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Hype of “Feel-Good Gene” Makes Me Feel Bad

In 1990 The New York Times published a front-page article by Lawrence Altman, a reporter with a medical degree, announcing that scientists had discovered “a link between alcoholism and a specific gene.” That was merely one in a string of reports in which the Times and other major media hyped what turned out to be [...]..

March 13, 2015 — John Horgan

Neandertals Turned Eagle Talons into Jewelry 130,000 Years Ago

As longtime readers may have noticed, I have an abiding interest in Neandertals. To help me keep up with the latest scientific insights into these mysterious relatives of ours, I have a Google alert set for "Neandertal" (and the alternate spelling, "Neanderthal")...

March 12, 2015 — Kate Wong

The Atomic Worm-Lizard and Other Aprasia Flapfoots

I'm feeling the urge to blog about lizards. So, today I'd like to talk about the Aprasia species, a group of short-tailed, near-limbless gekkotans that belong to the Australian Pygopodidae family, the so-called flapfoots, flap-footed lizards or pygopods...

March 11, 2015 — Darren Naish

If Apes Go Extinct, So Could Entire Forests

Bonobo poop matters. Well, maybe not the poop itself, but what's in it. You see, bonobos eat a lot of fruit, and fruit contains seeds. Those seeds travel through a bonobo's digestive system while the bonobo itself travels through the landscape...

March 11, 2015 — John R. Platt
Call of the Orangutan: The Importance of Play

Call of the Orangutan: The Importance of Play

The past couple of months have been excellent for our data collection, as we've encountered a number of parties of orangutans. This is a more common occurrence in the high productivity forests of Sumatra, where we’re working, than on Borneo, where animals tend to be much more dispersed due to limitations in food availability...

March 9, 2015 — James Askew
A Blizzard of Astrobiology

A Blizzard of Astrobiology

Astrobiology has one key advantage when it comes to tooting its own horn – it can lay claim to a diverse range of scientific research as being relevant to the study of life in the universe...

March 9, 2015 — Caleb A. Scharf
Meet Gil Wizen’s Neighbors

Meet Gil Wizen’s Neighbors

Unless you live under a rock, you have likely seen the clean white natural history work of the Meet Your Neighbours project. And even if you do live under a rock, chances are one of the project’s members has found you, removed you to a plastic stage, and snapped a photo...

March 6, 2015 — Alex Wild

Meet the Scaly-tail Gliders

Among the weirdest and most fascinating of rodents are the scalytails/scaly-tails, scaly-tailed squirrels or anomalures, properly termed Anomaluridae.

March 3, 2015
Along the Tiger's Trail: Where Are the Cats Found and Why?

Along the Tiger's Trail: Where Are the Cats Found and Why?

A team of four WCS India Program field members are sweating it out in the rugged hilly terrain of Malenad. Walking neither too fast, nor too slow, they follow a trail, diligently observing and recording signs of tigers and other wildlife along the way...

March 3, 2015 — A. Srivathsa, K.K. Karanth and S. Shrestha
How a Goshawk Scalped Me—Twice

How a Goshawk Scalped Me–Twice

A charming article about northern goshawks by James Gorman of the New York Times has dredged up a memory of my run-in with one of these fierce creatures.

March 2, 2015 — John Horgan
What Can We Learn From Renaissance Vegetables?

Vegetable-Breed Time Capsules in Renaissance Whimsy

Just throwing this out there. Has there been an attempt to track the meandering flow of selective breeding of fruits, vegetables and flowers by using still life paintings since the Renaissance?...

February 28, 2015 — Glendon Mellow
How to Study a Complex Microbial World – Part 3: Genes to Genomes

How to Study a Complex Microbial World – Part 3: Genes to Genomes

In part 1 of this series, I talked about what DNA sequencing is, and why it’s an important tool. In part 2, I explained some of the technologies that scientists are currently using to actually “read” the letters of DNA sequences from organisms...

February 28, 2015 — Kevin Bonham

The Tet Zoo Guide to Gazelle Camels

Some of you will know that I'm putting together a giant textbook on the vertebrate fossil record… and, oh god, it isn't easy. If you want sneak-peeks on how things are going, please consider supporting me at my patreon page...

February 27, 2015 — Darren Naish

Amur Leopard Population Booms…to 57

The world's rarest big cats have become ever-so-slightly less rare over the past decade. According to a census released this week, there are now at least 57 Amur leopards (Panthera pardus orientalis) in Russia...

February 24, 2015 — John R. Platt
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