February 22, 2015

5:12 AM | My Blacklighting Rig
Imagine this.  You and some buddies pack a bunch of stuff into a truck or SUV or Subaru and head off into the wild for the night.  You carry with you some snacks, perhaps an adult beverage or two, a headlamp (because it’s going to be dark out there!), and some gear.  When you arrive […]

February 21, 2015

5:35 AM | Five Bad Photos of California’s Winter Invertebrates (Friday 5 – on Saturday)
Whew! It’s been a really busy few weeks! I recently received a grant to start up a citizen science after school program (which you’ll hear all about at some point – it involves bugs!!) and have poured almost every moment of my work time into that since the beginning of February. Then, right in the […]

February 20, 2015

11:10 PM | Imagining that data historically supports evolutionary theory
1) Arguments in the evo-devo debate: say it with flowers! Abstract excerpt: A key question in evolutionary developmental biology is how DNA sequence changes have directed the evolution of morphological diversity. The widely accepted view was that morphological changes resulted...Read more

February 19, 2015

10:31 PM | Urbanisation is changing the way birds sing
In 1800 only 3% of the world’s population lived in urban areas, yet as the industrial revolution picked up pace in the early 18th and 19th centuries the number of people moving […]
12:15 AM | Atheism: Arrogant, useless, and divisive ignorance
Scientific Seeker Stuart Kauffman on Free Will, God, ESP and Other Mysteries By John Horgan | February 4, 2015 Excerpt: Horgan: What do you make of the antipathy toward religion expressed by Richard Dawkins and other “New Atheists?” Kauffman: … moral...Read more

February 18, 2015

11:58 PM | The anti-entropic force of “Nature”
Exploring the Epigenome A National Institutes of Health-funded consortium publishes 111 reference maps of DNA and histone marks. By Jenny Rood | February 18, 2015 Excerpt:  “All our cells have a copy of the same book, but they’re all reading...Read more
11:14 PM |
I have a giant water bug for you all this week! That’s a Lethocerus uhleri nymph, a very large giant water bug common in North Carolina.  This particular individual was only an inch long when I scooped it out of the pond at work, but it was still a baby.  They get quite a bit larger […]
10:06 PM | Population by age and revolution
An astonishing thing took place during the last 250 years (starting with the 18th century) – the sexual maturation of children has speeded up; it takes place 4 years earlier than the normal period. This observation was made on the ground of a pretty macabre argument – presently, the death rate curve among boys appears […] The post Population by age and revolution appeared first on Social Ethology.
6:30 PM | Renewal Season
It’s February, and what I have come to think of as contract renewal season. I’m reasonably confident of continuing the work I’m doing, which is split between coordinating the online MSc (mostly student wrangling, as I think of it), teaching … Continue reading →
12:48 AM | Nutritional epigenetics, exercise, and immune system integrity
Anti-inflammatory mechanism of dieting and fasting revealed Summary: Researchers have found that a compound produced by the body when dieting or fasting can block a part of the immune system involved in several inflammatory disorders such as type 2 diabetes,...Read more

February 17, 2015

6:08 PM | Birdbooker Report 360
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 […]

February 16, 2015

9:04 PM | How Do Dogs Interpret Human Facial Expressions?
What ever is a dog to make of a human smile? Or a frown for that matter? On the one hand, it seems to me to be trivial for a dog to distinguish between obviously different expressions on the face of a human. Dogs, after all, are highly visual and the preponderence of their social […]
3:52 PM | Science Beat: Round 4
It’s exam time again, and some of us need to study and let off some steam. These sciency music videos are just the ticket! Biochemistry: Cellular Biology:Neuroscience: Vote for your favorite in the comments section below and check out other sciency song battles at Science Beat, Science Beat: Round 2, Science Beat: Round 3, Science Song Playlist, The Science Life, Scientist Swagger and Battle of The Grad Programs! And if you feel so inspired, make a video of your own, upload it on

February 15, 2015

8:12 PM | Fluffy Friday
Where have we been this week? Mostly busy with the Animal Welfare and Behaviour MOOC on Coursera – so apologies for the lack of postings this week. Check out our Friday HangOut for some classic MOOC action :)

February 14, 2015

11:59 PM | Helen Fisher: Love is an addiction
In the Brain, Romantic Love Is Basically an Addiction By Helen Fisher | February 13, 2015 11:43 am Excerpt 1) Scientists have now shown that food, sex, and gambling compulsions employ many of the same brain pathways activated by substance...Read more

February 13, 2015

8:20 PM | In humans, smell is also the dominant sense
Perfume could be the riskiest gift you’ll ever buy February 13 2015 by 1) S Craig Roberts: Senior Lecturer in Psychology at University of Stirling 2) Caroline Allen: PhD Candidate 3) Kelly Cobey: Honourary Researcher (Psychology: Hormones and Behaviour) at University...Read more
2:48 PM | What if Darwin was not still dead?
What Would Darwin Think About Modern Darwinism? Excerpt: “Imagine if Darwin could be transported to the present and learn what has become of his theory. What would excite him the most? Would anything disturb or disappoint him? TVOL has polled...Read more

