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Posts Tagged "Art"

Anthropology in Practice

Structures in City Hall Park

City Hall Park in New York City is often home to public art exhibits. The current installment is Sol LeWitt’s Structures. LeWitt is the American artist often credited with creating minimalism and conceptualism. He is known for his sculptures—which he described as “structures.” The installation shares a collection that spans his own transition as an [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

There’s Darwin’s Fungus!

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Last winter I wrote a post called “Darwin’s Neon Golf Balls” about a fungus called Cyttaria that Darwin collected during his journey on the Beagle. The fungus has a fascinating alien shape and neon orange color when fresh. At the time, I wrote: According to the Royal Botanic Garden at Kew, Darwin sent his specimen [...]

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The Artful Amoeba

A Stuffy Government Yearbook and Its Beautiful, Exotic Worms

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Consider this image: Is it a work from a modern-day Book of Kells? A Chinese seal? The cover of The Neverending Story?  No. Would you have guessed it is from a U.S. government publication? Here it is in its original context (don’t miss the caption!). Here’s another, of a free-living marine nematode called Draconema (see [...]

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Beautiful Minds

The Mind of the Prodigy

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Prodigies dazzle us with their virtuoso violin concertos, seemingly prescient chess moves, and vivid paintings. While their work would be enough to impress us if they were 40, prodigies typically reach adult levels of performance in non-verbal, rule-based domains such as chess, art, and music before the age of 10. Their performances are hard to [...]

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Beautiful Minds

Why Education Needs More Radioactive Spiders

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Education needs more radioactive spiders. Stay with me. Remember Peter Parker? His childhood wasn’t easy. Both of his parents– Richard and Mary– were killed on a mission as double agents. Raised by his Uncle Ben and Aunt May in Queens, Peter spent most of his childhood without an identity. Now, Peter was a good student. [...]

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Compound Eye

When an artist copies a photograph, who gets the credit?

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Yesterday’s L.A. Times ran a charming piece about ant sex by biologist Marlene Zuk: What ant sex reminds us is that spring can be kind of scary, or at least sobering, particularly for non-humans. Millions of ants, millions of robin eggs, millions of flower seeds, most destined to die before they are even fully grown, [...]

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Expeditions

Plankton hunting: part art, part science

Our last stopping place (left) compared to this one (right).

We’re in a new location now after a few days of steaming around looking for Ehux. Plankton hunting is a science, but I’ve learned that it’s also an art. The team uses really high tech satellite data to point them in the right direction. Satellites can measure chlorophyll content of the water, currents and the [...]

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Food Matters

Still-Life Food Is So 21st Century

Still Life With Gilt Goblet. Willem Heda's famous masterpiece from 1635. Oil on Panel, 88cm x 113cm. Image courtesy of Rijksmuseum. [Click on the image to see the source.]

In his Haarlem studio, Dutch painter Willem Claeszoon Heda took care to shadow in creases on a damask tablecloth and added enough yellow to make light bounce off a pewter pitcher. In the lower right-hand corner of his famous “Still Life With Gilt Goblet” piece, the artist from The Netherlands couldn’t help himself. He snuck in [...]

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Guest Blog

Confirmation Bias and Art

By now, our overwhelming tendency to look for what confirms our beliefs and ignore what contradicts our beliefs is well documented. Psychologists refer to this as confirmation bias, and its ubiquity is observed in both academia and in our everyday lives: Republicans watch Fox while Democrats watch MSNB; creationists see fossils as evidence of God, [...]

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Guest Blog

Dressing the meat of tomorrow

If you take a small sample of animal tissue and encourage it to grow in vitro, separate from the original animal’s body, it is possible to create an edible piece of meat. Culturing living tissue is a routine lab procedure and an important part of medical and biological research, but using the tools and techniques [...]

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Guest Blog

Art in the service of science: You get what you pay for

Last week, a very prominent artist in the paleontology community somewhat publicly blew a gasket. His tirade started a conversation that has been sorely in need of attention for some time now. At issue is a fundamental conflict of interests: between science and its tradition of cumulative knowledge, and the rights of the artists who [...]

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Guest Blog

Words, pictures, and the visual display of scientific information: Getting back to the basics of information design

Data visualization. Infographics. Ooh, better yet, make that interactive infographics. The recent buzz around the visual display of information makes it seem like everyone should be rushing to whip up some multi-colored cartogram, bubble chart or word cloud. Never before have we had both the tools and the vast amounts of raw data to play [...]

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Guest Blog

Mixed cultures: art, science, and cheese

Cheese is an everyday artifact of microbial artistry. Discovered accidentally when someone stored milk in a stomach-canteen full of gut microbes, acids, and enzymes thousands of years ago, cheesemaking evolved as a way to use good bacteria to protect milk from the bad bacteria that can make us sick, before anyone knew that bacteria even [...]

