Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Iguana vs Snakes | Planet Earth 2

Iguana vs Snakes | Planet Earth 2

By EcoEvo@TCD | Reviews

Most of us were glued to the hugely anticipated premier of Planet Earth 2 this Sunday. We watched lovesick sloths meander through the mangroves, giant dragons battle it out on Komodo, and penguins getting fecked off cliffs by monstrous waves. But if there was one scene that got us talking more than any other it was the literal race for survival that took place between a newly hatched marine iguana and an ominous pack of southern black racer snakes. The baby iguana had us shouting at the telly and clutching our faces while we watched its mad [&hellip

Spud Oddity: Did The Martian really “science the sh*t out of this”?

Spud Oddity: Did The Martian really “science the sh*t out of this”?

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives, Reviews

It’s rare to come across a sci-fi movie that isn’t loaded with technobabble or scientific terms that are used ever so incorrectly. In fact, a lot of the Hollywood blockbusters are guilty of mincing the scientific words and concepts for entertainment value: “The Day After Tomorrow”, “Armageddon”, “Lucy”, “The Core”, to name but a few. In short, Science itself has been drastically misrepresented by the Hollywood industry. Then along came Ridley Scott’s sci-fi epic “The Martian”. Based on the sci-fi novel by Andy Weir, it tells the story of astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon), who’s left stranded [&hellip

Blog Roll #1

Blog Roll #1

By EcoEvo@TCD | News, Reviews

Interested in keeping up with developments in the world of Ecology and Evolution? Well then, you’ve come to the right place!   Welcome to BlogRoll, EcoEvo’s fortnightly news and views roundup. Every two weeks, we will present a collections of some of the stories and papers that have caught our eye.   In parasitology, a study which was published in Science has found that women infected with the roundworm Ascaris lumbricoides over their lifetime gave birth to two extra children on average, suggesting the worm altered the immune system in such a way as to make it easier to have [&hellip

Evolution is  - surprise! - Darwinian!

Evolution is – surprise! – Darwinian!

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives, Reviews

I sometime come across papers that I missed during their publication time and that shed a new light on my current research (or strengthen the already present light). Today it was Cartmill’s 2012 Evolutionary Anthropology – not open access, apologies… Cartmill raises an interesting question from an evolutionary point of view: “How long ago did the first [insert your favorite taxa here] live?”. This question is crucial for any macroevolutionary study (or/and for the sake of getting a chance to be published in Nature). If one is studying the “rise of the age of mammals” (just for [&hellip

The more the better?

The more the better?

By EcoEvo@TCD | Reviews

These days I’m writing up the discussion of my sensitivity analysis paper on missing data using the Total Evidence method (more about it here and here). One evident opening for proposing future improvement on my analysis is the obvious “let’s-do-it-again-with-more-data” one… But a recent Science paper by Jarvis et al made me reconsider that. Is more the always better? Jarvis and his numerous colleagues just published one of the biggest bird phylogenies that contrasts with the previous reference one (by Jetz et al in Nature). In Jetz’s paper, the authors were interested in the relations among modern [&hellip

And to the victor the spoiled

And to the victor the spoiled

By EcoEvo@TCD | Perspectives, Reviews

Sometimes something is so obvious we forget to wonder why; why do our fingers resemble prunes when we over-extend our bath time, why don’t humans have a penis bone (stop sniggering in the back please and have a look at these fascinating links) and why do prunes rot when the very propose of fruit is to be eaten? I’m guessing that for the last one you might say that fruit rots because all the bacteria have decided that you have overlooked the healthy option for the biscuits one too many times and so have decided to chow down. However [&hellip

3D dinosaurs are bringing down the Ivory Tower

3D dinosaurs are bringing down the Ivory Tower

By EcoEvo@TCD | Reviews

Adam raised the point of science communication in his last blog post of how science should be communicated to a mainly interested and receptive public. The main question when thinking about science communication is “how should we do it?” However a second question, arising from this one would be “who should do it?” I believe having an interest in popular science is the first step for starting a career as a scientist. Personally, I was influenced by Jurassic Park, which gave me the idea that in a distant future I would (could) become a paleontologist. I believe [&hellip

How do Lego cars evolve?

How do Lego cars evolve?

By EcoEvo@TCD | Reviews

The ESEB conference this August in Lisbon was not only about Drosophila and #superbock. Among the useful discussions and the interesting talks, a definite highlight came from our very own Kilkenny scaling man all about time perception and comparative analysis… Argh no I missed that one – apparently there was even a realistic Tiger Beetle hunting impression! There were at least eight overlapping talks at any one time and, as I had already seen Kevin’s talk, I went to listen to Folmer Bokma’s insightful talk instead. I felt Bokma’s talk was a good follow-up to Gene Hunt’s excellent [&hellip

The Placental mammal saga; special summer double episode

The Placental mammal saga; special summer double episode

By EcoEvo@TCD | Reviews

As I wrote in a previous post last winter, O’Leary et al. added their oar into the Placental Mammal origins debate. For anyone who missed that episode, they argued, with the backing of masses of morphological data, that placental mammal orders appeared right after the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs (also known as the explosive model). This was in opposition to two other views based on DNA data which argue that placentals appeared way before (long-fuse model) or slightly before (short-fuse model) the Mexican dinosaurs had to deal with some meteorite… Again, have a look at this previous [&hellip

Complementary colours

Complementary colours

By EcoEvo@TCD | Reviews

Any designer will tell you that choosing the right colour combinations are essential to strike the right tone and balance in a room, particularly if your goal is to attract clients. Well, what if your room is a web and your client is a moth? This is just the situation the rather drab and dreary coloured Cyrtophora unicolor finds itself in. These spiders live almost exclusively on large moth prey, which are attracted by pale colours and twinkling lights, a problem if your evolution has led you to optimize your “I’m a brown leaf” appearance. Enter the [&hellip