For those who remain in awe after they step in a Natural History Museum, for the thinkers who feel small when confronted with the diversity of the life, and for those who thirst for the intellectual satisfaction of the ability of a cell to yield a fully form organism. I present cognitional scribbles on the endless and wonderful footnotes of evolutionary biology.
Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the birthday of British palaeontologist, Mary Anning.
Anning was born on the 21st of May, 1799, and is best known for discovering the first ichthyosaur fossil to be correctly identified, the first two plesiosaur fossils ever found and the first pterosaur…
Essentially, the Rosa Franklin of Paleontology. Happy Birthday Mary Anning!
Milestones in the history of evolutionary thought highlight the contributions of key Harvard figures including Asa Gray, Ernst Mayr, Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Lewontin and E. O. Wilson. This video appears in the HMNH exhibition Evolution
If you’re staying in on a Friday as I am, here’s a neat video with Niles Eldredge (who as you know co-founded the theory of Punctuated Equilibrium with SJG) discussing the origins of Punctuated Equilibrium, giving SJG annecdotes, and why he prefers for the word “equilibria” instead of “equilibrium”.
There have been revolutionary advances in our knowledge of genetics in the past 30 years. This is particularly true in a field of endeavor called developmental genetics, which strives to understand how genes work to put us together. To make a…
Meet the Original Birds in a Field Guide to Winged Dinosaurs
Has any paleontological discovery of the 21st century been so transformative as the fact that dinosaurs were feathered?
Sure, biologists still have academically foundational arguments over the proper positions of various protoplasmic goos at the tree of life’s trunk, but what shakes the trunk doesn’t always sway the branches. Not like dinosaurs — the charismatic megafauna of our collective childhood imaginations, now with feathers.
The dinosaur history books have literally been redrawn, and among the artists is Matthew Martyniuk, author and illustrator of the Field Guide to Mesozoic Birds and Other Winged Dinosaurs. Inside, using the field guide format that’s introduced so many people to nature, he introduces readers to dozens of dinosaurs that lived in the strange evolutionary junction between dino and bird.
"I’ve always been interested in bird evolution. It seemed there were so many books illustrating prehistoric animals, but none focusing on bird origins," said Martyniuk. "A lot of their characteristics go pretty deep into what were traditionally considered dinosaurs, and are really making us rethink how they would have looked in real life."
On the following pages, Martyniuk takes Wired on a tour of his dino-bird world.
Winner of the BioArt!
Cartilaginous fishes such as sharks, skates, and rays are the most primitive jawed vertebrates and are important species for the study of evolutionary developmental biology. This image depicts an embryonic Little Skate, Leucoraja erinacea, sitting atop its yolk sac. The external gills appear as red strands extending from the underside of the embryo. This skate embryo is part of a research project investigating sexually dimorphic fin development and the origin of internal fertilization. This picture was taken by a Katherine O’Shaughnessy, a graduate student working in the Cohn Lab at the University of Florida.