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The Kingdom of Rarities by Eric Dinerstein – review

Posted 25 July 2014 by GrrlScientist

Why are some species naturally rare whilst others are common? Do rare species make any difference in the larger scheme? These questions have puzzled biologists for centuries. Truth be told, even today, scientists have uncovered just a few pieces within this complex puzzle as we discover in Eric Dinerstein's The Kingdom of Rarities [Island Press, 2014; Amazon UK; Amazon US/kindle US]. In this engaging and informative narrative, the reader accompanies the World Wildlife Fund's chief scientist on his lifelong journey... Read more

Birdbooker Report 328-9

Posted 13 July 2014 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read more

Hamsters, pizzas and playgrounds

Posted 12 July 2014 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: Dwarf hamsters are small but they have an outsized effect on one's life. Phodopus sungorus. Image: Ko1 (CC by SA 2.5). Once again, it's caturday, which means it's time for us to relax and recover from that most recent post-World Cup game hangover by watching animals doing fun stuff! This week's cute animal videos were inspired by a piece I wrote a little while ago, about a study of wheel-running behaviour in wild mice. Although that study focused on... Read more

The Extreme Life of the Sea – review

Posted 7 July 2014 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: Marine biologist Stephen Palumbi and his science writer son Anthony Palumbi's engaging book beautifully captures the long history and immense diversity of life in the world's oceans As you may know, yesterday was World Oceans Day so I spent part of the day reading a newly-published book about the world's oceans: The Extreme Life of the Sea [Princeton University Press, 2014; Amazon UK/audio download UK; Amazon US/kindle US/Audible book US]. Written by marine biologist Stephen Palumbi and his son,... Read more

Journal Club: DNA analysis indicates Bigfoot may be a big fake

Posted 3 July 2014 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: A new genetic analysis of 'yeti' hair samples reveals they actually originated from dogs, horses, bears or other known mammals. A newly-published genetic analysis of hair samples suspected as being from a cryptic primate known by various names such as "bigfoot" or "yeti", has revealed they actually originated from dogs, horses, bears or other well known mammals. The analysis was conducted by an international group of scientists on a small fragment of mitochondrial DNA isolated from "bigfoot" hair samples... Read more

Birdbooker Report 326-7

Posted 30 June 2014 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read more

Birds in their natural habitat

Posted 21 June 2014 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: A beautiful and quietly inspirational video of wild birds in Finland as they go about the business of living their lives. Female Goosander, Mergus merganser, carrying five ducklings on her back in Munich, Germany. Image: Quartl (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.) Today is caturday once again, and if you're like me, you are busy -- perhaps a bit overwhelmed -- with all the things you have committed to finishing before going on holiday. ... Read more

Journal Club: Passenger pigeon extinction: it’s complicated

Posted 20 June 2014 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: A newly published study reveals that the extinction of the passenger pigeon likely was due to the combined effects of their natural dramatic population fluctuations and human over-exploitation. Passenger Pigeon, Ectopistes migratorius, juvenile (left), male (center), female (right). Offset reproduction of watercolor by Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1874-1927). The beauty and genius of a work of art may be reconceived, though its first material expression be destroyed; a vanished harmony may yet again inspire the composer; but when the last... Read more

Birdbooker Report 325

Posted 17 June 2014 by GrrlScientist

SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read more