Post List

  • February 28, 2010
  • 03:42 PM

Family Gatherings and Free Swimming Sperm Packets

by Dr. M in Deep Sea News

My wife is from a very large family. Inevitably at in-law gatherings, I find myself whispering into my wife’s ear, “How are you related to that person?” Unfortunately, my wife has never provided me a nice family tree so I can see how these dozens of people fit together. Much is the same for the [...]... Read more »

Miya, M., Pietsch, T., Orr, J., Arnold, R., Satoh, T., Shedlock, A., Ho, H., Shimazaki, M., Yabe, M., & Nishida, M. (2010) Evolutionary history of anglerfishes (Teleostei: Lophiiformes): a mitogenomic perspective. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 10(1), 58. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-10-58  

  • February 28, 2010
  • 02:13 PM

There's always a biological excuse...

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

It's almost a given that, during any discussion about male infidelity, someone will throw out some variation of "men are biologically programmed to spread their seed."Why is there this theory that men are more driven to cheat? Part of it has to do with the size of their gametes. If bigger is better, then men are pathetic, for their little sperm are 1/100th the size of a woman's egg. Because women have such a greater investment in each offspring right from the get-go, the assumption is that women........ Read more »

Price, T., Hurst, G., & Wedell, N. (2010) Polyandry Prevents Extinction. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.01.050  

  • February 28, 2010
  • 02:04 PM

The Emergence of Human Limb Proportions

by Isabelle Winder in Going Ape

The current issue of PNAS carries an interesting paper on the evolution of human limb proportions. The authors, Young et al. (2010), propose that one key change in the evolution of humanlike limb adaptations is a reduction in the strength of the developmental links between fore- and hindlimbs, and moreover, that this change actually occurred in a non-hominin ancestor we shared with other great apes.The quadrupedal primates, like most vertebrates, have strong serial homologies between their limbs........ Read more »

YOUNG, N., WAGNER, G., & HALLGRIMSSON, B. (2010) Development and the evolvability of human limbs. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(8), 3400-3405. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0911856107  

  • February 28, 2010
  • 12:00 PM

Quicker feedback for better performance

by Ed Yong in Not Exactly Rocket Science

We've all experienced the agonising wait for feedback, whether it's for exam grades, news from a job interview, or results from a grant application. These verdicts can have a massive influence in our lives but they can often take weeks or even months to arrive. And that's a big problem, according to Keri Kettle and Gerald Häubl from the University of Alberta.

They have found evidence that we do better at tasks the sooner we expect news about our performance. If we think we'll be evaluated qui........ Read more »

  • February 28, 2010
  • 07:00 AM

Psychotropics and Youth, Part 2 – The Solutions

by Shaheen Lakhan in Brain Blogger

“Prescribed psychotropic medications are now high on the research agenda,” assert Lakhan and Hagger-Johnson. Their study advocates new approaches to research to address the rising concern over dramatic increases in psychotropic prescriptions for both children and young. Our first post delineated the five erroneous myths often adhered to when prescribing youth’s psychotropic medication. Here are the [...]... Read more »

Lakhan, S., & Hagger-Johnson, G. (2007) The impact of prescribed psychotropics on youth. Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health, 3(1), 21. DOI: 10.1186/1745-0179-3-21  

  • February 28, 2010
  • 05:52 AM

CAPRI: Selected Talks IV

by Nir London in Macromolecular Modeling Blog

This is the fifth and last post in the CAPRI series, summarizing the presentations of Xiaoqin Zou and Ora Schueler-Furman (Saving the best for last..), as provided by the speakers. I hope the CAPRI series was able to give a snapshot of the state of computational protein-protein docking and its community. I want to thank again to everyone that took part in the meeting and helped me with this series.

... Read more »

London N, Movshovitz-Attias D, & Schueler-Furman O. (2010) The Structural Basis of Peptide-Protein Binding Strategies. Structure (London, England : 1993), 18(2), 188-199. PMID: 20159464  

  • February 28, 2010
  • 05:28 AM

scitech: Scientific Bonus Points for Database Contributions

by cannin in Idaho Spuds

Measuring scientific productivity is a concern at many different levels especially in terms for promotions and the competition brought on by limited funding sources. The area of life sciences is no exception to this; the National Institutes of Health (NIH) saw a flat budget between 2003-08. And even though the NIH will enjoy a temporary budget increase thanks to the Recovery Act and with President Barack Obama's 2011 budget request, there are no guarantees for what the future holds. The most com........ Read more »

