All posts tagged with non-primate

How mice became house mice

3 minute read

A new paper from Thomas Cucchi and coworkers in Scientific Reports probes the early history of the house mouse: “Tracking the Near Eastern origins and Europe...

Hunting the ghost dogs with camera traps

less than 1 minute read

Cara Giaimo in the New York Times covers a recent research paper that combines camera trap evidence from across a large swath of the western Amazon to examin...

The genetic ancestry of modern lions

5 minute read

Marc de Manuel and coworkers have a new paper in PNAS that presents some new findings about lion population history from whole-genome sequencing. The paper h...

Zebra stripes and flies

1 minute read

A fun story by Ed Yong in The Atlantic looks at an experiment that put horses in zebra suits to test whether the stripes confound biting flies: “The Surprisi...

The fattest bear

less than 1 minute read

I enjoyed the Washington Post account of the “annual fattest bear contest” in Katmai National Park: “America’s fattest bear has now been crowned”.

Link: The underrated takin

less than 1 minute read

This is a fun article on an underappreciated mammal: “Meet the Takin: The Largest Mammal You’ve Never Heard Of”.

Link: Geese hybridization

less than 1 minute read

Just a note that ducks provide many great examples of hybridization dynamics, particularly invasive ducks. This recent paper on geese by Jente Ottenburghs an...

Photo: Daemonelix

less than 1 minute read

This is a Daemonelix, burrow of the ancient beaver relative Palaeocastor. There is a nice exposure of Miocene deposits at Agate Fossil Beds National Monument...

Link: Prairie dogs kill ground squirrels

less than 1 minute read

Ed Yong writes about a long-term study of prairie dog sociality that demonstrated a surprising behavior among females: they kill dozens of ground squirrels: ...

Cave bear DNA from Sima de los Huesos

4 minute read

Jesse Dabney and colleagues, including Svante Pääbo from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, report on the assembly of a complete mitocho...

Dino size estimation

1 minute read

I know I’m linking a four-year-old post about dinosaurs, but I got this SV-POW post on my feed this morning and it is very relevant to those of us who think ...

Selection is for the dogs

5 minute read

I was really pleased to see the new paper by Erik Axelsson and colleagues Axelsson:2013 on the pattern of recent selection on domesticated dogs. As we began ...

Creative anatomy

less than 1 minute read

Mike Taylor from Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week shows how anatomists get creative with their measurement instruments: “How to measure necks using Dupl...

Hiding above the dinosaurs

1 minute read

The early bin at PNAS has a cool, short paper by Yongjie Wang and colleagues, which matches a ginkgo tree with its insect mimic Wang:mimicry:2012. The cool p...

Building bigger dolphin brains

1 minute read

Ed Yong reports on a new study demonstrating a history of positive selection on the gene ASPM in cetaceans. Bruce Lahn’s group previously showed that this ge...

Polar bear mtDNA replacement

2 minute read

Jerry Coyne uses the occasion of polar bear genetics to give a biology lesson I’ve been trying to teach for 15 years: “A new study of polar bears underlines ...

Rapid adaptation to captivity in salmon

2 minute read

I just want to note this study by Mark Christie and colleagues Christie:salmon:2011 because it is such a clear demonstration of powerful selection working on...

Crows hate cavemen

less than 1 minute read

Stephanie Pappas reports on experiments with social learning in crows.

Old nests

less than 1 minute read

Matt Walker of BBC Earth News has an article about how gyrfalcons have continuously used the same nests for thousands of years “2,500-year-old bird’s nest fo...

A problem of fuzzy mammoths

10 minute read

Paleogenomics is changing the way we study evolution. In a number of cases, it now allows us to study extinct organisms with the same methods as we study liv...

Wolves in coyotes' clothing

1 minute read

Razib’s post on the genetics of canids (“A map of charismatic canid genomic variation”) does a nice summary of a recent paper in Genome Research, by vonHoldt...

Arsenate redux

1 minute read

I wrote a short post about the arsenate-bacteria story last weekend; in the meantime the story has developed. Carl Zimmer ran a long story early this week, r...

Alien biology hype

1 minute read

Rosie Redfield begins to disassemble the NASA-sponsored “alien life forms” story:

Badger affection

1 minute read

We’re all about the badgers here in Wisconsin. The “badger” nickname came to the state because of miners who came to Southwestern Wisconsin to dig lead – “ba...

Sloth bombers

less than 1 minute read

Brian Switek notes a new study on the locomotor dynamics of sloths. I perked up when reading this passage…

Shoe ecology and invasive species

less than 1 minute read

On the topic of invasive species, here’s one about algae spreading worldwide on the soles of hip waders: “Fly Fishers Serving as Transports for Noxious Littl...

Fungus colors

less than 1 minute read

Science this week published a paper on aphid pigmentation, which provides a nice example of an adaptation resulting from lateral gene transfer – in this case...

What kangaroos do…

2 minute read

In the current issue of Heredity, Neaves and colleagues describe the results of their analysis of 12 microsatellite loci and the mtDNA of two kangaroo specie...

The other story about the mammoth DNA

5 minute read

I got to writing about a story a couple of years ago, and then stalled out. That happens every so often – remember, most of my research-related entries are m...

Another side of pitcher plants

1 minute read

Jerry Coyne writes about a paper that demonstrates a strange adaptation of certain Bornean pitcher plants: “Good to the last dropping: pitcher plant evolves ...

Babi yaga

less than 1 minute read

Tetrapod Zoology writes about the mysterious babirusa:

Lizard whitening

less than 1 minute read

Ed Yong reports on a study of pigmentation evolution in the lizards of White Sands, New Mexico: “Three desert lizards evolve white skins through different mu...

