Monthly Archives: September 2012


Menopausal Whales, Mama’s Boys, and the Conundrum of Reproductive Senescence

Posted 16 September 2012 by Anne-Marie Hodge

From a purely evolutionary perspective, our main function in life is to reproduce, with the course of our ontogeny basically being programmed to push as many copies of our genes into the next generation as possible (a view that was most famously popularized by Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene in 1976).  In the context of social systems, ecological communities, and other external influences, however, this prerogative can become much more complicated than it seems at first. One fascinating conundrum related... Read more

Is “Horse Sense” Overrated? Nonsense Mutation Allows Novel Gaits

Posted 1 September 2012 by Anne-Marie Hodge

Most horses are capable of three basic gaits: walk, trot, and canter/gallop.  Some specialized breeds, however, are capable of two additional patterns of locomotion that are beyond the reach of their equine brethren. These displays have impressed human observers so much that "gaitedness" has been selected for in some popoulations, creating highly specialized breeds such as at the Icelandic horse, Paso fino, and others. Pacing and harness competitions (in which horses perform gallop-paced trotting), although less well known than traditional... Read more