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Guest Blog

Scientific accuracy in art

When you type the word "trilobite" into Google’s Blog Search, my science-art blog The Flying Trilobite is currently the first to come up. But I stick wings on them. Trilobites are a huge group of extinct aquatic arthropods that died out about 250 million years ago. Don’t I have any sense of responsibility? At this [...]

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Guest Blog

Michelangelo’s secret message in the Sistine Chapel: A juxtaposition of God and the human brain

At the age of 17 he began dissecting corpses from the church graveyard. Between the years 1508 and 1512 he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Michelangelo Buonarroti—known by his first name the world over as the singular artistic genius, sculptor and architect—was also an anatomist, a secret he concealed by destroying [...]

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Illusion Chasers

The Art of the Brick

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There is an intersection of art, science and engineering in the works of Lego artist Nathan Sawaya, whose “Art of the Brick” traveling show I visited last weekend at the Discovery Times Square Museum in New York (the exhibition closed Sunday).

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Illusion Chasers

Dali masterpieces were inspired by Scientific American

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Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali was a reader of Scientific American, and created one of his most iconic pieces based on a Scientific American article on face perception.

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Image of the Week

The Emerging Mosquito

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Image Credit: © Alex Wild Source: Recipe For A Photograph #4: The Emerging Mosquito, on Compound Eye As the weather warms and spring marches into summer, mosquito pupae are shedding their skins and emerging from stagnant pools to search for warm mammalian blood. The thought of swarms of pesky mosquitoes and the itchy red welts [...]

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Image of the Week

Monitoring the Many Faces of Monitors

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Artist: Darren Naish Source: Monitor musings, varanid variables, goannasaurian goings-on… it’s about monitor lizards, by Darren Naish on Tetrapod Zoology If you’re not a herpetologist, you may be of the mindset that lizards all look the same, but that would only expose you for what you are: a human primate, finely attuned to the faces [...]

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Image of the Week

The 500-lb. Chicken From Hell

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Source: 500-Pound “Chicken from Hell” Dinosaur Once Roamed North America by Kate Wong at Observations Illustration credit: Mark Klingler, Carnegie Museum of Natural History Nothing you could find in any hen house could prepare you for the 11.5-foot tall, 500-lb. behemoth that roamed the landscape 66-million years ago in what is today North and South [...]

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Image of the Week

Tragically Beautiful

DFA186: Hadēs by Brandon Ballengée

Source: ScienceArt On View in March/April 2014 on Symbiartic Populations of frogs, salamanders and other amphibians are rapidly declining worldwide, and those that remain are increasingly falling victim to environmental pollutants that cause deformities such as extra limbs and ambiguous sexual organs. Brandon Ballengée’s work aims to draw attention to their plight through visually arresting [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Tweets In Space!

Tweets In Space (N. Stern and S. Kildall)

When the interplanetary missions Pioneer 10 and 11 launched in the late 1970s they each carried a metal plaque engraved with a set of pictorial messages from humanity. Eventually these extraordinary probes will traverse interstellar space, carrying these hopeful symbols towards anyone, or anything, that might one day find them. A few years later also [...]

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Observations

Web Comics Splash with Color Thanks to an Unlikely iPhone Programmer (Q&A)

Pelt and his youngest son, Wilbert

It only took a few days for Boudewjin Pelt to develop the software tools that digital artists like Jeff Zugale, co-author of the Webcomic Not Invented Here, now call “indispensable.” The tools, which Pelt posted online for free in 2004, gave digital artists the ability to color their artwork with just a few clicks of [...]

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Observations

Comedy about Isaac Newton Enlightens

Actor Haskell King in a scene from the play Isaac

Isaac Newton, the giant of classical physics and co-inventor of calculus, was a pill. His anti-social and arrogant ways are well documented, providing a small comfort to people today who might feel daunted by the towering achievements of this 17th-century genius. Yet, there is no denying his foundational importance to science, known at the time [...]

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Observations

Please Play with Your Math: New Museum Opens in New York City

Math can be a beautiful, immersive, full-body experience, according to the creators of the newly opened Museum of Math, or MoMath, in New York City. A sculpture that lights up and plays music, a touch-screen floor that turns into a maze and a square-wheeled tricycle that one can ride around a bumpy track are just [...]

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Observations

Wormholes in Art Trace Species through Time and Space

wormhole art woodblock print dating beetle species

Wormholes aren’t just for time travel or teleportation anymore. Some very real and ancient wormholes are now helping to trace the distribution of insect species and artwork. A biologist found himself in the unlikely world of centuries-old European woodblock print art. There, he discovered that many of the small imperfections in the prints could be [...]

