Posts

December 15, 2014

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12:19 PM | Cultural Beings, the Ontology of Culture, and a Return to Books and Blues
I haven’t forgotten my on-going series of posts on the direction of cultural evolution; you know, the one that started with Matt Jockers’ Macroanalysis? But I’ve been busy with other things. Here’s another post to add to that pile. I’m not yet burned out on culture, but lordy lordy I’m gettin’ there. But there’s a […]
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9:45 AM | Confrontational behaviour and bipedality in deer
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – one of the most familiar and frequently encountered of mammal groups (at least, to those of us in Eurasia and parts of the Americas) – DEER – are weird and... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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12:29 AM | First Fossil Found of a Carnivorous Plant Leaf
German researchers have made the first discovery of a plant’s fossilized insect-trapping parts: two tiny leaves encased in Baltic amber from a coastal Russian mine.

December 14, 2014

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8:30 PM | Mystery CT/Dissection 14+15: Double Trouble!
It has been a long time since we had some Mystery Anatomy fun here, so I am cutting loose with a double-barrelled blast of images– dive for cover! I’m also giving out a Crimbo present as a bigger post, on a special day coming soon, count on that. This is just an advent snack. Stomach-Churning Rating: 2/10 and […]
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2:43 PM | Bare bones, rare bones: London's stegosaur | @GrrlScientist
A most excellent Christmas gift for Londoners, courtesy of the Natural History Museum.As the Christmas holidays stampede relentlessly down upon us, the Natural History Museum has given Londoners the best holiday gift that anyone could possibly wish for: a Stegosaur! Dubbed “Sophie” after the daughter of the wealthy hedge fund manager whose donation made this acquisition possible, she is now on public display for you to enjoy.Stegosaurus are mini-bus sized herbivorous dinosaurs that […]

December 13, 2014

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1:00 AM | Job: 5 faculty position at Oregon State University
5 faculty positions (Assistant Professor) are advertised at Oregon State University COMPLEX SYSTEMS IN THE LIFE AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (2 position) – in any domain where the life or environmental sciences intersect with the quantitative or physical sciences. Posting #0013430; Closes February 6, 2015. Contact: Brett Tyler QUANTITATIVE SYSTEMS BIOLOGIST- Department of Integrative Biology (70%) and […]

December 12, 2014

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10:41 PM | Using Penguins to Study Prehistory
Hesperornis isn’t a celebrity fossil, but it used to be. Soon after paleontologist O.C. Marsh named the toothed …
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10:13 PM | Tree tunnel in N. Ireland
Tree tunnels are pretty cool things. TPP pointed you to a photo essay about them once before, and this particular tree tunnel, the Dark Hedges, was included, but only one image. The link provided here will show you several more images of this beech tree tunnel that grows in Northern Ireland. The light gray color of the bark of beech trees is one of the things that makes them so spectacular, but when planted in two long rows, the effect of the trunks and their interlocking crowns is […]
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7:09 PM | Epigenetic inheritance demonstrated in rats – short videos
(Photo source: Mammal Society photographic competition, Britain – 20 Feb 2013) More info at http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/epigenetics/Filed under: epigenetics Tagged: acquired characteristics, epigenetics, Lamarck, nurture nature, well licked rats
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2:30 PM | Totally RAD
Puritz et al. (2014) weigh the pros and cons of, the aptly titled, “RAD fad” in a comment recently published online in Molecular Ecology. They challenge: (1) the assertion that the original RAD protocol minimizes the impact of PCR artifacts … Continue reading →
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2:00 PM | Purple martins, helped and harmed by humans
My grandfather, a farmer in rural Virginia, was never much worried about saving endangered species or stopping climate change, or any environmental issue that didn’t directly impact next year’s soybean harvest. But as long as I can remember, he maintained a tiny apartment house on a pole in his back yard — just for purple […]
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2:00 PM | Stuff online, sinking the ark edition
This week, at The Molecular Ecologist: Applying DNA sequencing technology to Darwin’s back yard, the infection-fighting genes ticks borrowed from bacteria , cleaning up draft genome sequences, Data Nuggets as a new form of broader impact, clinal color variation in … Continue reading →
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1:00 PM | African tree toads, smalltongue toads, four-digit toads, red-backed toads: yes, a whole load of obscure African toads
Long-time Tet Zoo readers will be familiar with the long-running series on the toads of the world. It’s been running intermittently since October 2009 and is something like 50% published. Much of the... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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12:27 PM | A genetic atlas of human history
Two papers caught my eye recently that have taken advantage of the proliferation of whole genome sequencing techniques in recent years. With prices of sequencing whole genomes coming down and down, biologists are having access to vast amounts of data. The 1000 Genomes Project was one of the first to collect the vast amounts of […]
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9:34 AM | New G3 editors: de los Campos, Marshall, Myers, Ross-Ibarra, Slotte & Warburton
G3 welcomes new Associate Editors Gustavo de los Campos, Christian Marshall, Chad Myers, Jeff Ross-Ibarra, Tanja Slotte, and Marilyn Warburton!   GUSTAVO DE LOS CAMPOS University of Alabama at Birmingham The academic interests of Gustavo de los Campos center on statistical … Read MoreThe post New G3 editors: de los Campos, Marshall, Myers, Ross-Ibarra, Slotte & Warburton appeared first on Genes to Genomes.
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8:00 AM | A week of links
Links this week: Why progress has ground to a halt. Development professionals are biased like their subjects. Are schools failing? Cato Unbound – a libertarian perspective on extraterrestrial life.
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4:49 AM | Wooster’s Fossils of the Week: New tropical Jurassic bryozoan species from southern Israel
We are pleased to introduce to the world four new species of Jurassic cyclostome bryozoans. In a paper that has just appeared in the Bulletin of Geosciences, Steph Bosch (’14), Paul Taylor and I describe the first tropical Jurassic bryozoan fauna (see Wilson et al., 2015, below; it is open access and a free download). […]

