Articles on this Page
- 11/01/11--13:52: _Shapeless sacks and...
- 11/07/11--09:01: _MolBio Carnival #16!
- 11/14/11--08:45: _Globin duplication ...
- 11/23/11--12:54: _Frog-killing fungus...
- 12/05/11--11:36: _Yeti Crabs grow bac...
- 12/14/11--12:05: _Evolving between th...
- 12/15/11--11:41: _Return of the Yeti ...
- 12/21/11--08:48: _Heads before Tails:...
- 01/06/12--14:53: _My first year as a ...
- 01/16/12--05:05: _More than Just Pret...
- 02/06/12--11:58: _Coelacanths are not...
- 02/08/12--12:57: _The tragic fate of ...
- 02/16/12--12:28: _Did life evolve in ...
- 02/22/12--13:07: _Antarctica’s Errati...
- 03/14/12--11:45: _Thanks to Extra Gen...
- 04/12/12--12:26: _A Spoonful of Molyb...
- 05/14/12--04:57: _Livestock bacteria ...
- 05/23/12--05:01: _Ancient fish had th...
- 07/05/12--09:26: _Terrestrial hermit ...
- 07/05/12--12:12: _The floor is yours!
- 09/27/12--13:29: _The grandmother and...
- 10/25/12--14:16: _Book review: Surviv...
- 11/20/12--15:55: _Animal vision evolv...
- 04/22/13--12:02: _How genetic plunder...
- 11/04/13--08:13: _The sexy sabercat: ...
- 11/01/11--13:52: Shapeless sacks and oblong paper-knives: meet your cousins
- 11/07/11--09:01: MolBio Carnival #16!
- 11/14/11--08:45: Globin duplication was the key to a healthy heartbeat
- 11/23/11--12:54: Frog-killing fungus is a skin-loving hybrid
- 12/05/11--11:36: Yeti Crabs grow bacteria on their hairy claws
- 12/14/11--12:05: Evolving between the echoes
- 12/15/11--11:41: Return of the Yeti Crab
- 12/21/11--08:48: Heads before Tails: Ancient Fish Evolved Head-First
- 01/06/12--14:53: My first year as a MSM science writer
- 01/16/12--05:05: More than Just Pretty Faces
- 02/06/12--11:58: Coelacanths are not living fossils. Like the rest of us, they evolve
- 02/08/12--12:57: The tragic fate of the Brighton octopus
- 02/16/12--12:28: Did life evolve in a ‘warm little pond’?
- 02/22/12--13:07: Antarctica’s Erratic Climate Shaped Icefish Evolution
- 03/14/12--11:45: Thanks to Extra Genes, Eels Transform from Ribbons to Tubes
- 04/12/12--12:26: A Spoonful of Molybdenum, some Ulysses and the Origin of Life
- 05/14/12--04:57: Livestock bacteria are as old as the livestock they kill
- 05/23/12--05:01: Ancient fish had the backbone of a landlubber
- 07/05/12--12:12: The floor is yours!
- 09/27/12--13:29: The grandmother and her genes: a grandson’s perspective
- 10/25/12--14:16: Book review: Survival of the Beautiful
- 11/20/12--15:55: Animal vision evolved 700 million years ago
- 11/04/13--08:13: The sexy sabercat: how the sabertooth got its teeth
Few people will find delight in the dredge that is hauled from the ocean floor. But for the British biologist Ray Lankester, such hauls represented an unseen world of wonder. In his Diversions of a Naturalist he describes how an encounter with a creature from the bottom of the sea that filled him with so [...]
Welcome to the sixteenth edition of the MolBio Carnival! Some great blog posts on cellular and molecular biology have been submitted, many of them written by first-time contributors, so I urge you to check them all out. Let’s not waste any time and get this carnival started. It’s time to explore the most intricate machine [...]
Summary: Scientists show that vertebrate-specific globins originated in two rounds of genome duplication. We vertebrates work for our O2. Whether we’re a fish or antelope, we all have gills and lungs to filter oxygen out of air or water. We also have beating hearts to transport oxygen-rich blood to the most distant corners of our [...]
These are not the best of times for amphibians. All around the world, populations of frogs, salamanders and newts are declining. At least 489 species (7.8% of all known amphibians) are nearing extinction. More than a hundred of these endangered species have not been seen in recent years, and have likely gone extinct already. Who [...]
Deep beneath the waters of Costa Rica, dozens of crabs are waving their claws in unison, in what seems to be a rhythmic performance. It’s almost as if these crabs are locked in a ritual dance. But these charming crabs are not dancing. They are farming. The hairy claws of these crabs are covered with [...]
Isolation can be a blessing. I am most productive when I’m not connected to the web. If I’m writing in a train or plane, severed from the thoughts of others, it is easier to capture my own trails of thought and let them expand. Don’t get me wrong, my inner writer loves the internet. It’s [...]
Remember the dancing Yeti Crabs? They’re back! Check out this amazing illustration of two farming Yeti Crabs by Irene Goede: So white, so hairy.. I want to pet them! Irene is a freelance illustrator who has specialized in nature and history. Every week, she draws an animal that has been in the news for the [...]
