December 01, 2014

1:05 AM | Klinefelter Syndrome, Autism, & the Female Protective Effect?
I spoke with an individual a few days ago who had Klinefelter Syndrome (KS). For those who aren’t familiar, KS is one of the most common intersex conditions in which […]

November 30, 2014

7:12 PM | 2001: A Space Odyssey – A (human) nature-centred perspective
I recently went to the cinema to see 2001: A Space Odyssey. Of course I had seen it (several times) before, but never on the big screen (@CamPicturehouse deserves a credit here). Although there isn’t much molecular biology or biochemistry in there, … Continue reading →
6:47 PM | Wilt proof for winter protection
It's a bit warmer this weekend, so late season garden chores go to the top of the list. This weekend is also when the Phactors traditionally purchase a nice fir tree for holiday decorating. The reason for this is simple; the trees have been harvested and won't get any fresher. While it isn't time to set up the tree inside, the tree is set in a bucket of water in our garage. If the weather accomodates, i.e., it isn't really cold, it gets sprayed with wilt proof. The commerical product is a […]
10:53 AM | EVOLUTION: Not by genetic mutations, but by Epigenetic Adaptation
This article focusses on bacterial evolutionary change, but the principle of what is discussed is fully applicable to all organisms including ourselves. For instance, a Neo-Darwinian explanation of bacterial evolution and other species across the whole spectrum of life would go something like this: Species evolve and eventually can become a different species via generations […]
1:50 AM | Big-Headed Carnivore a Sign of Triassic Recovery
I’ve spent much of my weekend writing about Jurassic World. I won’t rehash the details here – you …

November 29, 2014

6:51 PM | Where to submit your paper. Or “If at first you don’t succeed, fail fail again … then try open access”
The confluence of two experiences motivated this post. First, I was involved in a conversation on Twitter (below) that was reacting to suggestions (in a commentary in Nature) that the high volume of open-access papers was the cause of the reviewer fatigue that so often bedevils journals and editors (such as myself). At one point in this thread, someone pointed to a blog post titled “Why I Published in PLoS ONE. And Why I Probably Won’t Again for Awhile.” The main […]
1:40 PM | The fungus among us: Kew Gardens' Fungarium | @GrrlScientist
Mushrooms: they’re more than what you’ll find in your holiday grazing, as we learn in this gorgeous video about Kew Garden’s Fungarium, which houses the oldest and largest collection of fungi in the world.I grew up atop a giant fungus. But I didn’t know this until I was in grad school. Shortly after this humongous fungus was discovered lurking beneath the forest on the foothills of Mount Adams in southwestern Washington state, another, larger specimen of Armillaria […]

November 28, 2014

8:41 PM | Black Friday - Who is not with the program?
The daily newspaper on Wednesday must have weighed 10 pounds. News-wise it was a fairly scanty day; it was all the advertising inserts. If you live in the USA, and read a daily newspaper, yours was probably similarly fattened. For reasons that remain mysterious to TPP, the friday after Thanksgiving, which is always on a Thursday for reasons that remain mysterious to TPP, has turned into the biggest shopping day of the year. Part of this is because Christmas is only a month away although […]
3:28 PM | New books party: Books that arrived recently | @GrrlScientist
Today, I share my first impressions of books about how human use of toxic chemicals is affecting evolution, how modern humans came into being after the human-chimp split, and the ethics of everyday life.Unnatural Selection: How We are Changing Life, Gene by Gene by Emily Monosson [Island Press, 2015; Amazon UK hardcover/kindle UK; Amazon US hardcover/kindle US] Continue reading...
2:00 PM | Caught sweeping ‘cross the sea
  The salmon louse Lepeophtheirus salmonis is an ectoparasite linked to declines in wild salmonid populations as well as causing huge economic losses in salmon farms. Previous studies, using a variety of molecular markers, yielded conflicting results ranging from strong … Continue reading →
1:00 PM | Stuff online, “a note so high nobody could reach it” edition
“Nothing on Earth sounds less like freedom to me.” A grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson for killing an unarmed black teenager. Grand juries hardly ever decide not to indict, and Wilson’s testimony before … Continue reading →
8:00 AM | A week of links
Links this week: Where is the literature on behavioural political economy? Bashing a paper that claims people search for meaning as they approach a new decade (i.e. at 29, 39, 49 etc.) Vernon Smith on Adam Smith. A bucketload of Charles Darwin’s papers are now available online.
7:14 AM | Black Fly Day? How about Cyto Monday!
When identifying insects, the further you want to identify them, generally the smaller the morphological characteristics you need to look for are. For instance, to recognize the taxonomic order Diptera, you need only count the number of pairs of wings an insect has (usually…), but to identify a fly to species, you may need to [...]
4:27 AM | Wooster’s Fossils of the Week: Large Miocene barnacles with bioimmurations from Maryland
These two beautiful barnacles are from the Calvert Formation (Middle Miocene) exposed near Parker Creek in Maryland. They are likely of the genus Chesaconcavus. Barnacles are most unlikely crustacean arthropods, cousins of shrimp, crabs and lobsters. Most, like these above, cement themselves head-downwards on a hard substrate like a rock or shell (or boat hull), […]
12:28 AM | Giving Thanks
Today is Thanksgiving. While as a holiday it is unique to the US and a few others, in many ways, Thanksgiving is universal. Basically every culture throughout history has had a celebratory feast before the dark of winter sets in. Harkening back to ancient harvest celebrations, Thanksgiving is about expressing thanks for all the good […]The post Giving Thanks appeared first on Science Sushi.

