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Posts Tagged "Evolution"

Culturing Science

The Epic Battle of Crab vs. Crab

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Fiddler crabs are strange little beasties. Males have what amounts to one giant claw, which can be as long as his body is wide, and one tiny T. rex arm that looks quite out of place on a crab. Recently, a researcher wrote a blog post about why fiddler crabs have such an enormous claw [...]

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Culturing Science

Bermuda Bluebirds Aren’t Native: They Moved In 400 Years Ago

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The eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis) has lived in Bermuda as long as recent human memory can recall. It’s considered a native species, and some people even consider the population to be a subspecies–the Bermuda bluebird (Sialia sialis bermudensis)–because it looks a bit different from its mainland counterparts: its blue is a little more purple, and [...]

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Culturing Science

Why Sociable Weavers Nest Together

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Dillon Marsh’s photographs of sociable weaver nests, taken in the Kalahari Desert of Southern Africa, beautifully illustrate traditional nature–the realm of wild animals–overlapping with human civilization. The apparent bales of hay draped over the tops and sides of telephone poles are home to hundreds of songbirds, which construct and maintain their monstrous nests communally. While [...]

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Culturing Science

Cigarette Butts in Nests Deter Bird Parasites

Urban house sparrows nest with cigarette butts.

The sight of cigarette butts delicately woven into birds’ nests sparks an array of reactions, from relief that birds are adapting to urban environments to disgust at the display of human disregard for wildlife. But a new study suggests that some birds may benefit from nesting with cigarette butts. The nicotine lingering in filters may [...]

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Culturing Science

The Evolution of Grief, Both Biological and Cultural, in the 21st Century

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Three months ago, I received an email informing me that a high school friend, Pat, had died. I read his obituary and my body stopped functioning. I froze on the spot, limbs tense but trembling. My mouth went dry, my vision blurred. As I waited for my train in the packed station, I could barely [...]

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Culturing Science

Lazy Sunday Video: An epic tour of life’s history

This is one of my favorite videos that I’ve seen on the whole of the internet. (Gasp!) Piecing together clips from dozens of science documentaries and specials overlaid with stunning music, the youtube user UppruniTegundanna starts out tracing the history of humans, integrating technological and artistic development. Then it takes a turn to beautifully visualize the [...]

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Culturing Science

Urban ecology doesn’t have enough humans in it

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When you read the word “nature,” what do you think of? Maybe you imagine a dark wood with sunlight reaching a mottled floor of foliage, thrushes singing and chipmunks hopping. Maybe you peer through grassy dunes at sanderlings running back and forth in the surf , occasionally halting to frantically peck at the sand. Or [...]

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Culturing Science

Don’t forget the parasites! Reevaluating the pyramid of numbers

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Just like astrophysicists seek underlying patterns in space/time, ecologists seek similar patterns in life on earth. And there’s one they thought they had pegged: the pyramid of numbers. The first known pyramidal of numbers was drawn by Charles Elton in 1927 to explain the flow of energy through ecosystems. Plants convert carbon in the air into [...]

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