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Lemurs, Squirrels, and Hyenas, Oh My! The Animal Behavior Research of Toni Lyn Morelli (Women in Science 47).

Animal behavior research comes with a sense of urgency all its own.  Climate change and human encroachment are enacting a global pincer maneuver that puts insistent pressure on species to adapt or perish.  For animal behaviorists this represents a constant double challenge: to determine the baseline behavior of animals, and then …

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Heritage and Challah

This past weekend was Rosh Hashana, which is the Jewish new year. Which is all well and good, but why would a devout atheist stay up late making challah, and why would she write about it for this blog?

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Bringing Teleology Back: Agnes Arber’s Neo-Aristotelian Plant Morphology (Women in Science 46)

Evolution is great.  As an explanatory idea, as a process governing biology, from just about any aspect you care to consider it, evolution is a magnificent thing.  So magnificent, however, that it’s hard not to use it when explaining everything in the biological world, and for a few scientists over …

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Of Fae and Fungi

“And I serve the fairy queen, To dew her orbs upon the green.” –A Midsummer Night’s Dream A few weeks ago I was asked about some mushrooms in a field near work. Not about what kind of mushrooms they were, or if they were edible, but why they were growing …

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Yet another high profile paper about yet another epigenome that says the same thing, yet again.

A recent study developed a new way of probing the genome for “accessible” sites, and found the same things that we’ve been seeing for years.


Guns N Taxonomy: The Vertebrate Biology of Annie Alexander (Women in Science 44)

As a rule, our favorite flavors of scientist are the theoretical and experimental – we tend to like them either sitting in a chair creating beautiful abstractions from nothing or heroically chained to an elaborate apparatus, wrenching the universe’s secrets from its reluctant clutches.  And those are marvelous ways of …

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Mad Art Cast: Lady Viagra Quickie

Recently, something the media is calling “Viagra for women” was in the news, and is on it’s way to being approved by the FDA for use. This week’s quickie episode has us (well, mostly A) all ranty about it. No, seriously, this is your fair warning — A uses the f-word a lot. …

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Gotta Formalin ’em All: The Marine Biology of Eugenie Clark, The Shark Lady. (Women in Science 42)

To the uninitiated, there seems a dizzying amount of carnage wrapped up in advancing biological knowledge. Every scrap of information that we have about the function of an unknown organ or curious behavior of an obscure species is usually bought in the coin of death. Sometimes, that knowledge lets us …