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Observations

Google Doodle’s Galloping Steed Commemorates Pioneering Photographer Edward Muybridge

Today’s Google doodle pays homage to the photography of Eadweard J. Muybridge, pioneering photographer and inventor of the zoopraxiscope. If he had somehow survived to witness the multimedia era, Muybridge would be marking his 182nd birthday. The running horse video, which replaces the Google logo today, comes from Muybridge’s most famous photographic experiment. Renowned for [...]

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Observations

Van Gogh’s Sunflowers Were Genetic Mutants

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The word “sunflower” brings to mind a mane of vibrant yellow petals encircling a dark whorl of seeds. But not all sunflowers are alike. Some sunflowers have scraggly petals, for instance, or small centers. Many of the sunflowers Vincent Van Gogh depicted in his famous series of oil paintings look rather unusual, sporting wooly, chrysanthemum-like [...]

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Observations

‘Chimp Pope’ Launches Scientist-Artist Blogging Partnership

No matter what you think about the Catholic Church, the “Chimp Pope” image (at left) by figurative/narrative artist Nathaniel Gold probably holds your attention and gives you pause about the latest hullabaloo. You can see a color, glossy version of the chimp pope on page 34 of Gold’s book, The Chimpanzee Manifesto, (Jessian Press, 2009). [...]

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Observations

Artist Paints Lichens on NYC Buildings

lichen on a tree

New York, New York. A metropolis of gleaming skyscrapers, majestic brownstones and concrete as far as the eye can see. But on the northern border of Greenwich Village, a strange, little biological experiment is taking place. An artist is bringing new life to a handful of businesses. Not a remake of the bathroom. No, actually, [...]

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Observations

Photographer Vincent Fournier Opens Eerie Window on the World’s Space Programs [Video]

There’s a reason that so many sci-fi thrillers are set in space. Well, there are probably many reasons. But it’s certainly true that the tools of space exploration often have a haunting, sterile, almost creepy quality. Vincent Fournier captures that quality in his photographs, taken at the research and operations facilities of space programs around [...]

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Observations

Brain on Beauty Shows the Same Pattern for Art and Music

roses in a glass vase manet painting

The search for beauty has spurred great works of art and music, lengthy philosophical treatises and decades of dense cultural criticism. So, is beauty in the object? The eye of the beholder? Somewhere in between? The time has come "for neurobiology to tackle these fundamental questions," Semir Zeki, a neurobiologist at University College London, said [...]

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Plugged In

Walk This Way

I’ve been walking around my city of Raleigh recently, thrilled with new signs telling me how long it will take me to walk hither or yon. I could see from the signs – simple design, plastic construction, strapped to utility poles – that they weren’t a civic undertaking. Amazing: guerilla direction signs. A culture in [...]

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Roots of Unity

The Slowest Way to Draw a Lute

Man Drawing a Lute, by Albrecht Dürer. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Last month, I went to a talk by mathematician Annalisa Crannell of Franklin and Marshall College called Math and Art: the good, the bad, and the pretty. She talked about how mathematical ideas of perspective show up in art and how it can help us create and appreciate art. One of my favorite parts of the [...]

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SA Visual

Art and Science of the Moiré

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I’m a bit obsessed with Scientific American covers, but my knowledge of the archive during the years before my time on staff is broad rather than deep. Artist Philippe Decrauzat, on the other hand, has developed an intense connection with a very specific cover image: May 1963. It was the inspiration point for his series [...]

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SA Visual

How I Reconciled My Love for Art and Science

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In college in the 1990s, I suffered an identity crisis. Was I a scientist or an artist? I loved the clarity and order inherent to the scientific process; ask questions, set up methodologies, collect data, analyze. Research projects and papers I co-authored on the topics of trace fossils and hydrothermal vent species were immensely satisfying. [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

How Do You Spot a Genius?

Drawing of Bobby Fischer and chess board

The November/December Scientific American Mind, which debuted online today, examines the origins of genius, a concept that inspires both awe and confusion. Some equate genius with IQ or creativity; others see it as extraordinary accomplishment. As this issue reveals, genius seems to arise from a mosaic of forces that coalesce into a perfect storm of [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Star Filmmakers Found in Unlikely Spot

Two kids in lab coats and goggles apparently doing an experiment.

In Tyson Schoeber’s class at Nootka Elementary School in Vancouver, 15 fourth through seventh graders struggle to read, write or do math at a level near that of their peers in other classes. Ten-year-olds have entered Schoeber’s program, called THRIVE, virtually unable to read independently (see “One Man’s Mission to Save Struggling Students”). Yet Schoeber [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

One Man’s Mission to Save Struggling Students

VANCOUVER. You could call his classroom a rescue mission. Each September, Tyson Schoeber takes under his wing 15 fourth through seventh graders that normal classrooms have left behind, defeated and too often, deflated. Ten-year-olds arrive unable to decode more than a few words without help. One eight-year-old who loved geography had trouble finding any book [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

An Artist Reveals How He Tricks the Eyes

deli in poughkeepsie

A few years ago, James Gurney, a celebrated artist and author, stood before his easel to paint a deli in Poughkeepsie. Surveying the scene before him, he was immediately overwhelmed with literally millions of details. People strolled by. Insects fluttered overhead. Signs poked out from the store and up from the street. Every tree had [...]