  • February 28, 2010
  • 04:35 AM

Evolving Molecular Machines

by Lucas in thoughtomics

This is a story about an event that took place 2 billion years ago. With the benefit of hindsight and a great deal of human bias, we could argue that it was one of the pivotal moments in the evolution of life on earth. What happened? Life was well underway at the time, [...]... Read more »

Clements, A., Bursac, D., Gatsos, X., Perry, A., Civciristov, S., Celik, N., Likic, V., Poggio, S., Jacobs-Wagner, C., Strugnell, R.... (2009) The reducible complexity of a mitochondrial molecular machine. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 106(37), 15791-15795. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0908264106  

Alcock, F., Clements, A., Webb, C., & Lithgow, T. (2010) Tinkering Inside the Organelle. Science, 327(5966), 649-650. DOI: 10.1126/science.1182129  

  • February 28, 2010
  • 04:20 AM

Counting galaxy mergers you can’t see

by Rita in we are all in the gutter

I’m going to pick up where I left off a while ago, when we talked about galaxy evolution. I have a staggering backlog of papers to read on my desk, most of which have the words “merger history”, “mass assembly” or “galaxy pairs”. All of these expressions are more or less equivalent, and they relate [...]... Read more »

R. De Propris, S. P. Driver, M. M. Colless, M. J. Drinkwater, N. P. Ross, J. Bland-Hawthorn, D. G. York, & K. Pimbblet. (2010) An upper limit to the dry merger rate at ~ 0.55. ApJ. arXiv: 1001.0566v1

Sugata Kaviraj, Kok-Meng Tan, Richard S. Ellis, & Joseph Silk. (2010) The principal driver of star formation in early-type galaxies at late epochs: the case for minor mergers. MNRAS (submitted). arXiv: 1001.2141v1

  • February 28, 2010
  • 04:06 AM

Ecological Niche Modelling - Friend or Foe?

by Isabelle Winder in Going Ape

Problems associated with low spatial and temporal resolution in datasets are a daily hazard of my particular field of research, palaeoanthropology. The fossil record, as everyone knows, is hugely incomplete and, in addition, biased. Those records we do have about the biogeography of extinct species, in particular, are usually patchy and likely to be biased in favour of those parts of the distribution where fossilisation was probable and disturbance since sufficient to uncover the remains but not........ Read more »

  • February 28, 2010
  • 12:15 AM

Are Dolphins People Too?

by Jason Goldman in The Thoughtful Animal

The blogosphere is all a-twitter with talk of the recent commentary in Science that dolphins should be considered people. Well, sort of people. Non-human people.
On the heels of the incident at SeaWorld in Florida in which a trainer was killed by one of the killer whales, this is especially an important issue to consider.
Frequent commenter [...]... Read more »

Grimm, D. (2010) Is a Dolphin a Person?. Science, 327(5969), 1070-1071. DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5969.1070-c  

Marino, L. (2004) Dolphin cognition. Current Biology, 14(21). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2004.10.010  

  • February 27, 2010
  • 11:25 PM

How Twitter Made Me Into A Citizen Journalist

by Christie Wilcox in Observations of a Nerd

I awoke this morning at 5:50 am because of a nightmare, only to hop online and find out another one had occurred in Chile. An 8.8 magnitude earthquake had struck. Ten minutes later, the first tsunami warning siren sounded.

It was deafening.

I remember when I was a little kid growing up in Hawaii Kai, there was a tsunami warning. In the end the water only raised by a few inches. In the past few months since I'd started my PhD, there have been a couple other tsunami watches, none of which resu........ Read more »

Price, T., Hurst, G., & Wedell, N. (2010) Polyandry Prevents Extinction. Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.01.050  

  • February 27, 2010
  • 10:06 PM

Spiral galaxies are taking over

by Charles Daney in Science and Reason

Everybody knows what a spiral galaxy looks like. Here's a typical nearby example (M74):Among the largest and brightest galaxies close to our own, about 72% are of this spiral type, like M74. There is a classification system for galaxy shapes, and the remaining 28% of large, bright, nearby galaxies fall into classes called "elliptical", "lenticular", or simply "peculiar". (For simplicity and for other reasons that will become apparent, we're ignoring smalle........ Read more »

Delgado-Serrano, R., Hammer, F., Yang, Y., Puech, M., Flores, H., & Rodrigues, M. (2010) How was the Hubble sequence 6 Gyr ago?. Astronomy and Astrophysics. DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200912704  

