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  • August 12, 2016
  • 07:00 AM
  • 503 views

Friday Fellow: Jataí Bee

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Certainly the most widespread, adaptable and well-known honey-producing bee is Apis melifera, commonly known as honeybee for obvious reasons. But there are a lot of other honey makers all over the world. Today I’m going to present … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • August 10, 2016
  • 11:05 PM
  • 579 views

Size of female-built nests affects how males act

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Last week, I discussed how male quality in birds may be related to their song. How do males evaluate females in return? The answer may lie in their nests.... Read more »

  • August 10, 2016
  • 08:55 AM
  • 638 views

Gimme Some Dihydrogen Monoxide

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

One cannot over estimate the ways that water affects life on Earth. Beyond its chemical properties, some animals have evolved to substitute water for a rigid skeleton. Hydrostatic skeletons can be used for support, but also as water vascular systems that provide pressure for vascular transport and respiration. A recent review by William H. Kier sheds light on the interactions of different fibers and tissues in water based skeletons. Yet some plants can withstand a loss of 60% of their water, whe........ Read more »

Kier, W. (2012) The diversity of hydrostatic skeletons. Journal of Experimental Biology, 215(8), 1247-1257. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.056549  

  • August 3, 2016
  • 05:50 PM
  • 596 views

Chicks dig musicians, or, birdsong and male quality

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Ah, music. Many people are profoundly affected by it, and so are birds. In fact, research by Byers et al. in the August 2016 issue of Ethology suggests that female prairie warblers can gain valuable information about a male through that male’s song, and use this information to decide whether to mate.... Read more »

Byers, B., Akresh, M., & King, D. (2016) Song and Male Quality in Prairie Warblers. Ethology, 122(8), 660-670. DOI: 10.1111/eth.12513  

  • August 2, 2016
  • 08:07 PM
  • 637 views

Gender Conflict: Who’s the man in the relationship?

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Everyone with some sort of knowledge on evolution have heard of sexual conflict, how males and females have different interests during reproduction, and sexual selection, i.e., how one sex can influence the evolution of the other. … Continue reading →... Read more »

Janicke, T., Marie-Orleach, L., De Mulder, K., Berezikov, E., Ladurner, P., Vizoso, D., & Schärer, L. (2013) SEX ALLOCATION ADJUSTMENT TO MATING GROUP SIZE IN A SIMULTANEOUS HERMAPHRODITE. Evolution, 67(11), 3233-3242. DOI: 10.1111/evo.12189  

Leonard, J. (1990) The Hermaphrodite's Dilemma. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 147(3), 361-371. DOI: 10.1016/S0022-5193(05)80493-X  

Schärer, L., Littlewood, D., Waeschenbach, A., Yoshida, W., & Vizoso, D. (2011) Mating behavior and the evolution of sperm design. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 108(4), 1490-1495. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1013892108  

Schärer, L., Janicke, T., & Ramm, S. (2015) Sexual Conflict in Hermaphrodites. Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Biology, 7(1). DOI: 10.1101/cshperspect.a017673  

  • July 29, 2016
  • 08:00 AM
  • 526 views

Friday Fellow: Royal sea star

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll In order to celebrate the 5oth Friday Fellow, which was posted today, I decided to bring you an extra Friday Fellow! Afterall, there are plenty of interesting lifeforms to be shown. As I have never presented … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • July 29, 2016
  • 07:00 AM
  • 737 views

Friday Fellow: Cute bee fly

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Recently the appearance of a new pokémon, Cutiefly, has brought a lot of attention to the real world species in which it is based. So why not bring it to Friday Fellow so that you may … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • July 28, 2016
  • 08:34 AM
  • 724 views

Game of Farmers: Agriculture is coming

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

Gron gazed across the plain from inside a tuft of long grass. There. Just in front of the far hillock. Gazelles. Meals on legs. He vaguely remembered mother carrying him through cooler forests when he was not yet old enough to walk. He had never understood why they had left. But he had learned, had […]... Read more »

