Fifteen Earth Day Facts

Happy Earth Day! Here are fifteen super-cool facts about our planet and the amazing variety of life it supports. Click the links to see my sources and learn more. Earth isn’t flat, but it’s also not perfectly spherical. The Marine Iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) is the only modern lizard that can live and forage at sea, but …

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The Cost of Being Sexy: The Link Between Sexual Selection and Extinction

Being sexy is expensive! No, I’m not talking about the prices of lipstick and gym memberships. I’m talking about the costs of sexually selected traits at an evolutionary level. It is generally agreed upon that sexually selected traits can be costly to the individual who possess them. If you need an example, consider the peafowl. …

The Anthropomorphism Wars

“Crowboarding: Russian roof-surphin’ bird caught on tape” proudly announces a YouTube video that went viral a few years ago. The general public excitedly clicks ‘play,’ not realizing that they have just stumbled upon one of the most divisive topics in the field of animal behavior: anthropomorphism. Anthropo-what? Anthropomorphism is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary …

Three Things You Didn’t Know About Love (According to Scientists)

For this post, I decided to combine the themes of mid-February’s two major holidays: Valentine’s Day (February 14th), and Darwin’s Birthday (February 15th). That’s right, we’re talking about the science of love! Now, this is a fascinating topic. I couldn’t choose just one thing to write about today, so here’s a whole list of the …

Illuminating the Mysteries of the Brain with Optogenetics

Francis Crick (of DNA fame) once suggested that the biggest challenge facing neuroscience is scientists’ inability to control specific cells within the brain, while leaving others untouched. Since that suggestion in 1979, many attempts have been made to add cellular specificity to neuroscience research. Neuroscientists spent years fiddling with drugs and electrical stimulation. Little did …