Posts

December 21, 2014

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1:56 PM | Shelf Life: Turtles and taxonomy | @GrrlScientist
For most people, individual plants or animals can be very beautiful, but for scientists, the real wonder lies in understanding the interrelationships between species and how they fit into the tapestry of life.It might surprise you to learn that every week, scientists are discovering new plant and animal species -- even species that are big enough to be seen with the naked eye. With each now discovery comes the same question: how is this new species related to all the others that we already know […]

December 20, 2014

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10:44 PM | Why do we have Pubic Hair? Contains adult themes. Greg Foot...
Why do we have Pubic Hair? Contains adult themes. Greg Foot looks at why humans have pubic hair - investigating the hormones that cause growth, and the benefits of shaving vs letting it grow. By: Head Squeeze.
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8:13 PM | Passerines from the peripheries (part IV): Christmas edition… ROBINS!
It’s time to wind things down for Christmas, so what better way to do it than to write a short article about robins. And here I mean the ‘original’ or ‘proper’ robin – the European robin Erithacus... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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7:25 PM | A visit to the eye doctor – Cool Pharmacology!
Yesterday I went for an eye exam, only about three years overdue (I bow my head in shame…). The eye is one of nature’s wonders. It does not matter the type of eye that we are talking about, from the relatively simple eyecup of many flatworms, to the rather complex vertebrate eye, this organ allows for …
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3:46 PM | A Year in Review: Scientific Advancements of 2014
As we wrap-up another year, it seems appropriate to take some time to think about the scientific advancements made in the past twelve months. From landing on comets to discovering new species in the deepest parts...
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3:16 PM | Morsels For The Mind – 19/12/2014
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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3:16 PM | Morsels For The Mind – 19/12/2014
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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10:56 AM | A clear, molecular view of how human color vision evolved
Many genetic mutations in visual pigments, spread over millions of years, were required for humans to evolve from a primitive mammal with a dim, shadowy view of the world into a greater ape able to see all the colors in a rainbow. Now, after more than two decades of painstaking research, scientists have finished a … Continue reading →
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10:53 AM | New, tighter timeline confirms ancient volcanism aligned with dinosaurs’ extinction
A definitive geological timeline shows that a series of massive volcanic explosions 66 million years ago played a role in the extinction event that claimed Earth’s non-avian dinosaurs, and challenges the dominant theory that a meteorite impact was the sole cause of the extinction. A primeval volcanic range in western India known as the Deccan … Continue reading →
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10:41 AM | Asteroid that wiped out dinosaurs may have nearly knocked off mammals, too
The classic story is that mammals rose to dominance after the dinosaurs went extinct, but a new study shows that some of the most common mammals living alongside dinosaurs, the metatherians, extinct relatives of living marsupials, were also nearly wiped out when an asteroid hit the planet 66 million years ago. Metatherian mammals — the … Continue reading →

December 19, 2014

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10:44 PM | Nature vs Nurture
The recent gun attacks in Sydney and Pakistan have cast a shadow as 2014 comes to a close. But they’ve also got me thinking: Is conflict natural for human beings? Wars have been a constant fixture in the news for as long as you or I have been around. In fact, there are cave paintings […]
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4:50 PM | Is the Sky Really Blue? Five Surprising Facts About Color
Did you know there are forbidden colors we can't see? And that the blue you see isn't really blue...
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4:02 PM | Could Extinct Clouded Leopards Be Reintroduced in Taiwan?
Two years ago, after an intense 13-year quest, scientists concluded that the Formosan clouded leopard (Neofelis nebulosa brachyura) had gone extinct in Taiwan. But a new paper by the same scientists... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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2:22 PM | Cover illustration for the latest special issue of General and...
Cover illustration for the latest special issue of General and Comparative Endocrinology on Peptide hormone-binding GPCR evolution. It represents the meeting between modern technology and the evolutionary principles that go back more than a hundred years - using Charles Darwin’s famous tree sketch to set Darwin’s evolutionary principles in a current molecular biology context.
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12:00 AM | Science Book a Day Interviews James Lu Dunbar
Special thanks to James Lu Dunbar for answering 8 questions about his recently featured book – The Universe Verse James “Jamie” Lu Dunbar lives in Oakland, CA where he helps manage the Sirius Puppy Training School, James & Kenneth Publishers and Dog Star […]

