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My goal is to inform non-biologists about interesting animal reproduction behaviors. I do this through a combination of discussing peer-reviewed research and storytelling, with some cool photos thrown in.

Emily Makowski
20 posts

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  • October 25, 2016
  • 08:35 PM

Why do polar bears mock battle? and other facts about polar bear reproduction

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Inspired by an Instagram photo of polar bears playfighting, I decided to find out more about this strange behavior and learned many interesting things about polar bear reproduction.... Read more »

Fitzgerald KT. (2013) Polar bears: the fate of an icon. Topics in Companion Animal Medicine, 28(4), 135-42. PMID: 24331553  

  • October 16, 2016
  • 09:58 PM

Call me: female zebra finches prefer their mate’s call

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Social interactions are highly sought-after and rewarding in many animals... Even when social interactions involve only one of our senses, they are still rewarding. For example, we like looking at photos of our friends on Facebook, or hearing the voice of a faraway relative via telephone. It’s the same with other animals; not only is socialization rewarding and can be used as an incentive for learning, but just the sights, sounds, and even smells of others are also rewarding. Hernandez et ........ Read more »

  • October 8, 2016
  • 04:15 PM

That time 20,000 jellyfish orbited Earth

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Why did NASA put jellyfish aboard the space shuttle in the 1990s? I discuss the reasoning behind this experimentand the results.... Read more »

Spangenberg, D., Jernigan, T., McCombs, R., Lowe, B., Sampson, M., & Slusser, J. (1994) Development studies of Aurelia (Jellyfish) ephyrae which developed during the SLS-1 mission. Advances in Space Research, 14(8), 239-247. DOI: 10.1016/0273-1177(94)90408-1  

  • September 27, 2016
  • 04:09 PM

Sex changes in nature

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

We might think of animal mating being as simple as 1 male and 1 female, like on Noah's Ark. But many types of fish undergo sex changes throughout their lives. My goal is to open people's eyes to the diversity among sex in animals.... Read more »

  • September 7, 2016
  • 07:17 PM

Girls only, literally: global warming and sea turtle sex ratios

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

The sex of sea turtle offspring is largely dependent on temperature, and global warming could lead to problems where populations are mostly/all female. However, sea turtles have a trick up their sleeve (in their shells?) that may make them more resilient to the effects of global warming than previously thought.... Read more »

  • August 30, 2016
  • 04:55 PM

Like mother, like daughter: why some animals teach their daughters more than they teach their sons

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Why do some learned behaviors appear more frequently in daughters than in sons? I describe an article that attempts to answer this question by looking at dolphins, and briefly, chimpanzees.... Read more »

  • August 17, 2016
  • 09:03 PM

It takes a village to raise a capybara

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Capybaras have been making headlines recently. First, they may have established a breeding population in Florida. Then, they took over the Olympic golf course in Rio (part of their natural habitat). This week, I discuss social groupings and parental care in these noteworthy rodents. ... Read more »

Dos Santos E, Tokumaru RS, Nogueira-Filho SL, & Nogueira SS. (2014) The effects of unrelated offspring whistle calls on capybaras (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris). Brazilian journal of biology , 74(3 Suppl 1). PMID: 25627382  

  • August 11, 2016
  • 12:05 AM

Size of female-built nests affects how males act

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Last week, I discussed how male quality in birds may be related to their song. How do males evaluate females in return? The answer may lie in their nests.... Read more »

  • August 3, 2016
  • 06:50 PM

Chicks dig musicians, or, birdsong and male quality

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Ah, music. Many people are profoundly affected by it, and so are birds. In fact, research by Byers et al. in the August 2016 issue of Ethology suggests that female prairie warblers can gain valuable information about a male through that male’s song, and use this information to decide whether to mate.... Read more »

Byers, B., Akresh, M., & King, D. (2016) Song and Male Quality in Prairie Warblers. Ethology, 122(8), 660-670. DOI: 10.1111/eth.12513  

  • July 25, 2016
  • 10:04 PM

Wave that claw: how male crabs attract mates

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Male Ilyoplax pusilla crabs wave their claws in the air to attract females, but why do different-sized males spend different amounts of time waving? The answer lies in research published this year. ... Read more »

  • July 18, 2016
  • 05:07 PM

Eggs can develop without being fertilized in this sturgeon… but they don’t survive

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Parthenogenesis is the development of eggs without fertilization. For the first time, it has been shown to occur in the sterlet sturgeon. ... Read more »

  • July 11, 2016
  • 01:48 PM

Size matters (for both sexes of seahorses)

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

This week's article is about research on whether male seahorses contribute to the size of their offspring. Seahorses are unique in that the young develops in the male's specialized pouch.... Read more »

Faleiro F, Almeida AJ, Ré P, & Narciso L. (2016) Size does matter: An assessment of reproductive potential in seahorses. Animal Reproduction Science, 61-7. PMID: 27062576  

  • July 4, 2016
  • 02:00 PM

Why are pheasant harems so small? An evolutionary puzzle

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Why do pheasant males have so few females in their harems? Wouldn't it make sense for them to mate with as many females as possible? This week, I blog about an article in the upcoming August 2016 issue of Animal Behavior that explains this puzzling behavior.... Read more »

  • June 11, 2016
  • 11:02 PM

Natural Selection, Sexual Selection, and Chameleons

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

I discuss an upcoming article on how natural selection and sexual selection affect the courtship behavior of the common chameleon.... Read more »

Keren-Rotem, T., Levy, N., Wolf, L., Bouskila, A., & Geffen, E. (2016) Male preference for sexual signalling over crypsis is associated with alternative mating tactics. Animal Behaviour, 43-49. info:/

  • June 2, 2016
  • 07:30 PM

Imprinting in Birds, and Why We’re Freaked Out by Robots

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

I discuss a recent article on imprinting in chicks and how it relates to the human perception of biological motion.... Read more »

Momoko Miura, & Toshiya Matsushima. (2016) Biological motion facilitates filial imprinting. Animal Behaviour, 171-180. info:/doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2016.03.025

  • May 26, 2016
  • 05:58 PM

Global Warming and the Lion's Mane

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

I discuss how global warming may affect the reproductive success of male lions.... Read more »

West PM, & Packer C. (2002) Sexual selection, temperature, and the lion's mane. Science (New York, N.Y.), 297(5585), 1339-43. PMID: 12193785  

  • May 17, 2016
  • 10:49 AM

Human Monogamy and STI Prevention

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

How did socially imposed monogamy in humans arise from polygynous societies? Sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention may have played a role.... Read more »

  • April 12, 2016
  • 11:00 PM

Mating Oddities of the Southern Blue-Ringed Octopus

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

I discuss some unique characteristics of octopus mating and describe a recent article on the Southern blue-ringed octopus.... Read more »

  • April 4, 2016
  • 09:58 PM

Big Bird: Unusual Nesting in the Ostrich

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

I discuss the unique courtship and nesting behaviors of the ostrich and how these behaviors relate to ostrich farming.... Read more »

  • March 24, 2016
  • 12:00 AM

Monogamy in Mammals: Why?

by Emily Makowski in Sextraordinary!

Most mammals are solitary. How did monogamy evolve? I discuss some possible hypotheses.... Read more »

Lukas, D., & Clutton-Brock, T. (2013) The Evolution of Social Monogamy in Mammals. Science, 341(6145), 526-530. DOI: 10.1126/science.1238677  

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