Chicken or Egg

Is agricultural trade liberalisation bad for the climate?

Andy Reisinger Oct 14, 2009

A Dutch research team has analysed the effect of agricultural trade liberalisation on global greenhouse gas emissions. Their study finds that a full liberalisation of agricultural trade (ie, removal of all trade barriers, quota and subsidies globally) would result in a 6% increase in global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015. Most … Read More


Science podcasts

Hilary Miller Oct 10, 2009

For those of you who prefer to get your science in aural form, I thought I’d share a couple of excellent sites for podcasts.  Both of these sites succeed in making science entertaining for the public, covering both breaking science stories and discussing the science of everyday phenomena.  The Naked Scientists are a group of researchers from [...] … Read More


Sirocco gives kakapo a bad name…

Hilary Miller Oct 04, 2009

There’s not many people who get to see kakapo these days… and even fewer who can say they’ve been shagged by a kakapo.    This video (which is apparently a hit on Youtube) comes from the new BBC series Last Chance to See , part of which was filmed in New Zealand last summer.  I hope the series [...] … Read More

What good is a genome anyway?

Hilary Miller Sep 30, 2009

I read an interesting post by Olivia Judson at the New York Times blog a few weeks ago, which asked if you could sequence any genome, what would you choose?  Olivia’s choice was the coelacanth- a worthy choice, given that the coelacanth may represent the ancestor of all tetrapods (the amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals).  No prizes [...] … Read More


Pesky reptiles confuse palaeontologists

Hilary Miller Sep 17, 2009

This from a letter to Nature, in the latest edition: Could Nature have been unknowingly publishing papers for the past 80 years about crocodilian gastroliths (stomach stones) instead of stones concluded to be 2.5-million-year-old hominid tools? This possibility could cast doubt, for example, on the nature of the Oldowan specimens described by Michael Haslam and colleagues in their [...] … Read More

Bird sex gene identified

Hilary Miller Sep 11, 2009

 In mammals, sex is determined by genes contained on sex chromosomes – males have an X and a Y chromosome, and females have two X chromosomes.  In birds things are quite different, as it is the male that has two of the same type of sex chromosome.  Male birds have two Z chromosomes and female birds have a [...] … Read More

Protected minke whales from unreported bycatch sold on Japanese markets

Hilary Miller Sep 06, 2009

Japan kills over a hundred minke whales each year under the guise of “scientific whaling”, and much of the meat ends up in the commercial markets destined for Japanese dinner plates.  Now a study just published in Animal Conservation indicates that a similar number of whales are killed as “bycatch” in Japanese coastal waters, [...] … Read More

Be a friend of Darwin on Facebook

Hilary Miller Aug 30, 2009

Not that I want to be endorsing Facebook, but this message came through on evoldir this week and I thought it was worth sharing… I’m writing with a special request regarding a campaign that a ragtag group of volunteers on Facebook has created – along with support from E.O. Wilson, Sean Carroll and media partners like National Geographic. The [...] … Read More