tetrapodzoology

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Darren Naish

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February 11, 2007
In the previous post we looked at the biology and behaviour of vampire bats. This time we're going to take things a little bit further... Prior to the spread of people and domestic livestock, it is thought that vampires (here we're mostly talking about the Common vampire Desmodus rotundus) most…
February 8, 2007
I am fascinated by bats, and I wish I knew more about them. And among the most fascinating of bats are one of the few groups that all people around the world have heard of: the vampires.... Various non-sanguivorous bats are regarded as vampires by various people in various parts of the world, but…
February 8, 2007
Watch this space. Full post to appear within next few hours. Keep these thoughts in mind; (1) vampire bats increase dramatically in numbers when megafauna (like modern livestock) are abundant; (2) there were lots more megafaunal elements in the Pleistocene than there are today. Hmm...
February 7, 2007
To begin with, let's get things straight and admit up front that Godzilla is not a real animal, nor was it ever. It's an unfeasibly big late-surviving dinosaur (belonging to the hypothetical taxon Godzillasaurus, according to some), mutated by radiation, with a radioactive heart, and virtually…
February 6, 2007
Sorry: this is one of those annoying teaser posts that lots of people hate me for, but I wanted to post it in order to advertise what's coming next (I'd post it now if I could but I don't have the time). And I promise that the article is, within the context of this blog's theme, going to be…
February 5, 2007
We didn't just go to the New Forest on Sunday to look at crossbills, fantastic and charismatic as they are. The main reason for the trip was the visit to Blackwater Arboretum: a locally renowned roosting site for.... Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes. The site is so renowned that, at this…
February 5, 2007
I said I'd get distracted. Yesterday I again found myself in the New Forest in search of - can you guess - deer and birds. We saw deer alright, but mainly it was a finch-themed day ('we' = Southampton Natural History Society). As you can see from the adjacent photo, a lot of people were out, all…
February 2, 2007
Giraffine giraffes (that is, the giraffid clade that includes Giraffa and its closest relatives) are famous for being long necked, with the usual explanation for the neck being that it evolved to enable these animals to avoid competing with other browsers. But for this assumption to be…
February 1, 2007
So many of my so-called friends and associates are actually complete and utter *astards. First Matt Wedel goes and wins some coveted award for being a science genius. Now it turns out that Mark Witton and Graeme Elliott got to spend time with none other than Sir David Attenborough when at - cough…
February 1, 2007
Yet more musings on the evolution of blood-eating in passerine birds... So Redbilled oxpeckers (at least) are (sometimes) wound-feeding, blood-eating parasites (and before reading the following you need to see the previous posts here and here). If I were to indulge in one of those credibility-…
January 31, 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! Before I got distracted by troodontids,…
January 30, 2007
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... Today I was asked a question about sloths. Sloths…
January 29, 2007
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.... Before getting distracted by…
January 27, 2007
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. A while back I made an effort to stop writing so much about birds, and to concentrate instead on other tetrapod groups…
January 26, 2007
Apologies if you're here for the vampires. I'll come back to them soon, I promise, but in the meantime I got distracted... Some biologists - and scientists from other fields - have been quite critical of the fact that people speculate, and speculate, and speculate about dinosaurs (and by 'people'…
January 25, 2007
All of this yet to come... ... vampire finches.... .... vampire bats... ... more on vampire bats... ... and a remarkable interpretation of a group of pterosaurs. Sigh, if only there were more hours in the day. Also coming soon: Britain's lost tree frogs, Confessions of a part-time quadrupedal…
January 25, 2007
More on oxpeckers, on wound-feeding, and on the delightful habit of eating earwax... In the previous post we looked at the behaviour of oxpeckers: the idea that they feed on blood and the other tissues of their hosts was introduced, and we can now doubt the idea that they are always symbiotic '…
January 23, 2007
Welcome to Tetrapod Zoology ver 2: and we start with blood-eating birds.... To everyone who has come over from the blog's former home on blogspot, thanks for coming on over, and to new readers: welcome. This is a blog devoted entirely to discussion of the evolution, history, diversity, biology…