December 11, 2014

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9:19 PM | Retracing the legacy of guppy introductions past: local differentiation maintained despite high and rapid gene flow
[ This post is by Sarah W. Fitzpatrick; I am just putting it up.  –B. ]When populations adapted to different environments come into contact through range expansions, invasions, or by human-assisted migration, the outcome is often unknown. How will immigrant individuals fare in the new environment and will they hybridize with native populations? If so, what impact does gene flow with non-native individuals have on the local populations? The question of whether gene flow between […]
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8:22 PM | The First Spark of Life and then what? Self Organisation of course. It also explains the chicken & egg dilemma
“The laser produced a shockwave in the plasma, generating radiation and temperatures of over 7,600 degrees Fahrenheit. This triggered a cascade of chemical reactions, leading to the formation of four RNA…” “…In conclusion, all these findings suggest that the emergence of terrestrial life is not the result of an accident but a direct consequence of […]
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7:21 PM | Bad arboriculture - This isn't going to turn out well
Sadly the first time TPP saw a picture like this was on a bulletin board in a school of forestry and the caption attached said, "Here's what happens when you chain your bike to a tree and come back 10 years later." Of course, trees don't grow that way, and ironically that very week the faculty were debating about reducing the amount of botany forestry students should be required to take. At any rate, this isn't going to turn out well. Straps, chains, cables, or the like simply will not under […]
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3:00 PM | Migration Circos plots in R
We’ve all seen them – colorful, and I daresay, pretty darn informative. Circos plots are fun visualizations of large data-sets. I’ve seen them used in two contexts in comparative genomics – to represent structural variants in homologous chromosome segments in … Continue reading →
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2:26 PM | Why are men and women drifting apart? (2014)
“Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.” Katharine Hepburn We’re disintegrating. Across the western world, the bonds between men and women are weakening. The age of first marriage in the UK is rising precipitously, from 24.9 for men and […]
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11:10 AM | Natural causes of language
Natural causes of language by Nick Enfield discusses theories behind cultural transmission of language.  From the blurb: What causes a language to be the way it is? Some features are universal, some are inherited, others are borrowed, and yet others are internally innovated. But no matter where a bit of language is from, it will […]
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8:00 AM | My year
In the day job, for most of this year I was seconded onto the Australian Government’s Financial System Inquiry. The Inquiry was established to provide a broad review of the Australian financial system, looking at system stability, competition, consumer protection, technological change and whether the system was serving the needs of users. The Inquiry’s final report is now out […]
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7:06 AM | Insect Biodiversity: Unknown – a status report
Nature published an article this week with some nice infographics that illustrate the astonishing number of species considered threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which is pretty depressing, at least if you look at the vertebrates. In what was a nice surprise, they actually included data on insects in addition to the [...]

December 10, 2014

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11:36 PM | Wordless Wednesdays: here, have a science cookie
-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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7:32 PM | Birth of a lichen
Lichens are symbiotic organisms consisting of a highly organized fungal mycelium enclosing algal cells. What's strange about lichens is that without the algae, the fungus just looks like a fungus. Without the fungus, the algae is just algae. They only take on the form recognized as a lichen when the two organisms are in that symbiotic association, and of course, the term itself means "living together". This presents some interesting aspects of reproduction. This illustration is from the […]
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7:00 PM | C.L. Gloger’s favorite owl
Biologists love clines. We’ve been mentally masticating on clines for decades. Clines in body size. Clines in color. Clines in heart size! Clines that go in circles! Recognizing clinal patterns in phenotypes or genotypes is fun, but discovering the mechanisms behind … Continue reading →
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6:20 PM | DNA can survive atmosphere re-entry
On March 29, 2011, a TEXUS-49 rocket took off from northern Sweden for a short trip into space and back …Continue reading →
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3:39 PM | New lab paper: The microbes we eat: abundance and taxonomy of microbes consumed in a day’s worth of meals for three diet types [PeerJ]
A new paper out from my lab (with Jenna Lang as the 1st author and in collaboration with Angela Zivcovic from the UC Davis Food For Health Initiative and the Department of Nutrition):  The microbes we eat: abundance and taxonomy of microbes consumed in a day’s worth of meals for three diet types.  The work in the paper focuses on characterizing the abundance and taxonomy of microbes in food from three model diets. Basically, Angela prepared meals for these three […]
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