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  • Bacteria Evolution on a MEGA Petri Plate – Michael Baym – Harvard Medical School (2016)

    Bacteria Evolution on a MEGA Petri Plate – Michael Baym – Harvard Medical School (2016)

    The Microbial Evolution and Growth Arena plate (MEGA-plate) experiment designed by Harvard Medical School researcher Michael Baym and his coworkers is an absolutely fascinating demonstration of evolution in action. They were able to visualize with a stunning didacticity (is that a word?) how bacteria evolves resistance to the antibiotic trimethoprim surprisingly fast for the Human time scale. The experiment is reminiscent of a highly simplified 2-D version of a long-term evolution experiment by Richard Lenski of the Michigan State University. […]

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  • Plants are Cool Too! (All Episodes)

    Plants are Cool Too! (All Episodes)

    Welcome to the “Plants are Cool Too!” series supported by the Botanical Society of America (BSA) and hosted by Dr. Chris Martine. Here we will be posting all episodes of the series in reverse chronological order (last-in-first-out) but each program is designed to be viewed independently. Please stay tuned. Plants unfortunately get less attention from wildlife filmmakers. This is most probably due to a narration problem. When we see animals in a film we more or less can interpret what […]

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  • Carolina Anole Lizard Changing Color

    Carolina Anole Lizard Changing Color

    You can watch the gradual color change in this Carolina anole (Anolis carolinensis) from green to brown over 4 mins.   Summer of 2011 was drier than usual in Athens, GA. Annual rainfall (37.11 inches) was lower than the 1981-2010 average (46.66 inches). The month of July was particularly hot. Average monthly temperature was 81.9 F (above 1895-2012 average of 80.0 F). Reptiles in such conditions have a rather fast metabolism and burn calories fast. This female lizard was a […]

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  • Mating Displays of Peacock Spiders – Jürgen Otto (2011)

    Mating Displays of Peacock Spiders – Jürgen Otto (2011)

    Here you see a series of short observations recorded by Jürgen Otto documenting the mating dances of Australian peacock spiders (for full scientific names of the spiders please see a list at the bottom of this post). Peacock spiders are another astonishing example of variation of the same theme in nature: “males display, females choose”. Mating displays have always been an attractive topic. A biological explanation for such behavior is given in a short animated documentary by the Cornell University […]

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  • Ants Defending Plants

    Ants Defending Plants

    Plant eaters are called herbivores and they pose a threat for plants. Understandably, nobody would like to get eaten. In order to prevent tissue loss and damage from herbivores plants have evolved defensive adaptations such as hard to digest tissues and poisonous chemicals. Some plants however, have evolved a different solution. Plants can use nectar as drivers of beneficial behaviors such as pollination and protection from herbivores. Nectar is an attractive fluid for many animals. It is a rich calorie […]

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  • A Mating Aggregation of Bearded Fireworms – Lütfü Tanrıöver (2010)

    A Mating Aggregation of Bearded Fireworms – Lütfü Tanrıöver (2010)

    A mating aggregation of a Mediterranean polychete worm (Hermodice carunculata). External fertilization is one of the early ancestral ways to produce offspring. Here an underwater explorer based in Fethiye has recorded a spawning aggregation of the Mediterranean polychete worm (Hermodice carunculata). External fertilization is rather costly. Internal fertilization has evolved numerous times as a result of this. One of the most striking example is the Coelecanth with many specimen containing embryos. Egg production requires more resources compared to sperm. Females […]

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  • Preserving Lonesome George – AMNH (2015)

    Preserving Lonesome George – AMNH (2015)

    Lonesome George was the last male individual of the Pinta Island tortoise. He sadly passed away in his corral at the Charles Darwin Research Station in Galápagos Islands on the morning of June 24 2012. He died from natural causes. Lonesome George became a worldwide icon of conservation. Efforts to breed him at the Galápagos National Park and Charles Darwin Research Station concluded with no success. Thus he became “a living dead” member of his species doomed for extinction. Lonesome […]

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  • PETM – Unearthing Ancient Climate Change – Science Bulletins – AMNH

    PETM – Unearthing Ancient Climate Change – Science Bulletins – AMNH

    Scientists have a few hypotheses but no theory has yet emerged about a significant bio-geological event that happened fifty-five million years ago. What we know for sure was that there was a sudden, enormous influx of carbon that has dissolved in the ocean and atmosphere. As atmospheric CO2 content increased, the average global surface temperature rose 5°C to 9°C (9°F to 16°F). This global warming event is called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) and lasted for 170,000 years. Events triggered […]

