli…” My comment: Identification of the start signal associated with stress does not link it to mutations and natural selection in...Read more
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8:00 PM | Nutrient-dependent gene duplication in plants (but not animals?)
Divergence of Gene Body DNA Methylation and Evolution of Plant Duplicate Genes Excerpt 1) “A recent study demonstrated that the DNA methylation in promoter may play a significant role for functional divergence of duplicated genes in human [48].” Excerpt 1...Read more
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6:57 PM | A Fish of a Different Color
Chameleons and octopuses are known for their rapid color changes, but fish? It turns out that at least one species of fish—the rockpool goby—is a quick-change artist, too. Read about this new discovery in my latest post at Nat Geo’s Weird & Wild Blog: Fish Changes Color in a Flash, Scientists Discover.

October 14, 2014

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11:46 PM | Evolutionary theorists justify fear of the Ebola viruses
Scientists Rein In Fears of Ebola, a Virus Whose Mysteries Tend to Invite Speculation By CARL ZIMMER OCT. 13, 2014 Excerpt: “Pardis C. Sabeti, a geneticist at Harvard, and her colleagues have analyzed the genomes of Ebola viruses isolated from...Read more
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10:33 PM | The importance of olfactory receptors
Smell Turns Up in Unexpected Places By ALEX STONEOCT. 13, 2014 Excerpt: “I’ve been arguing for the importance of these receptors for years,” said Dr. Hatt, who calls himself an ambassador of smell, and whose favorite aromas are basil, thyme...Read more
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7:40 PM | Biologically-based EES cause vs the pseudoscientific nonsense of SET
The EES expands what is recognized as causally relevant in the process of evolution (link opens pdf) www.nature.com/polopoly_fs/7.20356.1412604225!/suppinfoFile/514164a_s1.pdf Excerpt: “organisms inherit a wide variety of materials from their ancestors, including epigenetic marks, hormones, symbionts, learned knowledge and skills, and ecological...Read more
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5:59 PM | Punishment is Good
Before we start, I’d like to remind you that the opinions expressed in this blog are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my colleagues. With that out of the way – I think punishment gets a bad … Continue reading →
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5:52 PM | Aggression in men. Social roles or evolutionary roots?
In almost every society men are the ones who are overwhelmingly involved in wars, in all kinds of intergroup aggressions and intragroup homicide; they mobilize themselves in armies of violent fans, in criminal gangs, in bands of thugs, etc. These observations are as old as the world and have allowed us to create a clear […] The post Aggression in men. Social roles or evolutionary roots? appeared first on Social Ethology.
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2:22 PM | Treating school uniforms to reduce dengue: the Finances
 [A shorter version of this article first appeared on SciDev.Net] Scientists working to reduce dengue among school children in Thailand are testing something new: insecticide-treated school uniforms. A recent model published in PLoS One suggests that this intervention can be economically attractive in the context of Thailand. Using data from dengue studies in Thailand, the […]

Tozan Y, Ratanawong P, Louis VR, Kittayapong P & Wilder-Smith A (2014). Use of insecticide-treated school uniforms for prevention of dengue in schoolchildren: a cost-effectiveness analysis., PloS one, 9 (9) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25247556

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1:42 PM | Evolutionary theorists and evolutionary theists live under rocks
CRISPR/Cas: Not Just for DNA Anymore Excerpt 1) “Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past two years, you’ve heard of CRISPR/Cas9, an RNA-guided nuclease that’s redefining synthetic biology and genome engineering.” Excerpt 2) “The authors propose several additional...Read more
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12:42 PM | 10 reasons why I didn’t pour a bucket with ice on my head
1. I am not a star, I am not searching for votes, I am not longing for a cheap PR. If the Ice Bucket Challenge will bring you dividends, maybe it’s worth trying. If you do it for the sake of the bet, it really is ridiculous. 2. I prefer not to turn an act […] The post 10 reasons why I didn’t pour a bucket with ice on my head appeared first on Social Ethology.
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2:43 AM | RNA-protein interactions and ecological adaptations
Capturing Complexes Techniques for analyzing RNA-protein interactions By Nicholette Zeliadt | October 1, 2014 Re: “Basically everything that doesn’t have this mutation, you can be confident that these were not interacting molecules…” My comment: Nutrient-dependent/pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model links...Read more

October 13, 2014

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8:53 PM | Is That Lizard Possessed!? (A Guest Post)
By Tawny LiebeImage from Chuck Heston on Flickr.A creature straight from the depths of hell… or at least as close as you can get on this planet. The Texas horned lizard or “horny toad” is found in the deserts of the southwest United States and has an unusual adaptation to deter predation exclusively from a few species of canines. When threatened by coyotes, foxes, and dogs, the horned lizard squirts blood from its eyes to hit targets up to three feet away! A total of six […]
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7:27 PM | The Importance of Pets
It’s uh…  “Throwback Monday?” Things are a tad crazy right now, what with winter looming,(Translation: Spend much of Sunday planting the 300 bulbs that arrived on Saturday. Be sore today.) and a trip to APDT tomorrow morning. I’ll be giving the Keynote Wednesday morning, please come up and say hi if you are a blog […]
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1:57 PM | Birdbooker Report 342
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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8:01 AM | Schwartzenegger à Paris : l’effet superstar
L'écologie, on est tous d'accord, c'est important. Mais honnêtement, c'est foutu, n'est-ce pas? Le tri des déchets n'empêchera pas la Chine et les Etats-Unis de remplir l'atmosphère de gaz à effets de serre. Inutile d'espérer. Jusqu'à ce que... Et là, on se prend à y croire. Ce n'est plus Cécile Duflot qui nous parle d'écologie, mais Terminator. Et ça change quelque chose. Quoi? Les stars donnent le ton […]

October 12, 2014

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12:31 PM | No understanding of biodiversity
No single explanation for biodiversity in Madagascar Excerpt: “The study is part of a larger body of research aimed at identifying the climate, geology and other features of the environment that help bring new species of plants and animals into...Read more

October 11, 2014

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8:29 AM | Chronicles of Athena – Eleven Weeks
It’s been another busy week for our Athena. Well, firstly there was a slight suspicion she may have been a boy. When we went to the vets on Monday, after some considerable genital palpitation, we decided we’re 98% certain she’s … Continue reading →
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3:26 AM | The red of bearded vultures—allure or cure?
We now know that bearded vultures deliberately dust themselves red. But why?

Negro JJ, Margalida A, Hiraldo F & Heredia R (1999). The function of the cosmetic coloration of bearded vultures: when art imitates life., Animal behaviour, 58 (5) PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10564620

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