Posts

March 02, 2015

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3:44 PM | Sometimes selection gives you more bang for your buck
Most species experience many environmental stressors simultaneously which means the direction and magnitude of evolutionary responses will depend on trade-offs between traits whose relationship may prevent them from being simultaneously optimized. Multiple sources of stress may act in opposing ways, for … Continue reading →
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2:54 PM | New Creature Feature: The Coelacanth
The coelacanth (pronounced SEEL-uh-kanth) is an enormous, bottom-dwelling fish that is unlike other living fishes in a number of ways. They belong to an ancient lineage that has been around for more than 360 million years. Coelacanths can reach more than six feet long and weigh about 200 pounds, and they’re covered in thick, scaly armor. It’s estimated they can live up to 60 years or more. Read about what makes them so unique here: The Creature Feature: 10 Fun Facts About the […]
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10:48 AM | Darwin's HMS Beagle may be coming to Lego
A hundred and eighty years ago, Darwin visited the city of Santiago, Chile. Generations later, one of its residents has worked for months to recreate his voyage in Lego; and soon you might be able to build it too. “I stayed a week in Santiago,” wrote Darwin in his account of The Voyage of the Beagle, “and enjoyed myself very much.” He was particularly taken by the geography. “A never-failing source of pleasure was to ascend the little hillock of rock (St. Lucia) […]
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9:35 AM | The Birds and the Trees | @GrrlScientist
Today’s “Museum Monday” video shows how museums are central to the process of shedding new light upon the relationships within the avian Tree of Life.“If you’ve seen one little brown bird, you’ve seen them all.”As any beginning bird watcher can tell you, many bird species tend to look alike, even those that are not at all related. On the other hand, close relatives may look very different. But appearances and behaviour can be deceiving: for example, […]
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9:25 AM | Phylogenetic relatedness and the determinants of competitive outcomes
Pigot & Eitenne 2015 Phylogenetic relatedness and the determinants of competitive outcomes. Ecology Letters 18(2) 153-163 As if by magic, the ‘new’ approaches I hoped would appear last post have done so. It’s almost as if I know the posting schedule ahead of time!… Alex Pigot and Rampal Etienne have produced an analytical framework within which we […]
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9:00 AM | Science Needs Cool Kids
I was not cool in high school. I think it would be a stretch to say I was a nerd, but I wasn’t cool and I certainly wasn’t getting laid. No, like so many scientists and science writers in the world, I mostly kept my head down and waited for college. You see, it’s in […]
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9:00 AM | Science Needs Cool Kids
I was not cool in high school. I think it would be a stretch to say I was a nerd, but I wasn’t cool and I certainly wasn’t getting laid. No, like so many scientists and science writers in the world, I mostly kept my head down and waited for college. You see, it’s in […]

March 01, 2015

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12:35 AM | Gene Duplication May Be the Cause of Human Brains
File under my favorite category “things that crea […]
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12:11 AM | Morsels For The Mind – 27/02/2015
Every day we provide you with Six Incredible Things Before Breakfast to nibble away at. Here you can fill your brain with the most intellectually stimulating “amuse bouches” from the past week – a veritable smorgasbord for the cranium. They’re all here for you to load up your plate – this week’s “Morsels for the mind”. Enjoy! If you do nothing else, make sure to check out the “Reads / views / listens of the week”. **** Feather, fur […]
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12:11 AM | Morsels For The Mind – 27/02/2015
Every day we provide you with Six Incredible Things Before Breakfast to nibble away at. Here you can fill your brain with the most intellectually stimulating “amuse bouches” from the past week – a veritable smorgasbord for the cranium. They’re all here for you to load up your plate – this week’s “Morsels for the mind”. Enjoy! If you do nothing else, make sure to check out the “Reads / views / listens of the week”. **** Feather, fur […]

February 28, 2015

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11:28 PM | Crocodiles rocked pre-Amazonian Peru: Seven crocodile species found in single 13-million-year-old bone bed
Thirteen million years ago, as many as seven different species of crocodiles hunted in the swampy waters of what is now northeastern Peru, new research shows. This hyperdiverse assemblage, revealed […]
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11:19 PM | Kenyan fossils show evolution of hippos
A French-Kenyan research team has just described a new fossil ancestor of today’s hippo family. This discovery bridges a gap in the fossil record separating these animals from their closest […]
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4:30 PM | What Can We Learn From Renaissance Vegetables?
Just throwing this out there. Has there been an attempt to track the meandering flow of selective breeding of fruits, vegetables and flowers by using still life paintings since the Renaissance? Are... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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9:29 AM | a mantis? or a fly?
So, which is it? A mantis? Or a fly? (Image by kind permission of Daniel Llavaneras) In fact, the creature shown in this gorgeous image by Daniel Llavaneras is neither mantis nor true (Dipteran) fly, although its common name is ’mantisfly’. Instead, it belongs to the insect family Mantispidae (a group that includes lacewings and antlions). Like real praying mantids, matisflies walk [...]
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2:19 AM | The Tet Zoo Guide to Gazelle Camels
Some of you will know that I’m putting together a giant textbook on the vertebrate fossil record… and, oh god, it isn’t easy. If you want sneak-peeks on how things are going, please consider... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

