Monthly Archives: January 2013


The Whole Two Yards: Giraffe Neck Growth Patterns

Posted 18 January 2013 by Anne-Marie Hodge

Extreme adaptations seem to serve as canvases upon which people paint their various pet theories about evolution. The origin of the giraffe’s nearly two-meter long neck has long served as fodder for “just-so” stories, and has been featured in everything from Rudyard Kipling’s tales as a metaphor for self-improvement to countless biology textbooks as the default illustration for Lamarck’s theory of evolution via inheritance of acquired characteristics. Amongst the speculation as to why any reasonable species would develop such an... Read more

Shake Your Tailfeathers, Cretaceous Style

Posted 5 January 2013 by Anne-Marie Hodge

When it comes to fancy courtship displays, birds rule the roost: their outlandish antics have been the subject of endless fascination, nature documentaries, and YouTube videos. The feathered creatures make moves that seem to be unparalleled in the natural world. (No, Michael Jackson concerts don’t count as the “natural world). It is important to keep in mind, however, that modern birds are not the only feathered creatures to have ever walked—or, perhaps, danced—the earth. There is now abundant evidence that... Read more