Zeder MA. (2008) Domestication and early agriculture in the Mediterranean Basin: Origins, diffusion, and impact. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 105(33), 11597-604. PMID: 18697943  

Lazaridis, I., Nadel, D., Rollefson, G., Merrett, D., Rohland, N., Mallick, S., Fernandes, D., Novak, M., Gamarra, B., Sirak, K.... (2016) Genomic insights into the origin of farming in the ancient Near East. Nature. DOI: 10.1038/nature19310  

  • July 25, 2016
  • 09:04 PM
  • 615 views

Wave that claw: how male crabs attract mates

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Male Ilyoplax pusilla crabs wave their claws in the air to attract females, but why do different-sized males spend different amounts of time waving? The answer lies in research published this year. ... Read more »

  • July 20, 2016
  • 06:50 AM
  • 775 views

Take Off Your Coat And Stay Awhile

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

The naked mole rat is quite naked, but a lack of hair does help it move around in its environment. Other mammals that are supposedly hairless aren’t really, even dolphins have a few hairs. Of course, some humans and other mammals can have autoimmune disease mutations that make them completely hairless. For the naked mole rat it was a strange adaptation with strange results – it has become the only cold-blooded (ectothermic) mammal!... Read more »

  • July 7, 2016
  • 02:44 PM
  • 721 views

Biological fight: kites, mites, quite bright plights

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll A recently described fossil from the Silurian Herefordshire Lagerstätte in the United Kingdom has called much attention. The appearance of the creature was build by scanning the rock and creating a 3D reconstruction of the fossil. … Continue reading →... Read more »

Briggs, D., Siveter, D., Siveter, D., Sutton, M., & Legg, D. (2016) Tiny individuals attached to a new Silurian arthropod suggest a unique mode of brood care. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(16), 4410-4415. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1600489113  

Briggs, D., Siveter, D., Siveter, D., Sutton, M., & Legg, D. (2016) Reply to Piper: Aquilonifer’s kites are not mites . Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(24). DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1606265113  

  • July 7, 2016
  • 09:09 AM
  • 920 views

Are animals (and AI’s) people too?

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

Charles gets up and balances on his short legs. During the brief ungainly walk to the dais, he fights the urge to scratch his arms. The vest that has been tailor-made for him itches. But it will help focus the committee on his purpose, focus on him as a person. He squats on the low […]... Read more »

Perring C. (1997) Degrees of personhood. The Journal of medicine and philosophy, 22(2), 173-97. PMID: 9186928  

Windrem MS, Schanz SJ, Morrow C, Munir J, Chandler-Militello D, Wang S, & Goldman SA. (2014) A competitive advantage by neonatally engrafted human glial progenitors yields mice whose brains are chimeric for human glia. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 34(48), 16153-61. PMID: 25429155  

  • July 6, 2016
  • 08:45 AM
  • 792 views

Is It Hot In Here Or Is It Just My Philodendron?

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

It is usually animals that are referred to as endotherms or ectotherms – plants can’t regulate their temperature, right? Don’t tell that to a certain philodendron that can spike the temperature of its flowers to more than 113˚F on two nights of the year, just to attract the beetles that will pollinate it.... Read more »

  • June 29, 2016
  • 06:20 AM
  • 728 views

Birdsong Babel: Different birds use different grammar rules

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

Zizou listens carefully. She ignores her confines and tries to focus on the intruder’s song. There’s something odd about it. Something she can’t quite put her feather on. It’s familiar, yet… not familiar. The intruder is strong. He or she keeps signing incessantly. There’s no sight of him or her, though. She has to make a […]... Read more »

Olkowicz S, Kocourek M, Lučan RK, Porteš M, Fitch WT, Herculano-Houzel S, & Němec P. (2016) Birds have primate-like numbers of neurons in the forebrain. PNAS, 113(26), 7255-60. PMID: 27298365  