November 27, 2014

2:00 PM | Geophylogeny plots in R for Dummies
Amid basting my tofurky, here’s a follow-up to my previous post on quick-fix overlays of admixture plots on geographical maps in R. I recently discovered a wonderful R package called “phytools” from Liam Revell, which makes really neat phylogenetic trees (with … Continue reading →
1:00 PM | More turkeys, please
Domesticated animals are the product of unnatural selection. To view some of the unnatural diversity in turkeys – check out Porter’s Rare Heritage Turkeys. They have the Sweetgrass, the Chocolate Slate, the White Holland, the Red Phoenix, and – my personal favorite – the Pencilled Palm (amongst many more varieties). They even have information on […]

November 26, 2014

8:17 PM | Produce bus for food deserts
There are places even in small cities where grocery stores are too far away for walking/biking access. This is especially important when it comes to fresh and sustainable produce. In urban areas with well developed mass transit, there will often be small, strategically placed markets at major transit hubs, but neither of these is common place in the USA. This produce bus idea makes the produce market movable and capable of serving several neighborhoods. Many […]
3:00 PM | The big chief at Molecular Ecology Resources: Interviewing Shawn Narum
What are the most exciting parts of doing science? The first look at results? The sheen of your publication finally in print? That initial foray out into the field? What about the moment you figure out a way to make a … Continue reading →
1:06 PM | South America’s very many remarkable deer
Deer are strongly associated with Eurasia and North America and less so with the other regions of the world. In this brief article – part of which is an excerpt from my 2013 article on the... -- Read more on

November 25, 2014

10:32 PM | An open letter to Jack Andraka, the Advocate, and, what the hell, OUT magazine while I’m at it
Jack, I think I speak for the every gay science nerd when I say that we’re exceptionally proud to count you among us. The initiative you took, while still a high school student, to join a research lab and design … Continue reading →
9:22 PM | Black Girls serving as their own Role Models in STEM
This world sends many different messages. Today a rather poignant message was sent to America, it was directed at Americans who care about justice in particular. In a world that tells black children... -- Read more on
9:04 PM | A Quick Note About Comments
I’m currently working out of my New Jersey office, which is to say I am home for Thanksgiving. I just wanted to mention, though, that I have my settings adjusted so that comments are automatically cut off on any post that is more than three weeks old. Comment threads that remain open too long tend…
8:41 PM | Jurassic World Job Ad: Entomologist Wanted
The trailer for Jurassic World, the latest instalment in the Jurassic Park franchise, was released today, and well… see for yourself. While scientists have apparently figured out how to genetically modify dinosaurs (which I thought was the entire premise of the original when they spliced frog DNA into ancient Dino DNA, but whatever, GM-OH NOES!), they [...]
7:13 PM | Squirrel olympic training
The primary training season for the squirrel olympics is underway. The primaryevent is always the same: get into the bird feeder and hog down all bird seed. So far this year the event has mainly involved the long jump and who knows how far the squirrels can be pushed to go. But that's part of the training, to push the athletes to ever higher and longer distances. The event used to involve a lot of pole climbing, but the advent and application of fairly effective baffles has pretty […]
5:51 PM | Fossil Beast Helps Fill The Backstory of Horses, Tapirs, and Rhinos
There used to be rhinos in North America. In fact, they originated on the continent. The earliest ones …
Editor's Pick
2:43 PM | The 9,999th Reptile
This post will soon become available in SpanishNumber of new snake species by decade, with highlightsData from The Reptile DatabaseLinnaeus's 1758 Systema Naturae, the starting point of zoological nomenclature, described 118 species of reptiles, including 74 snakes (not counting the limbless lizards and amphibians he included in the same group). It took over 100 years for the number of described species of snakes to reach 1000, an event that probably passed without much notice […]
1:08 PM | As A Bird - It's No Turkey
Mr. Carlson and Herb Tarlek had to deal with the aftermath of bombing Cincinnati with live turkeys. The line about turkeys being able to fly is one of the most famous in TV history. But he should have at least questioned whether they could fly, there are more than 50 species of flightless bird alive as we speak.In a famous 1978 episode of the TV sitcom, WKRP In Cincinnati, station manager Arthur Carlson releases turkeys from a helicopter to a waiting crowd below as part of a holiday publicity […]

Baratti, M., Ammannati, M., Magnelli, C., Massolo, A. & Dessì-Fulgheri, F. (2010). Are large wattles related to particular MHC genotypes in the male pheasant?, Genetica, 138 (6) 657-665. DOI: 10.1007/s10709-010-9440-5

Thornton, E., Emery, K., Steadman, D., Speller, C., Matheny, R. & Yang, D. (2012). Earliest Mexican Turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) in the Maya Region: Implications for Pre-Hispanic Animal Trade and the Timing of Turkey Domestication, PLoS ONE, 7 (8) DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042630

12:29 PM | Consuming raw or undercooked frogs may increase your risk of getting a rare tapeworm in your brain
A 50-year-old UK resident had been living with an unwelcome visitor for the past 4 years and it was such a headache. Surgeons from Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge removed the tapeworm during a biopsy after noticing a small circular lesion … Continue reading →
11:30 AM | El "espíritu aventurero" de nuestra juventud
En PMMV estamos muy contentos de poder afirmar que uno de nuestros doctores ha sido seleccionado para un contrato de investigación postdoctoral en Alemania por medio de la prestigiosa Fundación Alexander von Humboldt. Se trata de Juan L. Cantalapiedra, que el año que viene se incorporará al Museum für Naturkunde de Berlín para desarrollar nuevos y excitantes estudios sobre la evolución de los rumiantes y otros organismos. […]
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