Archive for August, 2009
Archetype is about to get even quieter.
Grant proposals have been dealt with (more or less), and next week I will be in Turin, Italy, for the congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology. I just don’t want to won’t have time to blog during the congress, unfortunately.
But do not fear, for I leave you with a very tough quiz. Let see if someone knows what’s depicted below. A couple of tips:
- It is one of the few sclerites (skeletal pieces) in adult workers that is completely internal.
- It comes in pairs (left one pictured).
The answer will be revealed upon my return.
I have Google Alerts set for the term “cladistics” so I will receive a feed every time Google indexes that word. Now, in the last couple of days those feeds have catch a story circulating in the news media regarding a recently published study looking at the appendix from a comparative and phylogenetic perspective, pretty cool if you ask me.
I can only access the abstract of the original publication unfortunately, but it does seems to be a well done and thorough study. The problem is the way the report gets increasingly hyped by the news media. I first got this: Evolution of the appendix: A biological ‘remnant’ no more. OK, that’s not bad. I then got this: Appendix redux. Yeah, sure, succinct and clever. But today I got this: Darwin wrongly called the appendix a biological ‘remnant’, say researchers:
Every once in a while someone comes and tries to file a patent on some of the very basic algorithms we all use to infer phylogenetic trees.
This time is a very “special” someone. The image to the left may give you a clue. Read more at Myrmecos blog.
Chris Humphries, botanist and founding fellow of the Willi Hennig Society, died on July 31st, aged 62
It is our sad task to record the death of Professor Chris Humphries, merit researcher in the Botany Department until his retirement in 2007, on Friday 31st July. Chris was a leading figure in the cladistic revolution in systematics and biogeography. Without his tireless efforts, systematic botany – perhaps systematic biology – would be a very different beast.
Chris joined the Botany Department in 1972 as an assistant curator, a nearly-finished PhD student, coming directly from Vernon Heywood’s Botany Department in Reading University. With the exception of three sabbaticals – two of them at the University of Melbourne (1979-80, 1986) and a six month stay as a fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (Institute for Advanced Study, Berlin) in 1994 – Chris spent his entire career in the Museum.
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I just learned he is also a Ph.D. student at Pert, researching the effects of salinity levels on terrestrial arthropods. He started a clever-looking blog where he mixes photography and science. After one month posts are looking good. Besides, you know that anyone with that avatar can’t be a bad blogger.
(Hat tip to himself )
- Tom Waits