Pharyngula

Archives for December, 2011

(via Aquaviews) One of the bonuses of having lots of legs is that you can go bipedal whenever you feel like it. (via TONMO) A fun suggestion: do a google image search for “Wonderpus”. Be prepared to go blind. (Also on FtB)

You’ve probably heard this story many times before: there’s some kind of glass ceiling in the world of science and math that hinders women’s ability to progress. The latest data confirms that something is going wrong. The United States ranks 31st on the World Economic Forum’s Gender Gap Index and is tied for 21st on…

Usually, first thing in the morning, I’m feeding you some fresh new outrage or foolishness. How about something to awe and inspire for once? Here, watch the gorillas, and think about your place in the universe. (Also on FtB)

Ark Park? What Ark Park?

Ken Ham has been planning to build this colossal boondoogle in Kentucky, a life-sized replica of Noah’s Ark. Except they’ve hit one little snag. Their groundbreaking was pushed back from spring, to summer, to fall, and the most recent media report was to next spring. Meanwhile, their fundraising goal of $24.5 million appears to have…

Why do women menstruate?

Menstruation is a peculiar phenomenon that women go through on a roughly monthly cycle, and it’s not immediately obvious from an evolutionary standpoint why they do it. It’s wasteful — they are throwing away a substantial amount of blood and tissue. It seems hazardous; ancestrally, in a world full of predators and disease, leaving a…

Botanical Wednesday: Festively parasitic

How appropriate that one of the symbols of the season should be a parasite. (Also on FtB)

The eyes of Anomalocaris

Look with your puny camera eyes! Some new specimens of Anomalocaris, the spectacular Cambrian predator, have been discovered in South Australia. These fossils exhibit well-preserved eyes, allowing us to see that the bulbous stalked balls on their heads were actually fairly typical compound eyes, like those of modern insects. Anomalocaris eyes from the Emu Bay…

I’ve been guilty of teaching bean-bag genetics this semester. Bean-bag genetics treats individuals as a bag of irrelevant shape containing a collection of alleles (the “beans”) that are sorted and disseminated by the rules of Mendel, and at its worst, assigns one trait to one allele; it’s highly unrealistic. In my defense, it was necessary…

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Snacktime

(Also on FtB)

Anti-Caturday post

Usually, I try to accentuate the positive and tell you why other animals are so much more interesting than cats, but today I’m going right for the gutter and showing you why cats are evil. Behold, the cat penis: You know who else has a penis like that? Satan. Now you have another reason to…