Tet Zoo featured on NBN

Yesterday, Tet Zoo was the featured blog on the Nature Blog Network blog: if you haven't seen the interview please do check it out here.

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NBN is well known to most bloggers who write about the natural world: it's a ranked network of blogs, all of which are united by the fact that they focus on animals, ecosystems, or outdoorsy stuff in general [the accompanying picture shows the Miocene phocid Acrophoca longirostris as featured in a mural at the SMNK in Karlsruhe. Image kindly provided by Markus Bühler. The image is irrelevant to the current article, but what the hey. Weird long-necked pinnipeds have of course been a Tet Zoo mainstay for a while].

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Actually, I think that at least a few blogs on NBN are not really 'nature blogs' at all (in that they blog about all manner of stuff... and I'm not going to mention any names). On that note I was slightly surprised recently to learn that at least some people think that Tet Zoo is not deserving of a place on NBN, given that it is more concerned with academic stuff than outdoorsy stuff. Part of the problem might be that Tet Zoo deals with fossil animals quite a lot, and they tend not be regarded as part of 'natural history' by the majority. Oh well, you can't please all the people all of the time. Anyway, enjoy the interview [sleeping Sika deer shown in adjacent pic, also irrelevant].

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"Part of the problem might be that Tet Zoo deals with fossil animals quite a lot, and they tend not be regarded as part of 'natural history' by the majority."

Because Natural History Museums are generally hiking showcases....

By Pete Buchholz (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

Is it possible to slap the person who stated the above? Wow. "Not part of "natural history" by the majority"?

Two years ago I was enjoying the AMNH in New York with a friend when I overheard a docent explaining to a crowd of gawkers that "the brontosaurus was bipedal...that means it held it's legs under it's body like a person, and not out to the side like an animal". The number of problems with that almost made me explode...and I had to be dragged away by said friend before I made a scene.

Part of the problem might be that Tet Zoo deals with fossil animals quite a lot, and they tend not be regarded as part of 'natural history' by the majority.

"Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution."

"Everything is the way it is because it got that way."

Biology has to be done in four dimensions, not three, to make any sense.

By David MarjanoviÄ (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

Just to be clear, I was quoting Darren's article. I don't know how to do the fancy-pants quotes on scienceblogs... every time I try normal (and not so normal) html stuff, it ends up not being correct. Is there an explanation of how to do that stuff on SB anywhere?

And yes, I agree, that statement is dripping with 87 kinds of ridiculousness.

By Pete Buchholz (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

Congrats Darren. And as for the whole idea that paleontology isn't an outdoorsy science, these people obviously don't know that 90% of paleontology is freezing your bum off in who knows where, just to stick your nose in the ground the next day across a field of badlands to look for a multituberculate jaw or something. Sheesh. Read a paleontologist biography. Any paleontologist biography. The vast majority of them have field research at some point (heck, even Leakey helped out in Tendaguru, even though he was sick half the time).

By Metalraptor (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

Anyone thinks Darren doesn't belong on Nature Blog Network is daft. The great strength of TetZoo is that Darren integrates paleontology with an excellent sense of extant animals gained by things like picking up and bringing home dead ones or going out looking for slow-worms and other critters. 'Academic' sounds stuffy but as applied by Darren, it's just nature in depth rather than skimmed.

By Mike from Ottawa (not verified) on 05 May 2009 #permalink

at least some people think that Tet Zoo is not deserving of a place on NBN, given that it is more concerned with academic stuff than outdoorsy stuff.

What tosh! Anyone who thinks that is too clueless to be taken seriously.

Now for something completely different (and slightly OT, but this thread is as good place as any to draw attention to a curious little Tet Zoo-related anomaly).

If you click on the ClustrMaps in the extreme lower left hand corner, you can see from which countries Tet Zoo visitors came during the period October 3, 2008 - April 3, 2009. Countries are listed by the number of Tet Zoo 'visits'.

For the most part, the country order in this list roughly agrees with the countries' respective population sizes (with industrialised nations in general, and majority English-speaking nations in particular, being positioned higher than expected). However, there is one huge exception: the Holy See a.k.a. the Vatican. It has a population of only 800, and yet computers with Vatican IP addresses have visited Tet Zoo 447 times during this period! For comparison: Iceland, population 320,000, 237 Tet Zoo visits; Luxembourg, population 492,000, 49 visits; Liechtenstein, population 36,000, 4 visits; Andorra, population 86,000, 2 visits; San Marino, population 31,000, no visits.

This begs the questions 'Why is the Vatican punching so much above its weight?', and 'What could be done to attract San Marinean/Marinoan/Marinese readers?'

Wow, that is really very interesting. I wonder if - rather than Tet Zoo being anything special - the Vatican keeps close tabs on all Sb sites. After all, the huge quantity of anti-religious/atheist stuff here is bound to be of interest to them. Any better ideas? It' always possible that someone there simply likes reading about turtle penises, mystery big cats, killer eagles and sex with pigs.

I kind of doubt that the Vatican keeps up on atheist sites to that degree: a couple dozen hits to every atheist blog on the Net would be more than their population could keep up. Anyway, they would have learned by now that TetZoo doesn't deal with that stuff (for which I am very grateful! I think it does much more harm than good; associating science with atheism just gives religious people more reason to reject science.)

I imagine it has to do with the Vatican, unlike San Marino and the other small nations, being a concentrator of people with intellectual pursuits. All those others are 'natural' populations, but the only people who actually live in the Vatican are very top of the heap, and usually are involved in all kinds of philosophy, science, theology, and the interrelations between them.

By William Miller (not verified) on 06 May 2009 #permalink

every time I try normal (and not so normal) html stuff, it ends up not being correct.

Simply type <blockquote> in front and </blockquote> behind the quoted text. And don't preview, that screws everything up.

The new ScienceBlogs default layout is stupid, BTW. It sucks even worse than the previous ones. Blockquotes are no longer indented, they are slightly⦠edented, and have only a thin line of points to their left that overlaps the comment number if the comment starts with a quote. Darren, if they still haven't fixed that in a week or two, I recommend you ask PZ nicely for his CSS file or whatever. His layout got screwed up, too, but not as badly!

By David MarjanoviÄ (not verified) on 06 May 2009 #permalink

Simply type

in front and

behind the quoted text. And don't preview, that screws everything up.

Thanks David!

By Pete Buchholz (not verified) on 06 May 2009 #permalink

Could the Vatican hits be a case of people who mask their true location chosing it as a "funny" false flag?

By Andreas Johansson (not verified) on 06 May 2009 #permalink

"Part of the problem might be that Tet Zoo deals with fossil animals quite a lot, and they tend not be regarded as part of 'natural history' by the majority."

- this is rather ridiculous when you look at some of the blogs on there which are more (or pretty much all) politics/religion.

Im buried somewhere way down the list on NHB, partly due to the limited way I have to embed the code which records hits, but thats an issue with my blog host not NHB, on which I have found many interesting blog

"All too often, detailed information on animals is restricted to the technical literature: itâs âsecret informationâ, available only to those few who own this material."

Yes, yes, YES! As a bio undergrad who can't currently continue taking classes, reading your blog makes me feel like so much less of a lump. Your writing style is engaging enough that I almost feel like I'm in class again. I've been meaning to thank you for awhile now, and this just seemed like a good time.

So, thanks! :)