Life Science

Gecko water repellent

A new study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface from a team of researchers (University of the Sunshine Coast, James Cook University, University of Queensland, Australia, and the University of Oxford) described how geckos living in humid areas manage to stay dry. The researchers used a scanning electron microscope to take a…

Friday Cephalopod: A good glower

Aegirocassis benmoulae

Anomalocaris has always been one of my favorite Cambrian animals — it was so weird, and it was also the top predator of the age, making it the equivalent of T. rex. The anomalocarids were also a diverse and successful group, so wouldn’t you know it…it also had a distant filter-feeding cousin in the Ordovician.…

Junk DNA must be…fractal ballast!

I’ve now read two novel attempts to explain the existence of junk DNA. To a lot of people, the very idea of junk DNA is offensive: whatever process built us, whether divine fiat or the razor-sharp honing of natural selection, must be powerful, omnipotent or nearly so, and incapable of tolerating any noise or sloppiness,…

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Birthin’

This skink looks like it just burst out of someone’s chest, and in addition, it’s full of little baby skinks.

Article Processing Charges

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that I wanted to use spring break to make progress on various writing and research projects. One of those projects is based on one of the Darwin Day talks I gave in February, in which I discussed some of the mathematical arguments used by anti-evolutionists. In my preparations I gathered…

Behind matchmaking at the zoo

I had no idea that matchmaking was this complex for zoo animals: World News Videos | US News Videos

Friday Cephalopod: Seachild

Then he waited, marshaling his thoughts and brooding over his still untested powers. For though he was master of the world, he was not quite sure what to do next. But he would think of something.

And by “my” penis I mean “your” penis, of course. This is a perennial question. For some reason, which I do not understand, the feminist perspective (note: I’m a feminist) is often to belittle the question, but really, that isn’t fair. It is not that difficult to imagine how anyone would come to a question…

We had a blizzard this week. It’s bitterly cold right now. I was trying hard to think of good reasons to have left the Pacific Northwest, and this is about the only thing I came up with: Devil’s Club.