Tetrapod Zoology

Archives for January, 2007

In the latest installment in that ‘evolution of vampires’ thread, we learn how a chronic decline in populations of the Yellowbilled oxpecker has highlighted the pretty obvious fact that not all oxpeckers are alike. Why didn’t I mention this sooner: d’oh!

Sloths. Were there predatory sloths? Sloths that lived in the sea? Sloths that dug immense tunnels? Sloths on Antarctica? Sloths so keen to get to the US of A that they didn’t wait for the land bridge, but swam the way instead? Well, let’s see…

It turns out that Cretaceous troodontid dinosaurs had asymmetrical ears. This makes them like owls, which also have asymmetrical ears. But not all owls have asymmetrical ears and, what’s more, the story of ear asymmetry in owls is itself a pretty remarkable one….

The godwits’ many bills

My advice: get into the field and look at animals. Then wonder why some of them have curved bills, why they walk round in circles.. and whether a godwit is a big dowitcher or not.

Apologies if you’re here for the vampires. I’ll come back to them soon, I promise, but in the meantime I got distracted…

Still to come…

All of this yet to come…

More on oxpeckers, on wound-feeding, and on the delightful habit of eating earwax…

The evolution of vampires

Welcome to Tetrapod Zoology ver 2: and we start with blood-eating birds….