Native Invasive Species

Raven

Member of a native invasive species in a parking lot at Petrified Forest NP, AZ

Lauren Kuehne has an interesting guest post at the blog Conservation Bytes talking about one of the most persistent false dichotomies in the environmental world: native versus exotic species.

A drawback to the attention garnered by high-profile invasive species is the tendency to infer that every non-native species is bad news, the inverse assumption being that all native species must be ‘good’. While this storyline works well for Hollywood films and faerie tales, in ecology the truth is rarely that simple.

There’s a desert angle here that I’ll talk about after the jump, along with some videographic reptile squee. You have been warned.

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A triumph for Black Atheists of America!

Good news: they’ve been given $10,000 by the Stiefel Freethought Foundation to improve science education for kids in low-income neighborhoods.

Ayanna Watson, President of BAAm, says she’s excited to get started in the fall. “We’re in the process of selecting nearly a dozen schools to donate equipment. We were able to give squid dissection kits, DVDs, and other materials to the students, allowing them to learn about their own waterways and wildlife. We want to do this kind of thing for other students around the country.”

Notice: Atheism + science → squid. It’s inevitable.

How the turtle got its shell

In my post bashing that silly article claiming to have figured out how endoskeletons evolved from exoskeletons, there was a good question buried in the comments, and I thought I’d answer it.

Are there any models pulled out of arses which explain the turtle’s unique skeleton?

Yes! I mean, no, not pulled out of arses, but there is a lot of really good and persuasive research that uses evidence to show how the turtle skeleton evolved.

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This is my happy face

Because my copy of Evolution: Making Sense of Life, by Carl Zimmer and Douglas Emlen, arrived today.

Actually, I lied. My happy face is oscillating back and forth with my frowny face. My frowny face is saying that I’ve got too much work to do to enjoy a new evolution textbook, no matter how well written it is.

You may also have a frowny face when you follow the link to Amazon, because this is an academic textbook and it is priced accordingly. Sorry.