A certain deep, primal part of my brain went “Squeeee!” at this video of a nautilus being fed by hand. I want one. I want a cephalopod to be my friend. But sorry, people, taking an exotic animal out of the ocean and confining it to an aquarium is not exactly the friendliest thing to…

A defense of ENCODE?

Dan Graur has snarled at the authors of a paper defending ENCODE. How could I then resist? I read the offending paper, and I have to say something that will weaken my own reputation as a snarling attack dog myself: it does make a few good points. But it’s mostly using some valid criticisms to…

Over on Telliamed Revisited, Richard Lenski is talking about his favorite examples of evolution, and mentioned this figure from a paper on hybrid monkeyflowers. Cross-species breeding produces interesting results!

Friday Cephalopods: I ♥ embryos

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.

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.