December 18, 2014

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11:12 PM | I call it as I see it–a denier is not a skeptic
The name of this blog, of course, is the Skeptical Raptor. I’m not sure how I invented that name, but I like raptors, either the fossil dinosaur version, or the living dinosaur versions, birds of prey. They both actually work as a metaphor of what I try to do–provide scientific and knowledgeable analyses of the scientific […]Continue reading «I call it as I see it–a denier is not a skeptic»
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7:30 PM | Mars, Ancient Water, Deep Hydrogen, and Life
Two billion year-old water pockets and a revised deep hydrogen content are good news for Earth’s vast subsurface biosphere, and could offer clues to life on Mars and much further beyond.... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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7:30 PM | Mars, Ancient Water, Deep Hydrogen, and Life
Two billion year-old water pockets and a revised deep hydrogen content are good news for Earth’s vast subsurface biosphere, and could offer clues to life on Mars and much further beyond.... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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1:53 PM | Top 2014 Evolution and Development Books
Jump to General Biology; Zoology; Invertebrates; Vertebrates; Human Biology; Systematics and Phylogenetics; Palaeontology; Geology; Historical Geology; Ecology; Environmental; Climate Change; Botany; Microbiology; History; Philosophy.  Because of sheer volume of evolution books this year, my own tastes and biases are on full display in this top 5. Check the runners up to find something more relevant for […] The post Top 2014 Evolution and Development Books appeared first on […]
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6:53 AM | Post Permian Mass Extinction Size Reduction In Glossopteris Plant Lineages
Mass extinctions prune away branches of the tree of life. The late Permian-Triassic mass extinction event affected marine and terrestrial animal life severely, perhaps more than it affected terrestrial plant life. One common observation is that survivor species tend to be smaller bodied representatives of groups. This is known as the Lilliput effect.A lot of attention has been paid to evolutionary trends in size during and post mass extinction in various animal groups. An interesting paper in […]
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2:26 AM | Here’s how pearlfish call to each other from inside the bodies of other living animals
A new study has revealed how marine pearlfish communicate with each other from the confines of their very safe and comfy homes inside oysters – they use the internal structure of the shell to... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

December 17, 2014

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5:24 PM | The best science books of 2014: Biology | @GrrlScientist
Today, I share a list of what I consider to be the best popular biological sciences books of the year, hoping that you’ll find lots of interesting and unusual ideas for all the biology buffs on your holiday gift-giving list!Continuing on with the theme I started recently, I am naming some of the popular science books in the biological sciences that I think are the best of 2014. The biological sciences are an even larger genre and more difficult-to-define than is nature writing, but it […]
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5:00 PM | Of Mice and Men: The Evolution of Cis-Regulatory Elements
DNase Hypersenestive sites (DHSs) are regions within the genome that are susceptible to cleavage by the enzyme DNase I. These regions are susceptible because they lie in uncondensed regions of euchromatin and are readily accessible to the DNase enzyme. In vivo however, these regions are also accessible to regulatory proteins ... The post Of Mice and Men: The Evolution of Cis-Regulatory Elements appeared first on EpiBeat.
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4:26 PM | Wolverines Give Insight into the Evolution of Greed
Cross-posted with the permission of Dr. Nathan Lents from his The Human Evolution Blog.   Greed is often defined as the intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food. Although we usually associate this unseemly...
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11:00 AM | The 300th article at Tet Zoo ver 3 is very weird
Welcome to the 300th article to be published here at Tet Zoo ver 3 (note: not at Tet Zoo as a whole). I feel that this momentous occasion should be marked in some way, so here we are. The 200th... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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3:00 AM | The Universe Verse
By James Lu Dunbar Synopsis: The Universe Verse is a scientifically-accurate rhyming comic book about the origins of the universe, life on Earth and the human race. It introduces and illuminates the most fundamental features of our […]

December 16, 2014

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7:20 PM | Bacterial Motors Come in a Dizzying Array of Models
Bacteria that can swim propel themselves with corkscrew tails anchored in rotary motors. That may seem surprisingly mechanical for a microbe, but it is a system that has been wildly popular and... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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5:25 PM | Amazonian Chick Mimics a Poisonous Caterpillar
In a bid to look unattractive to predators, the nestlings not only look like caterpillars but move just like them, too.
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4:50 PM | Another Northern White Rhino Dies, Only 5 Remain
And then there were five. The death by old age this past weekend of Angalifu, a 44-year-old northern white rhino (Ceratotherium simum cottoni) that lived at San Diego Zoo, reduces the world... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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8:00 AM | More praise of mathematics
Following my post last week on the need for more complicated models in economics, a new paper in PLOS Biology argues for the importance of mathematical models in showing ‘proof of concept’ (HT: Santa Fe Institute News). The authors write: Proof-of-concept models, used in many fields, test the validity of verbal chains of logic by […]
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