Life Science

Fins made of straw, easily knocked down

In response to Neil Shubin’s recent paper on the subject, and Carl Zimmer’s summary, the creationist Michael Denton criticizes evolutionary explanations for the vertebrate limb. It’s a bizarre argument. First, here’s the even shorter summary of the Shubin work. Ray-finned fish have, obviously enough, rays in their fins — rigid bony struts that provide structure.…

Believe it or not (and you probably won’t believe it), but I never intended to post today, as it’s a holiday, and I had to write my usual level post for my not-so-super-secret other blog. But then one of you had to send me this: I couldn’t resist at least a quick comment on this.

It lives up to its name. Down to its name? Something, anyway.

“Well, Johnny, when a mommy squid and a daddy squid love each other very much…” “But Mommy, did that one just bite the other one? And are those little bits of squid in the water?” “Holy Mother of God, Johnny, don’t look! Don’t look! They’re eating each other!” “Yes, they are, Mommy, and there is…

Tasmanian devils are rather large carnivorous marsupials. By large, I mean the world’s largest. In only 2 decades, the population of Tasmanian devils have declined by about 85%, landing these animals on the endangered species list. The cause: an infectious cancer called devil facial tumor disease (DFTD). As the name implies, this cancer causes facial…

It is not easy being green

The latest in GMO technology: Photosynthesizing Human Beans! This is silly, but makes some good points. May be good for teachers in your biology class:

The Wildlife of Southeast Asia

Wildlife of Southeast Asia by Susan Myers, is a new pocket identification guide covering “wildlife” in Burma, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, West Malaysia, and Singapore. It covers birds, mammals, reptiles, frogs, and invertebrates. Considering that there must be tens of millions of inverts in Southeast Asia, the coverage here is very minimal, just the highlights,…

Friday Cephalopod: the lonely fisherman

It’s a quiet, lonely life for a squid in the deep, just drifting along, dangling a pair of lines, hoping to snag dinner. There are two videos of this squid, one from 2014 and another from 2013.

I suggest an unholy hybrid of the two.