It's going to be a quickie today as I am in full on science writing mode at the Santa Fe Science Writing Workshop!
David Attenborough turned 88 this week!
While portrayal of animal behavior on television can have its pitfalls, Sir Attenborough does a good job, pairing science with some of the most beautiful footage imaginable. He also makes a lot of creationists angry which makes me happy. He turned 88 this week! May he have many amazing years left. The Dodo featured a celebration of his most memorable animal moments here.
Rock Climbing Animals
I had no idea that bears could climb rocks. Their rock climbing skills put them on par with geckos, spiders, snails and baboons. That this skill is found so widely in the animal kingdom is kind of fascinating in and of itself - and each animal has different adapted mechanisms for rock-climbing, be it slime, suckers or special feet. Read more and see the bear climbing video here.
Mouse Genetics and Burrowing
I saw Dr Hopi Hoekstra speak at a conference a few years ago, and it was a fantastic talk! Their lab has teased out the genes responsible for the different styles of burrows built by two closely related mouse species. Also, one of the species of mice builds an amazing "escape hatch" where they dig almost to the surface of the sand where they can pop out if a predator is blocking their entrance-way. Scientific American had a blog post on her work this week. Very neat stuff and they made an animated video that you can watch here!