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Symbiartic

10 Original Gifts for Science (and SciArt) Geeks

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It’s time again for me to offer up a few quirky gift ideas for the science enthusiasts in your life. I guarantee these will be the most original gifts under the tree! And the best part? Many are under $50. Squee! 10. Periodic Table Cutting Board by Elysium Woodworks, $45 on Etsy.com 9. Embroidered Anatomy [...]

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Symbiartic

Small Science-Themed Art

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December 1st is the deadline to participate in an exciting annual exhibit at the Art.Science.Gallery in Austin, TX. For years, artists have created small trading cards to exchange amongst themselves at conferences and gatherings, but according to the rules of exchange, these cards must never be bought or sold. Art.Science.Gallery, a brick-and-mortar gallery in Austin, [...]

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Symbiartic

Looking Back on 30 Science Artists in 30 Days

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For three years now we have been celebrating science artists here on Symbiartic. Every September we have stepped it up a notch to feature a different science artist each day in our September SciArt Blitz. In case you missed any of them, here is a visual summary of the 2014 SciArt Blitz artists (click on [...]

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Symbiartic

Inside a Changing Autumn Leaf

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One of the great wonders of life is watching the leaves change colors in the fall. When temperatures get cool, chlorophyll begins to break down revealing the underlying pigments in the plants’ sap. This depiction of the inner-workings of a maple leaf shows the process in action (see the annotated version that appeared in The [...]

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Symbiartic

Is There Anything the Mimic Octopus *Can’t* Do?

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According to science comic, xkcd, the answer is no: For the past 25 days, we have been showing off a different artist each day who is working at the intersection of science and art. We have included sculptors, medical illustrators, comics, painters, concept artists and more. Now, with the month coming to a close, it’s [...]

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Symbiartic

Portraits of Bonsai at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens

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As I write this, the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens is preparing an exhibit showcasing the work of Dick Rauh, a botanical illustrator who has distinguished himself as a master of botanical illustration since he picked up a pen and paper in his retirement. In a show called “Patience, Paper, Pen and Brush,” the Gardens will be [...]

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Symbiartic

In Case You’re Tempted to Think 3D Modeling All Looks the Same

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I initially contacted Bryan Christie to request permission to feature his spectacular cheetah illustration in this year’s blitz. He agreed, and so here it is, in all its glory: But he also tipped me off to his fine art work that is equally worthy of note: How could two such disparate styles emanate from the [...]

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Symbiartic

A Delicate Army of Franken-Fairies

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When tallying up a list of materials to use in assembling delicate fairy sculptures, bug parts might not be first on your average list. But for sculptor Cedric Laquieze, who is fascinated with organic materials and a natural aesthetic, they are the perfect choice. The resulting fairies and goddesses transcend the ick-factor for even the [...]

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Symbiartic

Mossy Drops of Water

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Mineo Mizuno is a sculptor whose fascination with water as a central part of our existence took him on a journey resulting in this stunning series of large-scale moss-covered ceramic discs. His desire to capture the nature of water – its luminous, almost spritely character – lead him to perfect the form of a flattened [...]

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Symbiartic

Who Illustrates the Murals at Museums?

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Have you ever wondered who illustrates the murals at our beloved museums, zoos, aquariums, and botanical gardens? Marjorie Leggitt is one such person. Based in Boulder, CO, she has spent her career illuminating science and natural processes through her art. This mural was made for the Denver Botanical Gardens in Denver, CO to illustrate the [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Right now, there’s a giant blue chicken in Trafalgar Square

Giant-blue-cockerel-600-px-tiny-Dec-2013-Darren-Naish-Tetrapod-Zoology

I really like chickens. They are fascinating, beautiful, unbelievably diverse, complicated birds. I’m academically interested in them. Oh, and we should probably stop eating them. While in London recently for the Cryptozoologicon launch (yes, it went really well, thanks), the family and I went to Trafalgar Square. Obviously, I haven’t been there for a while, [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Leonard Brightwell’s brilliant palaeo-zoo

I’m totally unable to produce any novel material for the blog right now, so – in desperation and frustation – I’m going to post some scanned illustrations. I’ve been meaning to use these for a while; they’re by Leonard Robert Brightwell (1889-1962) and come from the 1941 volume The Miracle of Life, edited by Harold [...]

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