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America’s lust for gigantic breasts leads to impotence: the population genetics of captive-reared turkeys

biology, Conservation, ecology, evolution, Natural Science, ScienceNovember 23, 2011

The noble turkey, a centerpiece of the American Thanksgiving supper. It looms large from its prominent position on the dining room table. The master of ceremonies – or, in my case, the guy who keeps slicing himself open with various sharp objects yet is inexplicably the one people call on when there’s knife-work needs doing […]

Misunderstood Marine Life # 7 – The Living Fossils

evolution, History of Science, Natural Science, Ocean of Pseudoscience Week, ScienceOctober 3, 2011

Horseshoe Crabs, Coelacanths, Seven-gilled sharks, hagfish. Throughout the oceans there are creatures whose primitive bodies hearken back to earlier days in our evolutionary history. They possess basal characteristics that are more akin to those of the ancestors of our contemporary phyla. Because we can look into these organisms and learn something about our own deep past, we […]

In sexual selection and thermoregulation, bigger is better, at least for fiddler crabs

biology, ecology, evolution, marine science, Natural Science, ScienceSeptember 21, 2011

Imagine yourself a fiddler crab. For this exercise, imagine yourself a male fiddler crab. Are you with me? Great. Check out your right claw, it’s a sleek, slender machine, perfect for picking through the sand as you sift out bacteria and other microorganisms for food. It also makes a handy shovel for digging nice deep […]

A Brief Primer on Inbreeding Depression

evolution, Popular Culture, ScienceApril 28, 2011

There I was, proudly ambivalent about events happening across the pond. Some royal something or other getting civil union-ed with some wealthy something something. Apparently this happening also involves some high-falutin’ muckity-muck. I had managed to avoid just about everything about this event, until my shields were ultimately breached by an unlikely saboteur. The scientific […]

Conservation and the Concept of Species in a Biodiversity Crisis (Part 1)

biology, Conservation, ecology, evolution, Natural Science, ScienceJanuary 24, 2011

In The Mass Extinction of Scientists Who Study Species, Dr. Craig McClain argues that we are loosing a fundamental unit of biological science – the Taxonomist. He’s right, of course. Taxonomy is a shrinking field. Entire phyla sit, unstudied, as the expertise necessary to understand them retires and expires. With few to train the next […]

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