Life Science

Friday Cephalopod: Happy Halloween!

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is offering a selection of Halloween e-cards…and you can guess which one I’m sending to you!

Botanical Wednesday: That time of year

Creationist debacle at Michigan State

It’s yet another creationist conference in which the imminent demise of evolutionary theory will be declared this weekend, and it’s being held on a university campus, which is always jarring. The university is said to be “uneasy” about it all. The 1 November event, called the Origin Summit, is sponsored by Creation Summit, an Oklahoma-based…

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Best name ever

It’s the Bone Eating Snot Flower Worm. As a bonus, it’s also one of those species where the large adult forms are all females, and the males have been reduced to a tiny bag of sperm attached for life to a Bone Eating Snot Flower Worm.

Sex Differences in Stress Responses

A recent study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology presents evidence that altering the sex of just the fat body in heads of fruit flies (Drosophila) causes them to have stress responses similar to the opposite sex. Males and females vary in their response to stress. It turns…

The Discovery Institute doesn’t understand the protein folding problem. I mean that literally: they don’t understand the problem. Scientists don’t know the answer, but they have a clear understanding of the problem. PNAS published a “Perspective” article, “The Nature of Protein Folding Pathways,” by S. Walter Englander and Leland Mayne. Unsurprisingly, they try to approach…

The image below is a phylogram, illustrating the degree of variation in a sequence of mitochondrial DNA. The concept is fairly simple: if two DNA samples are from individuals that are evolutionarily distant from one another, they’ll have accumulated more differences in their mitochondrial DNA, and will be drawn farther apart from one another. If…

Creationists and Ebola

The title of this article by Answers In Genesis is a good question: Where Did Ebola Come From? *shrug* Look, I love making fun of Creationists, but this is a great question! Ebola is not ‘supposed’ to be a human pathogen. Like many emerging infectious diseases, the natural reservoir for ebola is bats. Specifically, fruit bats.…

I have to admit that my first response to these reports out of Britain that stem cells had been successfully used to repair a complete spinal cord transection was skepticism — incredulity even. They’re reporting that a man with a completely severed spinal cord at level T10-T11 is able to walk again! The Guardian gushes!…

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Zombies!

Browse this list of images…all of them of real, live, genuine zombified organisms. Just in time for Halloween!