• The author of Laelaps (Brian Switek) feeding a giraffe at the “Animal Kingdom Zoo” in NJ.

Welcome, dear reader, to Laelaps, my spot on the web for the various ramblings, asinine assertions, and the occasional insightful thought involving ecology, zoology, paleontology, anthropology, and evolution. Readers familiar with my previous posts on Laelaps v. 1 will know that I’m partial to vertebrate paleontology, but most of what I write is an attempt to relay what I’ve been learning about the history of life on earth and isn’t limited to sabercats, theropod dinosaurs, archaeocetes, etc. (although you can expect to see plenty of them).

At present I’m a Rutgers University undergraduate student with an official major of “Ecology & Evolution” (but unofficially “Evolutionary Anthropology”; it’s complicated), although I’ve switched courses of study of few times. Over the past 6 years I’ve majored in Marine Science; Environmental Policies, Institutions, and Behaviors; and Eco. and Evo., earning a 2-year degree in education along the way, and I’m sure in time more details about this process will come out in the form of a frustrated rant (but not today). Indeed, my transcript looks like an absolute trainwreck, but the diversity of courses I’ve taken has given me a much broader background in natural history than I would have gained had if I never changed my major at all.

Most of what I learn, however, I acquire outside the lecture halls through books, and if it were not for my compulsion to always be reading or writing something when I have a free moment this blog certainly would not exist. Still, I am not entirely a bookworm, and I often visit zoos, aquariums, museums, national parks, and other areas that might offer up good photographic opportunities, and I’ll be sharing the better photographs on this blog in addition to the regular posts.


  • An Amur Leopard (Panthera pardus orientalis) at the Philadelphia Zoo, taken a few weeks ago.

I should probably wrap up this introduction before I go on too long, but I am absolutely ecstatic about being a part of the ScienceBlogs community. From the consistent quality of work seen from many of my fellow SciBlings, I definitely have my work cut out for me, but I plan on hitting the ground running. I’ll be bringing back/updating/revising many of the “classic” (if I may use such a term) Laelaps posts in addition to the loads of brand-new material I have planned. Whatever I have written in the past or will write in the future, however, I am definitely glad to be here and I am looking forward to sharing my understanding of what Darwin once called the “endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful.”


  1. #1 Louis B�rub�
    October 6, 2007

    Am I mistaken or is this blogroll bigger than the last one?

  2. #2 coturnix
    October 8, 2007

    Welcome to the Family, Brian!

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    October 8, 2007

    Lookin’ great. Love the header graphic. I’ve updated my blogroll accordingly!

  4. #4 Julia
    October 8, 2007

    The ScienceBlogs template looks good on Laelaps!

  5. #5 Darren Naish
    October 8, 2007

    Congrats on the move Brian, and welcome to scienceblogs!

  6. #6 Zach Miller
    October 8, 2007

    Well done, sir!

  7. #7 IanR
    October 8, 2007

    Congrats on the move!

  8. #8 John Pieret
    October 8, 2007

    Nifty new digs!

  9. #9 kate
    October 8, 2007


  10. #10 Ed Darrell
    October 8, 2007

    Congratulations! With some luck, this will get you more readers. Heaven knows the readers need it.

  11. #11 Dave
    October 8, 2007

    Congrats, Brian. I just recently learned about (through Pharyngula) and started reading your blog. The number of mouse clicks I will need to make to get there has now been reduced. YAY!

  12. #12 bug_girl
    October 8, 2007

    Now I can say “I knew him when he was just a little wordpress blog…..”


  13. #13 John Pieret
    October 8, 2007

    I wouldn’t tag you on your first day in your new place, but this meme that is going around might be a nice way to introduce yourself. Feel free not to play though.

  14. #14 Laelaps
    October 8, 2007

    Thanks for the kind words everyone, and thanks for the meme John! I’m actually working on a new post at the moment so I can’t take it up now, but I certainly will tomorrow (I like the idea very much).

  15. #15 Steve Matheson
    October 8, 2007

    [Wild applause, sort of like that heard at Fenway Park on Friday.] Congratulations, Brian. (BTW, someday I’d like to see some proof that you’re really just one person. Till then, I’m tempted to call you “Brian”… but let’s not go into that now, while you’re posing on the red carpet.) 🙂

  16. #16 DoubleW
    October 8, 2007

    Sweet new home you got there. You will be a fine addition to Science Blogs. I have appropriately updated my link.

  17. #17 Christophe Thill
    October 9, 2007

    Hi Brian. Be sure I’ll follow your blog even more regularly than before!
    And thanks for the photos, the leopard is wonderful. Longlive cats of all kinds and sizes!

  18. #18 TheBrummell
    October 9, 2007

    Congratulations! Long have I thought you deserved a place here.

    Bookmarks updating….done

  19. #19 Christopher Taylor
    October 9, 2007

    Enjoy the new setting, Brian. I hope they hurry up with the RSS feed, though – I’m worried I’ll miss something.

    One tiny problem – you’ve misspelled the name of my site on your blogroll.

  20. #20 Laelaps
    October 9, 2007

    Thanks Chris, and sorry about the spelling error. I could have just wrote Catalog of Organisms, but that doesn’t sound as official (and it sounds like something I can order from…).

  21. #21 makita
    October 10, 2007

    Congratulations on the move. I’ve updated my blogroll.

  22. #22 kate
    October 11, 2007

    just updated my blogroll, but noticed that you’re still not added to the scrollbar of Sb blogs on the right of the site?

  23. #23 Laelaps
    October 11, 2007

    I appreciate the update, Kate. Something is up with the front page so none of the new blogs have been added yet. Hopefully it’ll be fixed soon so people know I’m here!

  24. #24 MIke Haubrich, FCD
    October 8, 2009

    Two Years! This has all gone so quickly for me, Brian. Thanks for all the great photos and stories.

  25. #25 JefFlyingV
    October 8, 2009

    Brian as a late comer to reading your blog, you are informative, educational and a great photographer. I enjoy your articles.

  26. #26 kodes
    May 20, 2010

    I appreciate the update, Kate. Something is up with the front page so none of the new blogs have been added yet. Hopefully it’ll be fixed soon so people know I’m here!

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