Thursday, January 08, 2009
Monday, January 05, 2009
The end of the year is always time for the countdown lists, but this one is a little different. Wired Magazine writes of "12 Elegant Examples of Evolution" from dinosaurs to birds to anoles to whales there are some really cool stories. Read the whole thing, but here is the excerpt for the anole:
Lizard Games. Take an island in the Bahamas, add a predatory lizard called Leiocephalus carinatus, and the results are immediate. Males among the lizard's favorite prey, Anolis sagrei, soon became longer-legged, so as to better flee after drawing predatory attention during mating displays. In contrast, more sedentary females became larger, making them harder to ingest — a neat display of sex-specific selection pressures.
Photo by Flickr user Steven2005 used under a Creative Commons License.
Thursday, January 01, 2009
Nearby in Vallejo at the Six Flags aka Marine World scientists are hoping to collect the world's first Walrus semen sample.
Good luck guys. All kidding aside this is important research even if John McCain would not agree. And I am going to go ahead and give this post the "cryptozoology" tag since it seems Walrus semen is the Arctic Sea's version of Nessie and Bigfoot.
That possibility makes the breeding behavior of Jocko and his two female friends, who live at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, fascinating to scientists - to the point that one researcher is creating an artificial vagina to entice the 2,200-pound Pacific walrus into sexual acts that can be measured and quantified.
"This would be the first semen sample out of a walrus in the wild or captivity," said Holley Muraco, a specialist in marine mammal reproduction who has constructed similar body parts for horses, cows and pigs.
She said the dramatic changes likely to occur in the Arctic would affect walrus breeding, an obscure activity about which little is known, partly because it happens underwater and partly because Pacific walruses live in a remote part of the world.
Photo by Fickr user Steffe used under a Creative Commons License