Like most evolutionary tales, this one could have started on the Galapagos Islands. Instead we find ourselves in an ancient sea, near the end of the Devonian, 360 million years ago. A mass extinction has struck life underwater. The armoured placoderms, once an abundant class of fishes, have gone extinct. Other groups of fishes have [...]
Happy belated new year everyone! 2011 was a wonderful year for me. Not only did my blog move to its shiny new abode at Scientific American, I also joined the science desk of NRC Handelsblad, a daily Dutch newspaper. I started out as an intern and was later hired as a staff writer. Since I’m [...]
Specks. Stripes. Red fur. Black fur. Eye masks. Bald spots. Beards. Moustaches. New World monkeys are nature’s motley crew. Their faces display an extraordinary range of colours and patterns. Some are simple and straightforward, others intricate and complex. Take the bald uakari. Its hypervascularized, red skin is striking, but uniform. The uakari’s nose is just [...]
It was supposed to be extinct. Yet here it lay, with fins round and fleshy, scales as hard as bone and a tail unlike any living fish. “Lass, this discovery will be on the lips of every scientist in the world”, James Smith said to Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer, curator of the East London Museum. Smith had [...]
These are good times to have tentacles. Thanks to the internet, even the most ordinary of octopuses can be catapulted to worldwide fame. Exceptional skills or abilities are not required. A simple coconut hiding act or a short crawl over land are more than enough to break the internet headlines. But as this new generation [...]
“But if (and oh what a big if) we could conceive in some warm little pond with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, light, heat, electricity etcetera present, that a protein compound was chemically formed, ready to undergo still more complex changes [..] ” ~Charles Darwin, in a letter to Joseph Hooker (1871) All [...]
Few fish would survive a swim in Antartica’s ice-covered waters. Temperatures can drop to -1.9 ℃, whereas a typical fish starts to freeze at -0.8 ℃. If the water is colder, microscopic ice crystals will soon infiltrate the fish through gills and skin and start growing from within. Nerves are severed, tissues damaged, and the [...]
Few animals travel so far to have sex as the European eel. When autumn comes, these eels leave their lakes and rivers and embark on an arduous journey towards the Sargasso sea. Most fish perish in the first leg. Some are crushed in the turbines of hydroelectricity plants, others are caught in basket traps. For [...]
“Have you ever read Ulysses?” The question catches me off guard. I am interviewing Michael Russell, a geochemist working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Russell was originally trained as an ore prospector, but several twists and turns in his scientific career brought him where geology, chemistry and biology intersect: the origin of life. Decades of [...]
Animals were wilder then. Horns were longer, temperaments fiercer. These wild things had forever been free when humans took control of their flocks and herds, 10.000 years ago. Through careful breeding and rearing, the first pastoralists of the Near East moulded the beasts into more docile versions of their former selves. Over time, Bezoar became [...]
Evolution has a knack for confronting us with strange and unexpected questions. One of them echoed through the halls of the Collections Centre of the National Museum of Scotland, not too long ago: “Why does a fish need a sacrum!?” Lauren Sallan was peering through her microscope, studying a fossil specimen of Tarrasius, when she [...]
The Caribbean hermit crabs in Anna-Sara Krång’s laboratory are no picky eaters. They are eager to gobble down any fruit, nuts, fish or coconut flakes that comes their way. But above all else, these culinary connoisseurs prefer peanut flips. These snacks are always the first to disappear down their gullets when feeding time comes around. [...]
Today, the Scientific American blogging network celebrates its very first birthday. It has been a tremendous ride so far, and I would really like to thank you for reading along so far, but there’s one little question I wanted to get out of the way first: Who are you? You see, writing this blog is [...]
Somewhere deep in my grandmother’s veins, a blood clot breaks free. Her blood carries the clot past her heart, to her lungs, where it becomes stuck in a pulmonary artery. This is when my grandmother feels a sudden sting in her chest and loses her breath. She is suffering a pulmonary embolism. My grandmother is [...]
Sometimes all you have to do to make me buy your book, is think of a good title. Survival of the Beautiful by David Rothenberg definitely did the trick. “No one ever mentions the beautiful”, I thought when I took the book from its shelf in a London book store. Not when it comes to [...]
Gaze deep into any animal eye and you will find opsin, the protein through which we see the world. Every ray of light that you perceive was caught by an opsin first. Without opsin there would be no blue, no red, no green. The entire visible spectrum would be.. just another spectrum. But opsins haven’t [...]
Most cells would shrivel to death in a salt lake. But not the Halobacteria. These microbes thrive in brine, painting waters a gentle pink or crimson red wherever they bloom. The Halobacteria live in every salt lake on this planet, from the Dead Sea of Israel to the vast salt flats at the feet of [...]
Many sabertooths have stalked this world. The first sabertoothed mammals appeared over 50 million years ago. The last sabercats, such as Smilodon and Homotherium, went extinct only 10.000 years ago. All in all, five different lineages of carnivorous mammals evolved sabertooth dentition: the ancient creodonts, marsupials and three different lineages of true cats and cat-like [...]