  • February 27, 2010
  • 09:12 PM

Are Dolphins Non-Human People?

by Daniel Bassett in Chew the Fat

"Are Dolphins Non-Human People" was one of the questions raised by scientists and philosophers. If so, should these animals be kept in captivity such as Shamu at Seaworld. ... Read more »

Grimm, D. (2010) Is a Dolphin a Person?. Science, 327(5969), 1070-1071. DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5969.1070-c  

  • February 27, 2010
  • 08:55 PM

Topology of supply chain risks

by Daniel Dumke in SCRM Blog - Supply Chain Risk Management

The article is devided into three sections. Definition of Risk / supply chain risk, overview of supply chain risk literature and identifying risks in the supply chain.... Read more »

Rao, S., & Goldsby, T. (2009) Supply chain risks: a review and typology. The International Journal of Logistics Management, 20(1), 97-123. DOI: 10.1108/09574090910954864  

  • February 27, 2010
  • 07:41 PM

Marriage Prevents Suicide...

by Ultimo167 in Strong Silent Types

Masocco et al. (2009) wonder why the suicide rate differs so much from region-to-region across Italy, although they note that marriage does indeed tend to protect some men from suicide. They call for greater understanding of the socio-cultural variables that might influence suicidal ideation.... Read more »

Masocco, M., Pompili, M., Vanacore, N., Innamorati, M., Lester, D., Girardi, P., Tatarelli, R., & Vichi, M. (2009) Completed Suicide and Marital Status According to the Italian Region of Origin. Psychiatric Quarterly, 81(1), 57-71. DOI: 10.1007/s11126-009-9118-2  

  • February 27, 2010
  • 03:58 PM

Neurosurgical patients get closer to God

by Mo in Neurophilosophy

REMOVAL of specific parts of the brain can induce increases in a trait which predisposes people to spirituality, according to a new clinical study by Italian reseachers. The new research, published earlier this month in the journal Neuron, provides evidence that some brain structures are associated with spiritual thinking and feelings, and hints at individual differences that might make some people more prone than others to spirituality.

Cosimo Urgesi of the University of Udine and his colleagu........ Read more »

  • February 27, 2010
  • 02:34 PM

Piezoelectric fabric… again

by Lars Fischer in EuCheMS 2010 Blog

The latest edition of Nano Letters has yet another paper about some sort of piezoelectric fabric that generates electricity when deformed. In Theory, you could wear pants made from this stuff and power, say, your watch just by walking around. Admittedly this isn’t exactly novel. We heard about it already in 2003 (pdf), 2007 and [...]... Read more »

Qi, Y., Jafferis, N., Lyons, K., Lee, C., Ahmad, H., & McAlpine, M. (2010) Piezoelectric Ribbons Printed onto Rubber for Flexible Energy Conversion. Nano Letters, 10(2), 524-528. DOI: 10.1021/nl903377u  

  • February 27, 2010
  • 02:18 PM

The Biological Species Concept and Hybridisation in Primates

by Isabelle Winder in Going Ape

The most popular species concept in use today, the Biological Species Concept (BSC) defines a species through reference to the limits of reproductive compatibility: essentially, through the idea that any pair (male and female) within a single species will be capable of producing viable and fertile offspring, while a couple which belong to different species will not. The boundaries of successful reproduction, then, can be used to delineate species, at least in sexually reproducing animals.Of cour........ Read more »

JOLLY, C.J., WOOLLEY-BARKER, T., BEYENE, S., DISOTELL, T.R., & PHILLIPS-CONROY, J.E. (1997) Intergeneric hybrid baboons. International Journal of Primatology, 18(4), 597-627. info:/

  • February 27, 2010
  • 11:08 AM

"You just call out my name...": Friendships in Male and Female Baboons

by Laelaps in Laelaps

Male (right) and female (left, with infant) friends in a population of Chacma baboons. (From Palombit, 2009).

Among other things, friends are people you count on to come to your aid when you need help. If you were at a bar and a stranger started acting aggressively towards you, for example, you would expect your friends to rush over to help you rather than just stand there, mojito in hand. Contrary to our feelings of human exceptionalism, however, ours is not the only species of primate to........ Read more »

join us!

Do you write about peer-reviewed research in your blog? Use to make it easy for your readers — and others from around the world — to find your serious posts about academic research.

If you don't have a blog, you can still use our site to learn about fascinating developments in cutting-edge research from around the world.

Register Now

Research Blogging is powered by SMG Technology.

To learn more, visit