Tetratracks

less than 1 minute read

Matthew Cobb writes about the Devonian tetrapod trackway story, including:

Cichlid colors

3 minute read

I really can’t get over how much work went into the cichlid pigmentation paper that’s out in the current Science (Roberts et al. 2009). The paper examines th...

Horse genomics

1 minute read

An interesting passage from the horse genome paper:

"Filled up with other books"

2 minute read

The 1000 Genomes Project is for people. Now, is it time for 10,000 vertebrate genomes? Erika Check Hayden reports on the idea in Nature news:

Maotherium ears

less than 1 minute read

Natalie Angier writes about the middle ear of a Mesozoic mammal: “In Mammals, a Complex Journey to the Middle Ear”.

The colors of mice

2 minute read

Science this week features an article by Elizabeth Pennisi about the research of evolutionary biologist Hopi Hoekstra. She studies pigment variations in wild...

Whale societies

1 minute read

Wired’s science blog has a piece on cetacean culture and communciation: “Whales might be as much like people as apes are”. Dalhousie University researcher Ha...

Dude, it's called "relaxed selection"

2 minute read

This is a doofy story running on MSNBC without an author byline: “Shrinking of Scottish sheep tied to warming”. Why do I say “doofy”? Take a look at the way ...

A little rewilding

2 minute read

Here’s a Reuters story about attempts to bring back aurochsen and introduce them to Britain. Aurochsen are now extinct in the wild, the last having died in 1...

Neandertals and bears

11 minute read

For most of their prehistory, humans were highly mobile hunter-gatherers. We can expect that Neandertals were also highly mobile, at least compared to sedent...

Live fat die young, bearwise

less than 1 minute read

This story describes research on the longevity and maturation of wild bears who have invaded urban habitat in Nevada:

Lateral gene transfer in evolutionary history

less than 1 minute read

Carl Zimmer describes a recent paper documenting lateral gene transfer across a broad phylogeny of organisms. It’s one of the topics covered in his book, Mic...

Zimmer "flounders"

1 minute read

Carl Zimmer puts in a nice entry on the new flounder evolution paper, covering the history of the question including the debate between Darwin and Mivart abo...

Not the parrot sketch

2 minute read

The New Yorker has a fascinating article about Irene Pepperberg and the way people are grieving over her deceased parrot, Alex:

Rodent tool use

1 minute read

It's not just any rodents, but the "highly social, intelligent" degus. And they don't use tools in their natural habitats, but were taught specially by rese...

Scandinavian dogs R us?

4 minute read

Mitochondrial phylogeography is a useful tool for the study of wild populations. But applying phylogeography to domestic species is more complicated....

Inbred mice

1 minute read

At Nobel Intent, Jonathan Gitlin writes about the diversity of lab mice:

The Tao of introgression

less than 1 minute read

Like mathematician Terence Tao hasn't heard that one before, hyuk. But he gives a nice account of the Grants' work on introgressive hybridization of ground ...

Reciprocity and rats

2 minute read

Rutte and Taborsky report in PLoS Biology that their rats know how to be nice to others:

The genetics of refugia

4 minute read

The NY Times gave a short writeup earlier this week to a paper about ancient DNA from arctic foxes:

Roundup® ready

2 minute read

Larry Moran posts on glyphosate resistance in weed plants:

How to move like a vertebrate

1 minute read

Neurophilosophy has really come to life in the last few weeks. A post earlier this week described the neural circuitry that controls swimming in zebrafish, ...

Waggle information

1 minute read

A nice post on bee dancing and the bee sensory system at Neurophilosophy. From an information perspective, here we have a good example of adapting a nervous...

Girlie fly necroMANIA!

2 minute read

You have to have a pretty weird science story to get traction this week, and Reuters serves one up:

Elephants on the attack

2 minute read

Charles Siebert of the Times had a story this weekend about aggression by young bull elephants. It has a name now, HEC (human-elephant conflict). And it has...

How ecology constrains grey wolf gene flow

4 minute read

Not new, but this 2004 paper by Eli Geffen and colleagues concerning population structure in grey wolves has a good discussion of gene flow may be limited e...

Rat races

3 minute read

Read Nick Wade's article about Siberian rat breeding experiments. Two strains of rat: one tame and one aggressive. Now they're screening their genomes to se...

Elephants don't climb hills

less than 1 minute read

At least, not willingly, says this article, citing a short study by Jake Wall et al. in Current Biology.

Meerkat teaching

5 minute read

It's all meerkats all over the place today. Here's an AP article by Randolph Schmid:

Antitrendy mouse evolution

1 minute read

A paper in this week's Science by Hopi Hoekstra and colleagues (DOI link) ends with this provocative paragraph:

Red and black, antennae waving

less than 1 minute read

I am more or less fascinated by these ants who count their steps to find their way home. It's just that we use such a massive amount of cognitive overhead f...

Derby day horse physiology

1 minute read

LiveScience has a story about the qualities of good racing horses. It doesn't talk about breeding too much, but it has a lot of interesting stuff about thei...

The cockroach poll

1 minute read

It's minor election day here in Wisconsin, and I see this story (discovery.com) about how cockroaches "make group decisions":

Cane toad invasion and evolution

1 minute read

The Hawaiian cane toad is a classic case of an invasive species, and its genetics have long been a subject of study for those interested in the spread of sp...

Haast's eagle DNA study

1 minute read

This story about DNA from the extinct New Zealand Haast's eagle is old news, but cool nonetheless. I ran across it doing some reading about the mammoth DNA....

FoxP2 knockout mice

3 minute read

Yesterday's post on mice mating songs left with a final question: Do FoxP2 knockout mice sing?

Where did pigs come from?

2 minute read

A study of pig mtDNA sequences by Greger Larson and colleagues in Science establishes that domesticated pigs originated in multiple geographic locations fro...