Tagged: evolution

Pandas and Bamboo: A recent dietary specialisation? - Chthonic Wildlife Ramblings

Brendan Moyle Feb 11, 2019

Giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) eat bamboo and not much else. This in evolutionary terms is odd. It’s odd in part because the panda has a short gut typical of carnivores. And it still possesses many of the genes associated with a carnivorous lifestyle. This is largely due to belonging to the bear family Ursidae. This is a group of animals … Read More

Old bones reveal new evidence about the role of islands in penguin evolution - Guest Work

Guest Author Feb 07, 2019

Theresa Cole; Jonathan Waters, and Kieren Mitchell, University of Adelaide Ever since Charles Darwin’s voyage to the Galapagos, biologists have been trying to figure out what determines the number of species that exist at any point in time. Our research, published this week, provides an answer to this question, at least when it comes to … Read More

Human evolution and attention-grabbing headlines - BioBlog

Alison Campbell Jan 16, 2019

Every so often there’s a new story claiming that a study has overturned our understanding of human evolution. (Or something along those lines.) I’ve just come across another one**, & thought I’d write this post as a warning to year 13 biology students. As Carl Sagan once said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence – something that’s lacking in this particular … Read More

From Restoration to Reconciliation: Belief 9 – We have to do it - So Shoot Me

Jamie Steer Dec 22, 2018

This is this idea that we either do this or something that we love dies – what might be referred to as ‘conservation at the barrel of a gun’. Here’s another collection of quotes from the feedback to Kim Hill again – the last one most notably being from one of New Zealand’s foremost conservation biologists: ‘By accepting many introduced … Read More

A pivotal species? What’s that? - BioBlog

Alison Campbell Nov 20, 2018

By the end of the school year, Year 13 students preparing for Schol Bio should have a pretty good grasp of the concepts and content they’ve encountered in their studies. What tends to throw some, though, is the fact that the context used for each question will almost certainly be something that they haven’t come across before. I experienced that “what the … Read More

Appeal to antiquity? Appeal to nature? Bingo! - BioBlog

Alison Campbell Jun 13, 2018

I was idly skimming the Herald’s website when I came across an article with the headline “Is plant medicine really that effective?” Since the article appears to be in the nature of an advertorial, the answer is, it depends on who you ask. Unlike man-made chemical drugs that have been developed as novel medicines from the 19th century onwards, plant medicines … Read More

Could – & should – the moa be a goer again? - BioBlog

Alison Campbell Jun 03, 2018

I’m starting to gear up for some Schol Bio preparation days in the regions (hi, Hawkes Bay! See you in 4 weeks!) and realised that I haven’t written anything specifically focused on those exams for a while. So I thought that putting something together would be a good way to spend a rather wet Sunday. At these days we usually … Read More

Brows on fleek: Expressive eyebrows in early humans - News

Jean Balchin Apr 11, 2018

There are a number of things about my physical appearance I’m not 100% happy with. I’m pale, covered in freckles and I burn like a crisp on the odd sunny day. But perhaps worst of all is the fact that my eyebrows are virtually non-existent. Unless I carefully pencil them in each morning, my friends and coworkers struggle to ascertain … Read More

The revolution that wasn’t: African tools push back the origins of human technological innovation - Guest Work

Guest Author Mar 22, 2018

Patrick Randolph-Quinney, University of Central Lancashire and Anthony Sinclair, University of Liverpool This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Just 20 years ago, many archaeologists believed there was a “human revolution” 40,000-50,000 years ago during which modern behaviours such as symbolism, innovation and art suddenly arose. This was thought … Read More

There are dozens of sea snake species in the Indian and Pacific oceans, but none in the Atlantic or Caribbean. Why? - Guest Work

Guest Author Mar 14, 2018

Harvey Lillywhite, University of Florida This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. Beachgoers often find unusual things that have washed up with the tides. But many people were surprised when a venomous yellow-bellied sea snake recently was found alive on California’s Newport Beach. Sea snakes are less well-known than other … Read More