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  • Kon-Tiki Expedition – A Test of a Hypothesis for Human Gene Flow (1950)

    Kon-Tiki Expedition – A Test of a Hypothesis for Human Gene Flow (1950)

    Kon-Tiki was a legendary expedition that was carried out in 1947 by Norvegian anthropologist Thor Heyerdahl. The expedition tested a hypothesis whether Pacific Islands could have been colonized from Americas and thus wanted to demonstrate that waterways were not barriers but means of transportation and gene flow for human populations. Peopling of the Pacific is a fascinating story. The Polynesians were without question the greatest open ocean voyagers in the human history. They built double-hulled canoes and traveled over the […]

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  • Animations of Unseeable Biology – Drew Berry – TED Talk (2011)

    Animations of Unseeable Biology – Drew Berry – TED Talk (2011)

    Drew Berry introduces us to the fascinating world of molecules. Since the invention of X-ray crystallography our depth of understanding the molecular nature of things have skyrocketed. Year 2012 marked the centennial of the discovery of X-ray chrystallography by the Australian physicist William Lawrence Bragg who shared the Nobel Prize with his father in 1915. The technique was so powerful that since its discovery, it generated 28 Nobel Prizes including the discovery of DNA. the famous X-ray chrystallographical image #51 […]

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  • Anole Lizard Aggression – Neil Losin (2011)

    Anole Lizard Aggression – Neil Losin (2011)

    We humans rarely have punch ups with each other to decide who will mate. However, an anole lizards life is frequently interrupted by brawls. Neil Losin is an evolutionary biologist from UCLA who studies aggressive behavior among anole lizards. Anole lizards not only have punch ups among each other (intraspecific aggression) but they also have such interactions with other species (interspecific aggression). This is when things get even more interesting. In less than 10 minutes this documentary outlines the research […]

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  • Bowerbird’s Grand Performance – Life Story – BBC

    Bowerbird’s Grand Performance – Life Story – BBC

    With its retina punishing feather colors this is a spectacular solo mating dance performed by a male bowerbird advertising his male qualities. The independent dilation and contraction of the pupils is a striking part of the choreography at the beginning of the performance. In Humans male brains perceive dilated eyes as a signal for sexual readiness of females. Seeing the exaggerated form here should make us curious about our “inner reptile” since birds and mammals have evolved from independent reptilian […]

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  • Decoding the Chemical Language of Nature – Jing-Ke Weng | TEDxBeaconStreet (2015)

    Decoding the Chemical Language of Nature – Jing-Ke Weng | TEDxBeaconStreet (2015)

    Chemical diversity in nature is bewildering. Repertoire of chemicals in plants is especially rich. A great majority (almost all) of the single-compound drugs have been discovered in plants: salicylic acid (Aspirin), artemisinin (anti-malarial), thebaine (analgesic derived from opium) are just a quick few to spell out. All these chemicals are products of specialized secondary metabolic pathways in plants. Chemical compounds forming specialized metabolites protect plants against various abiotic stresses and mediate an array of interspecies interactions, ranging from seduction of […]

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  • The World’s Fastest Runner – Greg Wilson – National Geographic (2012)

    The World’s Fastest Runner – Greg Wilson – National Geographic (2012)

    A well-designed filming set up to capture the motions of running Cheetahs. Since late MIT professor Doc Edgarton’s time highspeed cameras have evolved wonderfully enabling technical capabilities for producing great slow motion films. In this production the filming crew used a Phantom Flex highspeed recording camera. The following talk by the director Greg Wilson gives us the behind-the-scenes view of the project. The entire set up was constructed on the running alley specially designed for exercising the Cheetahs of Cincinnati […]

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  • Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur – BBC (2016)

    Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur – BBC (2016)

    On February 19th 2016, a replica of the massive Titanosaurus dinosaur discovered in Argentinian Patagonia was unveiled at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. It is continuing to send strong waves of excitement to all natural history enthusiasts worldwide. Based on accurate dating of the volcanic ash surrounding the fossil we now know that the animal lived 100.6 million years ago during the Cretaceous. It belongs to the Sauropod group and yet is the largest ever found. […]

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