Scientists gather samples on the ocean floor. Credit: Roger Linington.There's nothing new about looking to nature to cure disease – we've been doing it for thousands of years, with good results. (Two recent examples: The active ingredient in aspirin was first identified in the bark of the willow tree. And we have the Pacific yew […]
Scientists used evolutionary theory to figure out where to find the bones of this fishibian. Lately I have been reading Jerry Coyne's Why Evolution is True. And so far it is a fascinating read. What is so great about this book for a scientist is that it gives the big picture on evolution. This sort […]
Today QUEST TV broadcasts its half-hour documentary "Chasing Beetles, Finding Darwin," which tells the story of California Academy of Sciences beetle expert David Kavanaugh's unusual prediction that a new species of beetle would be found in Northern California's Trinity Alps.
As I mentioned in a previous post, February 12th marks the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin and the 150th anniversary of the publication of the "Origin of Species".
All across the world, scientists are leading a month long celebration of the man & his science, widely seen as the public hero of science & science education.
The Eye in the Sea is one of the coolest, gee-whiz scientific projects you'll see. It's part of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute's so-called MARS project (that stands for Monterey Accelerated Research System). MARS is an undersea laboratory, set up deep on the sea floor about 30 miles offshore from Monterey.
When I hear about searching for alien life, it's hard not to think about all those science fiction movies with little green men and Earth-destroying spacecraft. But it's an idea that's far from science fiction for scientists at NASA Ames.
Bio-inspired design borrows its creative inspiration from models and systems in nature, that is, plant and animal parts that have been slowly tweaked for over 3.8 billion years. But that doesn't mean that nature's designs are perfect.
For these notes, I thought I'd focus on something that didn't make it into the sea lions radio broadcast: the necropsy.
Each year the Marine Mammal Center treats somewhere between 600-1000 animals, including California sea lions, Pacific harbor seals, Northern elephant seals, and steller sea lions. About half of them are treated successfully at the center and released into the Pacific. The other half either die naturally or have to be euthanized.
By the time I was ten years old I knew the old California Academy of Sciences building by heart. After countless birthday parties, field trips and family outings, my brother and I, along with our sugar-filled urchin gang of friends and cousins, could have led tours of "the Aquarium."
OK, they might look a bit like a great potential pet, but as dog-like as they are, you really don't want one of these at home. They're spotted hyenas – and they're native to sub-Saharan Africa. And I guarantee you that they're tougher and stronger than they look.
I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Dr. Robert Drewes, the esteemed Curator and Chairman of the Department of Herpetology at the California Academy of Sciences, upon his return from the Gulf of Guinea where he has been leading research teams over the past decade to study the unique flora and fauna of the islands.
Last blog I talked about the Transcaucasian mole vole. This little burrowing mammal has lost its Y chromosome over time. Now both males and females have only a single X. I focused on how scientists can't yet figure out how there are any male mole voles running around. This week, I want to focus on what this means from an evolutionary perspective.
When most of us think of tuna, we think of the can. Maybe we remember "Charlie Tuna" from the old commercials. What many people don't realize is that these amazing animals are at the pinnacle of fish evolution. Tuna are capable of covering vast distances, traversing the entire Pacific Ocean in a matter of days. […]