February 12, 2015

5:37 PM | New on Zoologic: Inter-Species Emotional Understanding
A new study shows dogs can discriminate between emotional expressions on human faces – the first convincing evidnce that an animal othe than humans can tell the difference between emotional expressions in another species. Read the whole story here: If You’re Happy and You Know It, So Does Your Dog .  
5:29 PM | If You’re Happy and You Know It — So Does Your Dog
A new study shows how dogs can tell the difference between happy and angry faces, the first strong evidence that an animal other than humans can discriminate between emotional expressions in another species. The post If You’re Happy and You Know It — So Does Your Dog appeared first on WIRED.
9:28 AM | Book Review: The Family: A World History
Mary Jo Maynes, Professor of History at the University of Minnesota, and Ann Waltner, Professor of History and Director of the Institute for Advanced Study, University of Minnesota, briefly explore the notion of family across the ages in their concise book, The Family: A World History. Rather than tell the rise and fall of empires, […]
9:16 AM | How the brain got language: The mirror system hypothesis
Language is a unique feature of human beings. In addition to having the ability to use language, humans can conjecture about language consciously and even create realistic constructed languages from scratch. In How the brain got language, Michael A. Arbib, whose work has been influential in shaping the field of computational neuroscience, addresses the title […]

Farid Pazhoohi (2014). How the brain got language: The mirror system hypothesis (review), The Canadian Journal of Linguistics / La revue canadienne de linguistique , 59 (3) Other:

2:11 AM | Converting sunlight to fuel: O2 and CO2 Reactions
Efficient solar-to-fuels production from a hybrid microbial–water-splitting catalyst system Abstract excerpt:  “…we report the development of a scalable, integrated bioelectrochemical system in which the bacterium Ralstonia eutropha is used to efficiently convert CO2, along with H2 and O2 produced from...Read more

February 11, 2015

2:17 PM | Odors and classically conditioned behavior
WASHINGTON, Feb. 9, 2015 — Is there such a thing as love at first smell? There are hundreds of spray-on pheromone products that claim to put you on the fast track to romance. While pheromones are a prevalent form of...Read more

February 10, 2015

3:52 PM | For V-Day, Which Animals Practice Monogamy?
While it’s a goal for many humans, faithful love is a rarity in the animal kingdom. DNA fingerprinting — essentially paternity tests for animals — has revealed that many species once thought to be truly monogamous are actually better described as socially monogamous. This means that a male and female form a pair bond, mate, raise their young together, and spend time together, but may also engage in a little mating on the side. So who are the truly monogamous animals out there? […]
3:42 PM | Love Matches: Monogamy in the Animal Kingdom
So who are the truly monogamous animals out there? The answers may surprise you. The post Love Matches: Monogamy in the Animal Kingdom appeared first on WIRED.
4:20 AM | Military combat training to fight disease (2)
See: Military combat training to fight disease In the quantum world, the future affects the past Excerpt 1) “It’s not clear why in the real world, the world made up of many particles, time only goes forward and entropy always...Read more
12:48 AM | How do dogs and people respond to a crying baby?
Guest post by: Min Hooi Yong, PhD“Does your dog know when you are sad?” Puzzling question, perhaps? We get a range of answers from dog owners, from the confident “Yes!” to “Maaaaybe?”, and the hopeful “I like to think so...”. Many dogs are considered to be part of the family, and we expect our family members to empathize with us when we are sad. A recent study found that dogs showed submissive behavior (licking and nuzzling) when an adult […]

February 09, 2015

8:39 PM | Military combat training to fight disease
Q: What is the extent of your formal scientific education? I see that you attended the University of Nevada at some point. A: I had already been trained in the military to combat evolutionary theory (see also Combating Evolution to...Read more
6:30 PM | Slime mould and researcher set to play piano duet
SUMMARY: A single-celled organism will perform a piano duet with a computer musician at Plymouth University on 1 March 2015. The public is invited. A scientist and a single-celled organism will perform a piano duet at Biomusic, the 10th Peninsula Arts Contemporary Music Festival. Professor of Computer Music, Eduardo Miranda, and a slime mould will premiere Professor Miranda’s new composition, Biocomputer Music, on a musical bio-computer that he and his team designed. Professor Miranda is […]
5:12 PM | A Valentine to Our Dogs
I know, it’s mushy, but I don’t care. Here is a Valentine to each of my dogs, followed, I hope, by lots and lots from you to your own dogs. Every morning, I will read them while drinking my tea. Tootsie and Maggie will be cuddled with me on the couch and Willie will warm […]
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