February 27, 2015

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11:53 PM | How we think complex cells evolved Imagine you swallowed a small...
How we think complex cells evolved Imagine you swallowed a small bird and suddenly gained the ability to fly … or you ate a cobra and were able to spit poisonous venom! Well, throughout the history of life (and specifically during the evolution of complex eukaryotic cells) things like this happened all the time. Adam Jacobson explains endosymbiosis, a type of symbiosis in which one symbiotic organism lives inside another. View full lesson: […]
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9:00 PM | Just like an elephant and a manatee …
There is a positive correlation between the time since two lineages have diverged and the strength of the reproductive barriers between them. Rothfels et al. (2015) have described a natural hybridization event between two fern genera that diverged from one … Continue reading →
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3:00 PM | The ribosome world hypothesis
The ribosome may be a missing link in the evolution of life. This suggestive proposal has been published by Meredith Root-Bernstein, Oxford University, UK, […] Read more The post The ribosome world hypothesis appeared first on Mapping Ignorance. Related posts:Hybridization: no longer the bad guy Triassic lungs: Unidirectional flow in alligators’ breathing Bees are coffee addicts too
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2:40 PM | Evolution Journal: a Journal of Nature in 20 Volumes.
Evolution JournalA Journal of Nature, Published Monthlyby Evolution Publishing Corporation 20 VolumesJournal extract: Who Believes in Evolution? By David Starr Jordan, 1927.Just now in America organic evolution has come to the front as a popular issue. With it is the broader question as to whether scientific teaching and scientific research shall be subject to official censorship of men who know nothing of such matters. As to the final issue there can be no doubt, for […]
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1:24 PM | New Books Party: Books that arrived recently
This week, I share my thoughts about two new books; one that argues for a radical new history of life on Earth, and the other is a newly revised field guide to diving in AntarcticaA New History of Life: The Radical New Discoveries about the Origins and Evolution of Life on Earth by Joe Kirschvink and Peter Ward [400 pages, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2015; Guardian Bookshop; Amazon UK hardcover; Amazon US hardcover/kindle US] Continue reading...
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10:02 AM | a mantis? or a fly?
So, which is it? A mantis? Or a fly? (Image by kind permission of Daniel Llavaneras) In fact, the creature shown in this gorgeous image by Daniel Llavaneras is neither mantis nor true (Dipteran) fly, although its common name is 'mantisfly'. Instead, it...
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1:31 AM | Whoa, Canada – Don’t go all ‘murica on us
Our regular commentator Terry writes: Up here in Ontario we are having a debate in our provincial legislature about revised sex education standards. It turned ugly, with a couple conservative members dabbling in homophobic innuendo and anti-evolution remarks. The new sex ed standards would have riled conservative regardless, owing to their distrust of government handling… Source: Doubtful News Related posts:Tennessee set to roll back quality of science education (Update: Law […]
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1:31 AM | Whoa, Canada – Don’t go all ‘murica on us
Our regular commentator Terry writes: Up here in Ontario we are having a debate in our provincial legislature about revised sex education standards. It turned ugly, with a couple conservative members dabbling in homophobic innuendo and anti-evolution remarks. The new sex ed standards would have riled conservative regardless, owing to their distrust of government handling… Source: Doubtful News Related posts:Tennessee set to roll back quality of science education (Update: Law […]

February 26, 2015

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8:14 PM | Funding the LTEE—past, present, and future: Questions from Jeremy Fox about the LTEE, part 4
This is the 4th installment in my responses to Jeremy Fox’s questions about the long-term evolution experiment (LTEE) with E. coli. This response addresses his 5th and 6th questions, which are copied below.  ~~~~~ How have you maintained funding for the LTEE … Continue reading →
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7:45 PM | 'Big Brain' Gene Found in Humans, Not Chimps
A single gene may have paved the way for the rise of human intelligence by dramatically increasing the number of brain cells found in a key brain region.
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7:13 PM | How the Mantis Shrimp Packs a Powerful Punch
The miniweight boxing title of the animal world belongs to the mantis shrimp, a cigar-sized crustacean with front claws that can deliver an explosive 60-mile-per-hour punch. The speed of a mantis shrimp’s strike has been compared to that of a bullet leaving the barrel of a gun. Now, a Duke University study of 80 million […] The post How the Mantis Shrimp Packs a Powerful Punch appeared first on EH Science.
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4:15 PM | DNews: How Come Humans Don't Just Keep Getting Bigger?
Some of us are tall, some of us short, some just average height. Clearly, save the occasional exception, our species seems to have hit a height, er, ceiling? What keeps us from being fee-fi-fo-fumming giants?
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12:30 PM | Are We Suppose to Eat a Paleo Diet?
Fact or Fiction? The Paleo Diet is the Way Humans are Suppose to Eat The “Paleolithic Diet”, or “Paleo Diet” for short, is a dietary fad that has gained rather significant popularity over the last few years, mostly due to promotion by several high-profile celebrities (such as Megan Fox and Miley Cyrus). Like vegetarianism and veganism, The paleo diet restricts or prohibits access to certain kinds of foods while emphasizing others. However, unlike veganism and […]
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12:30 PM | Are We Suppose to Eat a Paleo Diet?
Fact or Fiction? The Paleo Diet is the Way Humans are Suppose to Eat The “Paleolithic Diet”, or “Paleo Diet” for short, is a dietary fad that has gained rather significant popularity over the last few years, mostly due to promotion by several high-profile celebrities (such as Megan Fox and Miley Cyrus). Like vegetarianism and veganism, The paleo diet restricts or prohibits access to certain kinds of foods while emphasizing others. However, unlike veganism and […]
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10:00 AM | Digesting yeast's message
A new paper in Nature by Levy et al. reports on the genomic consequences of large-scale selection experiments in yeast.  Yeast reproduce asexually and clones can be labeled with DNA 'barcode' tags and followed in terms of their relative frequency in a colony over time.  This study was able to deal with very large numbers of yeast cells and because they used barcodes the investigators could practicably follow individual clones without needing to do large-scale genome sequencing. […]
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