  • June 20, 2016
  • 12:26 AM
  • 624 views

The fabulous taxonomic adventure of the genus Geoplana

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Freshwater planarians are relatively well-known as those cute arrow-shaped cockeyed animals. Land planarians are far away from having all the fame of their aquatic cousins and most people do not even know that they exist. Maybe … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • June 16, 2016
  • 08:30 AM
  • 711 views

An omelette of extinction

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

~50 000 years ago  He wakes. The first sunrays slowly crawl over the horizon. As he gets up, the others in his family group stir. He surveys this new land.  His stomach grumbles… # Present day Born in an African cradle, humanity has spread across the globe. And almost everywhere we went, we managed to […]... Read more »

Miller G, Magee J, Smith M, Spooner N, Baynes A, Lehman S, Fogel M, Johnston H, Williams D, Clark P.... (2016) Human predation contributed to the extinction of the Australian megafaunal bird Genyornis newtoni ∼47 ka. Nature communications, 10496. PMID: 26823193  

  • June 8, 2016
  • 05:38 AM
  • 755 views

Cultural evolution in killer whales

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

Auka watches mother and the other adults hunt. They are black-and-white ghosts flitting through the waters of their chilly world. Their prey is fast, agile. Coordination is key. Which is why the young ones have to stay behind. There is no place for playfulness during the hunt. But Auka doesn’t feel playful. She ignores the […]... Read more »

Foote AD, Vijay N, Ávila-Arcos MC, Baird RW, Durban JW, Fumagalli M, Gibbs RA, Hanson MB, Korneliussen TS, Martin MD.... (2016) Genome-culture coevolution promotes rapid divergence of killer whale ecotypes. Nature communications, 11693. PMID: 27243207  

  • June 1, 2016
  • 09:38 AM
  • 828 views

All hail our eight-limbed overlords

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

(This is my first attempt to blend science and fiction in a single post. The idea is to write about a recent study or studies but explore it through small snippets of original fiction as well. Hope you like it. Feedback is always greatly appreciated…) # A carefully orchestrated dance of chromatophores flashed Octa’s agreement. […]... Read more »

Doubleday ZA, Prowse TA, Arkhipkin A, Pierce GJ, Semmens J, Steer M, Leporati SC, Lourenço S, Quetglas A, Sauer W.... (2016) Global proliferation of cephalopods. Current biology : CB, 26(10). PMID: 27218844  

  • May 26, 2016
  • 11:54 AM
  • 753 views

Male dragonflies are not as violent as thought

by Piter Boll in Earthling Nature

by Piter Kehoma Boll Males and females are defined by their gametes. Males have tiny, usually mobile gametes, while females have very large gametes that usually do not move. This means that females produce less gametes, but put a lot … Continue reading →... Read more »

Chapman, T., Arnqvist, G., Bangham, J., & Rowe, L. (2003) Sexual conflict. Trends in Ecology , 18(1), 41-47. DOI: 10.1016/S0169-5347(02)00004-6  

Córdoba-Aguilar, A., Vrech, D., Rivas, M., Nava-Bolaños, A., González-Tokman, D., & González-Soriano, E. (2014) Allometry of Male Grasping Apparatus in Odonates Does Not Suggest Physical Coercion of Females. Journal of Insect Behavior, 28(1), 15-25. DOI: 10.1007/s10905-014-9477-x  

  • May 25, 2016
  • 09:00 AM
  • 999 views

Are our gut bacteria the key to immortality?

by gdw in FictionalFieldwork

The fight against aging Ever since the ancient Sumerians, men has sought eternal life. We still do. Anti-aging science has become quite an industry. As we dive deeper and deeper into our biological foundations, we’re learning more and more about how and why we age. A lot of mysteries remain, but there’s still talk about […]... Read more »

De Winter, G. (2014) Aging as Disease. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 18(2), 237-243. DOI: 10.1007/s11019-014-9600-y  

Biagi E, Franceschi C, Rampelli S, Severgnini M, Ostan R, Turroni S, Consolandi C, Quercia S, Scurti M, Monti D.... (2016) Gut Microbiota and Extreme Longevity. Current biology : CB. PMID: 27185560  

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